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Smartphones are boring these days. Most are similar variations of the glass sandwich, with the front filled entirely with touchscreens and the rear filled with cameras. But in the past, phones came in different shapes and sizes, and a whole new form factor was the norm. Specialty phone maker Unihertz is taking advantage to bring back a nostalgia we thought was dead: the BlackBerry-like slab with a physical keyboard.
The Titan Pocket is just another phone in a long line of niche products launched by Unihertz. Like its predecessor, the Titan Pocket Kickstarter campaign, before we started mass production, we made sure we had enough interest in the phone and exceeded our funding goals.
Design, hardware and components
The paradoxical name Titan Pocket describes the phone well. Big and small. Because it is not a flat glass sandwich, it is like a small brick 16.8 mm thick. The thickness of the Galaxy S21 is 7.9mm, less than half. This is not necessarily bad, except for (subjective) aesthetics. Pockets are your… the pocket Much easier to hold in your hand than today’s tall phones.
However, it represents a compromise in other areas, including the keyboard. Low-resolution square screens are small by modern standards, and the content on the screen doesn’t look particularly good, nor is it very bright. The side and top bezels are also larger than its peers, further cementing the phone’s vintage look and feel. At least, it’s the first device in years that I’m not afraid of dropping. The top and bottom joints of rubber with aluminum alloy on the back should be adequately protected. This does not mean that it is waterproof.
The backlit keyboard feels nice to the touch, but it still takes some getting used to. I’m pretty sure I still type faster on a touchscreen than I do on a physical keyboard. Also, almost all the modifier keys like Shift, Alt etc. are located at the top of the keyboard, while on other keyboards, physical or virtual, it doesn’t help to find them at the bottom.
The $299 phone comes with some features you don’t see on flagships these days. It has an IR blaster, a headphone jack, and a notification LED with physical navigation buttons. There is also an additional programmable button above the power key, which can be used for almost any function.
The Titan Pocket’s rustic box includes a SIM card removal tool, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and a 7.5W charging brick.
Software, performance and battery
The Titan Pocket looks like a phone from the 2000s, but it comes with Android 11 pre-installed. The software works exactly like it does on Pixel phones. Little or no bloatware is included except for some custom apps for the IR blaster and FM radio functions. . Like the Notes app and Sound Recorder, there are some useful odds and ends…