For potential smartphone users, one of the most important features of any phone is its keyboard. Apple's iPhone is best known for its excellent touch screen, but many BlackBerry users swear by a physical QWERTY keyboard for any serious data entry.
So is an on-screen keyboard better than a physical one? Or is there no substitute for real buttons? The answer depends on your individual needs, as well as the particular smartphone you choose. Some handsets possess poorly designed physical keyboards, while many touch-screen smartphones sound great in theory but the end result isn't always as responsive or efficient as expected.
To take the pain out of your choice, we’ve selected six of the best smartphones — three with touch-screen keyboards and three with physical QWERTY keyboards — to ensure no matter what type of smartphone you choose, you'll be left satisfied!
Touch screen smartphones:
We couldn't possibly write a feature involving touch-screen phones and not include the iPhone, could we? Apple's smartphone has had a huge impact on the mobile industry across the world and for good reason. The iPhone's touch screen is without doubt the best on the market and the 3GS is faster, more efficient and has more memory than the previous 3G model.
Keyboard positives: Fast and responsive, excellent layout, great auto-correction
Keyboard negatives: No haptic feedback
HTC's Hero is just the third Google Android mobile phone to be released in Australia, following on from the HTC Dream and the HTC Magic with Google. The Hero's HTC's Sense user interface is the closest challenger yet to the iPhone, with an intuitive and customisable home screen the highlight.
Keyboard positives: Comfortable in most instances, excellent auto-correction
Keyboard negatives: Lacks the polish of the iPhone, noticeable lag when typing at fast speeds
Samsung's HD Icon is the world's first mobile phone to record high-definition 720p video. It also has an 8-megapixel camera and features a music application that allows you to flip through your album covers in a style very similar to the iPhone. The HD Icon is equipped with a 3.7in AMOLED display that provides vibrant, rich colour and outstanding viewing angles.
Keyboard positives: Responsive touch screen, spacious layout, accelerometer is fast and effective
Keyboard negatives: Extra screen taps to display the keyboard, no auto correction