There is of course a reason for the M930’s extra bulk – a keyboard. But instead of a sliding to open, the M930 sports a hinged mechanism, which opens up with a satisfyingly hefty thunk. The full qwerty keyboard underneath is impressively spacious, too, has a directional control pad on the right and even a dedicated number key row running along the top. Above it, set into the underside of the lid is an extra screen, this one slightly larger than the one on the front at 2.6in, and a slightly higher resolution of 400 x 240.
It looks fantastic and in use it works just as well. The keys are responsive and the fact that the edge of the screen doesn’t encroach on the top of the keyboard means it feels far less cramped in use than even the TyTN II’s keyboard. Thumb-typing on this is a breeze, so it’s a disappointing that there’s no means of document creation or editing supplied with the phone. The Office folder merely links to Word, Excel, PDF and PowerPoint reader apps – you’ll have to add your own office applications if you want to use this device as a mobile workhorse.
But the keyboard is not without fault. As with many other phone mini-keyboards you have to click a function key to access symbols such as @, &, $ and £, but on the Asus M930 it doesn’t lock on a single click. This means you have to hold it down (as on a full-sized PC or laptop keyboard) while you stab the required key. It’s awkward and clunky and a poor design choice, and undermines the excellent work done on the keyboard. It’s a small complaint, and there is at least a dedicated shortcut key for launching the on-screen symbol selection screen. I found myself resorting to this most of the time.
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