Unihertz Titan Slim review: the keyboard phone lives | App Tech

BlackBerry followers who mourned the demise of the keyboard telephone now have hope, because of a Shanghai-based vendor referred to as Unihertz that has been growing telephones, together with a number of with keyboards, since 2017. Its newest of that style, the Titan Slim, is a US$329.99 (about C$450) gadget paying homage to the BlackBerry Key2 that might make customers of the now-defunct gadget very glad certainly.

Unihertz Titan Slim (left) vs BlackBerry Key2

The Titan Slim is a bit smaller than a BlackBerry Key2, measuring 146.85 x 67.6 x 12.75 mm to the Key2’s 151.4 x 71.8 x 8.5 mm, however sits properly within the hand, and weighs 204g (the Key2 suggestions the scales at 168g). The additional weight is primarily attributable to its 4100 mAh battery (the Key2 was powered by a 3050 mAh battery), which lets the telephone final a few days on a cost – or extra, relying on utilization.

The display screen measures 4.2 inches, not a lot smaller than the Key2’s 4.5 inch show, with a decision of 768 x 1280, which is comfortably viewable, and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. With 6 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, it handles everyday duties nicely, although opinions by avid avid gamers (I’m not such a creature) notice that its processor is just too gradual for heavy-duty gaming.

The keyboard

The keyboard is the raison d’être for this telephone, and it has good factors and unhealthy factors. More likely to keep away from patent infringement lawsuits, the QWERTY keyboard’s Sym, alt, fn, and shift keys, on the underside of the Key2’s keyboard, are throughout the highest on the Titan Slim, interrupted within the center by a capacitive House button/fingerprint reader. Some keys are lacking as nicely, and a few capabilities moved to totally different keys than on the Key2, which implies retraining of muscle reminiscence. For instance, zero on the Key2 was on the Mic button, which doesn’t exist on the Titan Slim, so it’s been moved to the Q key. And the House, Again, and Current buttons, often smooth keys on the backside of the display screen, are bodily buttons.

BlackBerry Key2 (left) vs Unihertz Titan Slim keyboard

The keys are about the identical dimension as these on the Key2, however as a result of the telephone is a tad narrower, they’re nearer collectively, which makes them appear smaller. Folks with giant fingers could also be challenged.

Just like the Key2, the Titan Slim has a touch-sensitive illuminated keyboard that means that you can swipe up or down on it to scroll, or swipe horizontally to maneuver between screens, however it’s a must to allow the function (it was enabled by default on the Key2). On the Titan Slim, the function is named Scroll Assistant, and it and different options are managed via the Clever Help menu in Settings. In reality, there are sufficient fascinating and helpful (however hidden) options on this telephone that it’s nicely value grabbing the total consumer guide and truly studying it.

The cameras

The sky actually was that blue. Picture by Lynn Greiner

The Titan Slim’s cameras and digicam apps are pretty primary. You get a 48 megapixel (MP) autofocus rear digicam with flash, 4x zoom and anti-shake, and a entrance 8MP mounted focus shooter. The rear digicam does have a video mode, a time lapse mode and a Professional mode (it isn’t stuffed with options – it simply permits you to modify for white steadiness, set ISO between 100 and 12800, and tweak the publicity). There isn’t any night time mode, so be ready to make use of the flash when lighting is low. That mentioned, each cameras do an honest sufficient job – in truth, they do very nicely for a non-flagship telephone; I used to be amazed that the rear digicam handed the Black Cat Take a look at.

The Black Cat Take a look at
Picture by Lynn Greiner

And what, you ask, is the Black Cat Take a look at? Anybody who owns a black cat is aware of that almost all cameras have nice problem specializing in the critters, so any digicam that may get an honest image of a black cat passes one of many final checks, no matter what different fancy options it does or doesn’t possess.

Extra options

The Titan Slim gives close to discipline communication (NFC) help, and Bluetooth 4.1 in addition to Wi-Fi. Its sensor assortment consists of a G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity, ambient mild sensor, and compass, in addition to the fingerprint reader embedded within the House button. If you happen to want different strategies of authentication, it additionally helps the standard suspects: password, PIN, or facial recognition.

Its USB-C port permits USB OTG (on-the-go), which lets the telephone act as a USB host that different gadgets can hook up with. There aren’t any different ports (although Unihertz features a USB-C to three.5mm jack adapter for headphones), and no exterior storage akin to microSD. There may be, nevertheless, a blast from the previous – an infrared (IR) blaster, which permits the telephone to behave as a common distant (with acceptable software program; there’s a program offered).

The FM radio depends on wired headphones – the cable acts as its antenna – so in case you’re a wi-fi earbud consumer, don’t rely on it functioning. The telephone additionally has a programmable key on the left facet that means that you can shortly launch a selected app, take a screenshot, flip the flashlight on and off, report a telephone name, and extra. It’s configurable via Shortcut Settings within the Clever Help menu in Settings.

The telephone helps twin nano SIMs, however the inner storage is all you get – it doesn’t have a microSD slot. And also you’re restricted to 4G LTE at finest – it doesn’t supply 5G. Verify together with your service that its supported bands (listed within the specs on the product web page) will work on their community.

Charging is by way of the included A/C adapter – wi-fi charging is just not supported. I’ve discovered the telephone lasts a number of days with common utilization. And, to stretch that point, you may program the telephone to routinely shut down and switch again on at designated instances.

Have a peek at this promo video for a have a look at extra options of the gadget.

Software program

The Titan Slim comes with a reasonably vanilla model of Android 11, which works wonderful, however – and this can be a big however – it arrives with the August 2022 safety updates, and Unihertz help says there’s at the moment no plan for an replace. It is a fear, and I hope the corporate rethinks its technique (and it might have – it simply up to date considered one of its different Titan fashions). Customers have to push again, arduous, in any respect distributors who don’t replace in a well timed method.

The telephone has run all software program I’ve tried on it (besides one augmented actuality sport that’s grumpy even on some Android 13 telephones). And it doesn’t include portions of bloatware as some telephones do.

To make it extra Key2-like, I even put in BlackBerry Hub+ Providers and BlackBerry Inbox (each accessible within the Play Retailer), and each work completely.

Backside line

If you happen to’re on the lookout for a flagship-grade telephone, this isn’t it.

What the Titan Slim offers you is a good gadget with a BlackBerry-ish keyboard that provides a lot of what the BlackBerry of yore supplied: good battery life and a bodily keyboard, however with higher cameras and a more recent working system (the Key2 ran Android 8.1). Positive, it’s chunkier (2.25 mm thicker and 36g heavier than the Key2), however not unacceptably so, at the least to me.

Granted, it doesn’t help 5G, or wi-fi charging, and doesn’t have a microSD slot. If any of these issues are vital to you, this isn’t the fitting telephone.

But when that bodily keyboard makes your coronary heart beat quicker, the Titan Slim is nicely value a glance.

Unihertz Titan Slim review: the keyboard phone lives