Unihertz Titan Pocket Review | PCMag

Unihertz makes a daring transfer with its curvy new telephone, a reinterpretation of a traditional design that old-school smartphone followers positively nonetheless carry a torch for. The Titan Pocket might depart you with some Qs as to why the corporate is working off such an outdated playbook, however there is a area of interest group of keyboard followers who will discover this to be an actual pearl of a gadget.

B(l)ack(Berry) to the Future

QWERTY-keyboarded telephones used to carry an enormous place available in the market, and in folks’s hearts. Earlier than touchscreens turned (actually) enormous, bodily keyboards have been the easiest way to enter knowledge, they usually nonetheless have their followers. For one factor, you need to use bodily keys unseen, typing solely by really feel and muscle reminiscence in a means you may’t with a digital keyboard.

Unihertz focuses on quirky telephone designs, just like the tiny Jelly 2. Final yr, it rolled out the Titan, a QWERTY telephone that many individuals discovered unusably massive: It is 3.66 inches large and weighs 10 ounces. The Titan Pocket, then again, could be very near the dimensions of 2014’s BlackBerry Basic, although it is nonetheless bigger than the legendary BlackBerry Daring.

The corporate makes use of Kickstarter as a presale platform, however this is not a crowdsourced telephone. Kickstarter is simply how Unihertz drums up curiosity, because it does not have a lot of a advertising funds. The telephone will price $299 after the presale interval, however for now you will get it at a (steadily shifting) low cost.

Related Merchandise

Blackberry Key2 Main
Blackberry Passport (AT&T)

BlackBerry Passport (Unlocked)

BlackBerry Classic (Unlocked)

BlackBerry Basic (Unlocked)

Hand holding the Titan Pocket
The telephone matches nicely in a single hand.

Rocking an Industrial Look

The Titan Pocket is a strong lump of telephone. On the again, an “H” of metallic surrounds soft-touch plastic. The highest and backside are rubbery. And on the entrance, there’s an ideal little keyboard surmounted by a 3.1-inch, 716-by-720 display screen. That is smaller than the BlackBerry Basic (4 inches) however bigger than the Daring 9900 (2.8 inches). Unihertz says the physique is “drop resistant” however not waterproof.

At 7.61 ounces, it is heavier than your outdated BlackBerry Basic however nonetheless inside comfy holding weight, and at 2.88 inches large, it’s best to be capable to kind one-handed. The sq. display screen could be very uncommon amongst Android telephones, however I am completely satisfied to say that it did not really crash any of the third-party apps I attempted.

Unihertz received the design actually proper right here. The telephone is an homage with out being a replica. The rivets and grey metal-and-plastic again do not appear to be any earlier system, however the entire bundle takes you straight again to 2008. Talking of which, the telephone has a notification LED, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and even an IR blaster.

The back of the Unihertz Titan Pocket
The Titan Pocket design is comfortably strong.

The keyboard might be as shut as you will get to a BlackBerry Daring with out getting sued. (With good purpose: BlackBerry has sued others.) The keys are sculpted so you may inform them aside by contact, with frets between every of the three QWERTY rows and the highest operate row. They’re sculpted otherwise than the traditional BlackBerry keyboard, with shapes that lean up and out. There isn’t any devoted quantity row; you press the Alt key to get a quantity, and a Image button to pop up a menu of punctuation.

The highest operate row additionally has devoted Again and multitasking buttons, and a Dwelling button that homes a bodily fingerprint sensor. The Perform key, in addition to an enormous crimson button on the facet, can be utilized to launch apps or carry out a number of different actions.

Close-up of the Unihertz Titan Pocket keyboard
When you’re used to the compact keyboard, it is simple to make use of by really feel.

Protection on Each Community, and Worldwide

The 4G Titan Pocket works on AT&T, T-Cell, and Verizon’s networks, with some caveats. It helps voice-over-LTE and voice-over-WiFi on all three carriers. I examined the telephone on AT&T.

The telephone is dual-SIM, with an uncommon tray that helps both two SIMs or one SIM and a microSD card. Loads of worldwide bands are current, making this a wonderful journey telephone.

On AT&T, sign was good; knowledge speeds, not a lot. The Titan Pocket has all of AT&T’s protection bands however lacks frequency bands 29 and 30, which add pace, and its cheap chipset solely helps 2×2 MIMO. That meant it pulled down 30Mbps somewhat than the 150Mbps I received on a flagship telephone in the identical location.

On T-Cell, protection will probably be extra of a priority than pace, because the telephone lacks the agricultural band 71 (however has all of T-Cell’s different 4G bands). On Verizon, the telephone lacks the comparatively new and obscure high-speed band 48 however ought to get nice protection.

