If we go back to the 2005 to 2007 era, we’ll remember how smartphones with physical keyboards have dominated the market. We saw the rise of BlackBerry as one of the top brands in the early-smartphone scene. However, when Steve Jobs presented the iPhone to the world with an in-display keyboard, everything started to change. The concept of physical keyboards has been left behind by all smartphone brands, and we didn’t see many devices with it apart from some BlackBerry-licensed phones made by TCL. Well, if you’re in a need of a handset with a physical slide-out keyboard, Planet Computers has something to offer through its new Planet Astro Slide 5G.
The company announced the new Planet Astro Slide 5G during the CES 2022 and brings a backlit keyboard that swivels from underneath the phone’s display thanks to its neat hinge mechanism. The handset runs Android 11, which may sound a little strange given the Android 12 availability. However, this isn’t a conventional device and can even be booted with Linux Distributions. Planet Computers is also working on bringing support for Sailfish OS.
Planet Astro Slide 5G specifications
In terms of specifications, the Planet Astro Slide 5G packs a 6.39-inch AMOLED panel with a Full HD+ resolution. It comes with an aging Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It has uniform bezels which are unusual for 2022 and has a 13 MP front-facing camera sitting at the top bezel of the smartphone. Under the hood, we have something that makes us remember this is a modern smartphone – the MediaTek Dimensity 800 SoC. This chipset comes along with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of Internal Storage. It’s is expandable via a micro SD card slot.
Apart from having a QWERTY keyboard, you can also get programmable keyboard keys that let you open an app or toggle between some system functions. That’s a neat feature that makes you feel like you’re on a computer. After all, on the computer, there are many functions and shortcuts that you can use via specific key combinations. Unfortunately, the keyboard does not seem to be touch-sensitive. So we won’t have the BlackBerry implementation we saw in devices like the Priv or the KEY series.
In terms of optics, this intriguing smartphone has a 48 MP camera and that’s all. The back also serves as a home for the LED flash helper and a fingerprint scanner. The handset has dual nano-SIM slots and a micro SD card adapter as well as two USB-C ports, and a headphone jack. The device comes with a 4,000 mAh battery with 30W fast charging. Furthermore, it’s Qi-compatible for wireless top-ups.