A slick Android smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard? Yes please

Our tech-filled lives move quickly. What was once junky and outdated is now a trip down memory lane. With the recent revival of the Motorola RAZR and the Nokia 3310, it comes as no surprise that slider phones have reemerged too.

The recently-announced F(x)tec Pro1 offers a modern, full-screen touch display and Android 9 OS, coupled with a full-width sliding QWERTY keyboard.

Yep, physical keys. Hallelujah. And in this case, it’s not just nostalgia for its own sake, because this phone makes a lot of sense.

A Pro1, and assorted items.
Yes, it even comes with an elusive dedicated headphone jack.

The F(x)tec Pro1 will pack a reasonable punch. A flagship Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM suggest this will be a zippy phone, even running Android 9.

The 5.99″ bezel-less AMOLED display is bright and slick. And it’s sizable, which means a spacious typing experience. (At least, much more so than your old LG Xpression.) Here’s a peek at the size of it.

F(x)tec has designed a custom launcher experience designed to optimize landscape mode. When open, the Pro1 has a slightly tilt (155 degree, to be exact.) That makes for a comfortable view angle while typing.

Here’s the thing: It’s not just about the tactile keyboard (which some will love and some will shrug about.) The real revelation? Half your screen is not truncated by a touch keyboard. That leaves the full 5.99 inches and 18:9 aspect ratio free and clear. It feels enormous.

In portrait mode with the keyboard shut, it operates like a typical Android smartphone with a custom interface, albeit thicker due to the slider.

(It’s just under 14mm thick, or about half an inch.)

Fxtec Pro1 in Portrait Mode
Fxtec Pro1 Android 9 Phone Slide-Out Keyboard

The Pro1 carries a capable dual real camera setup (12MP + 5MP), and a front-facing selfie camera boasting 8MP. It also comes with 4K video.

It has a 3,200 mAh battery with quick-charge technology, and it’ll boast at least 128GB of storage.

We’re a Niche and We Don’t Care

F(x)tec’s cofounder Adrian Li Mow Ching knows that they have a niche product, and that’s fine. They believe there’s still a significant market to be discovered here.

“There’s still a huge following and a huge desire for things like buttons, keyboards… we wanted to bring those things back ”

Adrian Li Mow Ching, to Digital Trends

We agree. Truthfully I think they’re on to something. I’m shocked that slider phones utterly disappeared. Flip phones are still popular, and sliders inarguably offer a better user experience (particularly when it comes to texting.)

If you want a tactile keyboard, the only alternative is Blackberry (yes, they still make Blackberries.) But their keyboards are smaller and more crammed than what F(x)tec is offering. There are no current mainstream landscape QWERTY smartphones whatsoever.

The F(x)tec Pro1 can be pre-ordered from their website for $649 US.