Name high quality, I am completely satisfied to say, is spot on. On AT&T, it was crystal clear. The 89.6dB earpiece wasn’t blaringly loud, however it was loud sufficient, whereas the 98.4dB speakerphone is among the many loudest I’ve examined just lately. The telephone works with each 3.5mm and USB-C headsets—I examined it with some OnePlus USB-C earbuds—in addition to Bluetooth headsets.

Designed for Texting, Not Gaming

It is a $300 telephone, so roll again your expectations accordingly. The Titan Pocket makes use of a Mediatek Helio P70 processor, which operates at across the efficiency of Qualcomm’s 600-series. There’s 6GB of RAM and 111GB of accessible storage; you may add a microSD reminiscence card in case you forgo dual-SIM use.

Benchmark outcomes are what you’d anticipate from this chipset. Geekbench outcomes of 299 (single-core) and 1426 (multi-core) are within the neighborhood of a Samsung Galaxy A31 or A41. The Basemark net shopping rating of 227.59 is surprisingly excessive due to the small display screen, however it’s nonetheless beneath even high-midrange telephones just like the LG Velvet (302).

Titan Pocket showing a web page
Net shopping is an efficient utility on this system.

What this implies is that for fundamental calling, texting, shopping, and listening, the telephone is totally nice. It is a messaging and electronic mail machine, and it runs all of the messaging and electronic mail apps you need.

See How We Take a look at Telephones

Video games do not work nicely for varied causes. One is processor energy: Genshin Impression, the highest-stress sport we play, stuttered and skipped. However the {hardware} and software program simply make video games bizarre. Once I tried enjoying Alto’s Odyssey and Mini Metro, the on-screen textual content was almost unreadably small due to the best way the telephone handles telling apps in regards to the display screen’s density. The video games are playable, however it’s removed from ultimate. Movies additionally look actually small and odd at 1:1.

Titan Pocket showing a Mini Metro game
The 1:1 display screen ratio does not work nicely for gaming.

Battery life is great. There is a chunky 4,000mAh battery that gave the telephone 11 hours, 10 minutes of video streaming in our take a look at. Working video games considerably shortens that screen-on time, although.

Cleverly Tailored Android

Unihertz masses its Android 11 construct with a launcher referred to as Quickstep, which has a easy 4-by-3 icon grid over 4 fast motion icons. You possibly can load one other launcher, in fact. I went with the BlackBerry launcher, which places extra fast motion icons on the backside of the display screen.

Because the keyboard is so outstanding, Quickstep makes good use of it. You possibly can assign purposes or shortcuts to brief or lengthy presses of any letter on the keyboard, so you may maintain M to textual content mother, or hit C to leap to Chrome. Holding down the Perform key makes these shortcuts work even in third-party apps, supplying you with 52 instantaneous methods to leap to something you need to do. That is delightfully highly effective.

Animated gif of a person tapping on the Titan's screen to change functions
You possibly can customise buttons for varied features.

There are additionally a bunch of tweaks to make third-party apps work higher. Though many video games by default attempt to pressure the display screen into panorama, you by no means even have to carry the telephone sideways; as a substitute, there is a utility to lock particular person apps into portrait mode. A “mini mode” forces the display screen right into a 9:16 portrait format for apps that may’t deal with 1:1, however it’s actually tiny.

The much less stated in regards to the 16MP principal digicam and 8MP front-facing digicam, the higher. They disillusioned me throughout. Even in good gentle, my take a look at pictures have been on the dim facet and colours appeared dusty, like there was a retro-vibe filter that I could not flip off. A few of my photographs had focus points. In low-light pictures and movies, objects are barely seen, and there isn’t any Evening mode.

A Completely Focused Area of interest

There’s genuinely nothing just like the Titan Pocket. OnwardMobility’s supposed BlackBerry reboot has vanished into mists of thriller, the unique Titan is unusably massive, and the outdated BlackBerry Key2 sequence have hit end-of-life.

I believe most individuals have moved on from QWERTY telephones. I actually have, although 12 years in the past I wrote a bit about why I hate contact screens. Tactile suggestions is certainly nice, and contact screens are a man-made interplay. However your complete smartphone app world is now designed for a big-screen expertise, so the Titan Pocket kind issue solely works for restricted purposes (largely, messaging and net shopping).

That every one stated, Unihertz has clearly put love and thought into its resurrected QWERTY system. With a superbly designed keyboard and dual-SIM help at a terrific worth, it will make a really particular sort of particular person very completely satisfied.

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