August 11, 2022

charliebowater.co.uk

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Astro Slide 5G review: Keyboards on phones are back

14 min read

Astro Slide 5G Specs

Price: £729 (around $889)
OS: Android 11
Display: 6.39-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080) AMOLED
CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 8000
RAM: 8GB
Rear cameras: 48MP Sony IMX586
Front camera: 13MP Sony IMX214
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,000mAh
Size: 6.7 x 3 x 0.7
Weight: 11.4 ounces

Who knew there would be a demand for keyboards on phones in a world of on-screen keyboards and haptic feedback? Back in 2020, London-based mobile company Planet Computers set up a crowdfunding campaign for the Astro Slide, a 5G smartphone with an actual keyboard. Not those clicky phone buttons on the long-extinct BlackBerry; as in a full-on mechanical backlit keyboard.

Over £2.1 million and more than 6,100 backers later, the Astro Slide 5G is now out in the wild and brushing shoulders with modern smartphones. What’s that? The noughties want their smartphone back? Well they can’t have it, as Planet Computers has given a reason for keyboards on phones to still exist with the Astro Slide.

With a 6.39-inch AMOLED display, surprising performance for its MediaTek Dimensity 8000 processor, and a wicked slide-out keyboard with programmable keys, I didn’t really feel like I stepped back into a time before iPhone and Android took over. In fact, I wrote some of this review using just the phone.

But then I thought to myself, “wait, I have a perfectly good laptop with a wider screen, non-squished keyboard layout, and fully capable Windows OS sitting right next to me.” This is where the cracks start to show, as there are only a handful of ways a bulky phone running Android 11 with subpar cameras can truly come in handy. I’m not sure if I can rank this among the best smartphones

Astro Slide 5G price and configurations

 The Astro Slide 5G is priced at £729 in the UK and €819 in Europe. Sorry US folk, it currently isn’t available in the States, but those prices are equivalent to around $889. While not pro-tier smartphone status, that puts it in the realm of flagships like the iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S22, and Google Pixel 6 Pro (even though “Pro” is in the name).

(Image credit: Future)
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