Three years ago I tried out the huge Unihertz Titan smartphone with a very large physical QWERTY keyboard. I loved the BlackBerry Passport, but the Titan was just too big for me to carry it on a daily basis and use it for regular work.
Over the past two weeks, I have carried a first prototype of the Unihertz Titan Pocket, a significantly smaller version of the Titan that still has a physical QWERTY keyboard and a rugged design. It’s available on Kickstarter for a few more weeks for $ 221 or $ 399 for two of them, with plans to ship the phone in September 2021.
Also: Unihertz Jelly 2.0 review: the small Android 10 smartphone packs a punch
The Titan Pocket is the sixth phone launched on Kickstarter by Unihertz and I had the opportunity to test the last five. The phones are affordable, even outside of the Kickstarter specials, and target niche segments of the smartphone market. Each has far exceeded Kickstarter’s modest goals and with the Titan Pocket we are already seeing over 3,000 backers with pledges of nearly $ 700,000 (at the time of publication of this article).
- Processor: MediaTek Helio P70
- Display: 3.1 inch TFT LCD with 716×720 pixel resolution, Gorilla Glass
- Operating system: Android 11
- RAM: 6 GB
- Storage: 128 GB of internal storage with microSD support
- Cameras: 16-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera
- Wireless technology: WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS / BEIDOU / GLONASS, FM radio, infrared
- Sensors: Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, ambient light, barometer and compass
- Battery: 4000mAh non-removable
- Dimensions: 132.5 x 73.2 x 16.8 mm and 216 grams
The Unihertz Titan Pocket reminds me of a thick BlackBerry Bold with its little physical QWERTY keyboard and square screen. The QWERTY keyboard is clearly the focus of this new phone and it has some good features, but also some annoyances. There are four rows present on the keyboard with the top row for shift keys, symbol and other Android control keys.
The central fingerprint sensor is great, there’s a good tactile feel on the keyboard, you can swipe up and down on the keyboard to scroll through long pages of text and data, and you can create custom shortcuts on all keys for applications and other functions. I’m not a fan of the top left Shift key or the little space bar, but overall the keyboard is quite capable.
From the front we have the 3.1 inch LCD screen which is quite small in today’s big phone world. My aging eyes have trouble seeing some of the fonts on the screen and it’s just too small for this 52-year-old. The colors look great on the screen and are bright enough for all lighting conditions. The square layout provides a limited amount of data, such as 3.5 emails in Gmail on one screen.
The headset speaker and 8-megapixel front camera are located above the screen. A standard 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the top next to an IR port. Software is included on the phone so that you can operate the remotes of various electronic products. The USB-C port is located under the phone.
The volume buttons are positioned at the top left with the microSD / SIM card tray below these two buttons. A power button and a customizable red key are located on the upper right side. There is a utility to customize pressing and long pressing this button.
The mono speaker comes out from the lower back, next to the aluminum rear panel. The 16-megapixel camera is found centered at the top of the back with a flash to the right of the device.
The cameras performed well with the available timelapse, video, photo and manual modes. There is no support for portrait mode and the photos do not have advanced creative elements. The phone isn’t designed for stunning photography, but when you’re on the go, it will help you capture your surroundings.
Also: Unihertz Titan First Impressions: Big, Rugged and Durable QWERTY Android Phone
The Unihertz Titan Pocket launches with Android 11 out of the box and the prototype I tested has an Android security update of April 5, 2021 installed. Buy the phone with the software it launches with as I haven’t seen full updates provided by Unihertz and you better not count on updates that shouldn’t arrive at a later date.
The phone is running a fairly stocked version of Android. The Google Discover page is available when you swipe left to right to the first panel, much like a Pixel phone.
Besides the basics from Google like Calculator, Calendar, Camera, Chrome, Gmail, Maps, Messages, etc., you get a few Unihertz apps. These include file manager, FM radio, IR remote control app, music player, notepad, sound recorder, and toolbox.
The toolkit is full of useful utilities that enhance the functionality of the phone. Tools in the toolkit include sound level meter, compass, flashlight, spirit level, picture holder, heart rate monitor, height measurement utility, magnifying glass, pedometer, a speedometer, an alarm, a plumb line and a protractor. It’s cool to see the camera used with some of these tools to provide an augmented reality experience that provides you with a device for precise measurements.
The Home screen also supports common app widgets so you can personalize your Android experience. The Quick Controls section of the notification shade can also be customized to your personal preferences.
Also: Convenient Unihertz Atom XL: Four-inch Display, 48MP Camera, and DMR Support for Under $ 330
First experiences of use
The Unihertz Titan Pocket may appeal to serious BlackBerry Curve or Bold fans who want a form factor similar to modern Android. It’s a very well built phone with some level of drop protection, unspecified, but no level of dust or water resistance. Even though it looks like a tank, don’t take it out in a pouring rain or drop it in a puddle. The larger Titan had an IP67 rating and I almost took the Titan Pocket river fly fishing with me last week before checking the specs.
Overall, the keyboard is well done with good spacing and tactile performance. The ability to slide the keyboard up and down, like a mouse pad, and also create a large number of shortcuts with the keys can be great for efficiency and productivity.
The Titan Pocket is designed to work and is not a gaming or multimedia machine. Videos play well and music sounds great on the rear speaker, but work comes first on this phone. Speaking of work, the small screen is the main reason why I can’t use this phone as a daily driver. Maybe 20 years ago when my eyes were much better, but not today.
I have to spend more time with it to test the battery, but so far 4000mAh on a phone of this size has been shown to last at least a few days without a charge. The cameras on the phone aren’t that great, so don’t expect to capture award-winning photos with the Titan Pocket.
If you like QWERTY keyboards and spend a lot of time messaging people, you can take advantage of the Titan Pocket. Even though this is a smaller phone, the thickness and weight still make two-handed use the best approach to using the phone.