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Toshiba Portege G900
We're all prone to completely impractical fantasies from time to time. But we all know that, like planning to becoming a Red Arrows pilot or Formula One champion when we're kids, or dreaming of marrying a stunning Hollywood actress when we're adults, they're usually totally unrealistic.
I have a similar problem with mobile phones. I love them small, slim and light and I can appreciate great design. But I'm also a sucker for features, which usually means I end up with a compromise that's neither as small and sexy or as fully-featured and practical as I'd like.
My current phone fantasy involves hunting for a small phone but one with a decent keyboard. I'm increasingly finding that I need to keep on top of my email when I'm out and about, and no matter how competent the T9 and word anticipation is on my Sony Ericsson K800i, using the number pad is proving too slow and frustrating to be practical. I also want to be able to jot down the odd note without having to lug a laptop everywhere I go.
So I was looking forward to having a play with Toshiba's new smartphone – the G900. It follows hot on the heels of the Windows Mobile 5.0-powered G500, but instead of a number pad, this phone features a full-size QWERTY keyboard that slides out from under the screen.
It certainly seemed to meet with my initial requirements. Usually, keyboards this small are awful, but Toshiba has managed to build one that can actually be used quickly, after some practice. Though it seems quite cramped, the rounded profile of each key, and good positive feedback, meant that I rarely found myself committing horrendous typos. The compact dimensions of the keyboard also meant I never found myself stretching to reach the keys in the centre of the keyboard – something that I have experienced on larger 'thumb-boards' in the past. Compared to the keyboard on the much bigger Sony VGN-UX1XN, I found this one far more usable – an impressive feat of engineering.