FX Tec Pro 1 Review: Hands on

First impressions

I admire what FX Tec did with the Pro 1. And although it’s not necessarily a device that I see selling a huge amount of units, it’s great to see something a little different .

Key specifications

  • Price of the opinion: £ 649
  • 5.99 OLED screen
  • 66-key sliding keyboard
  • Snapdragon 835, 6 GB of RAM
  • 3200mAh battery

If you’re bored with the majority of phones, all black metal and glass slabs and very long at the time when Blackberry ran the world of smartphones, then the FX Tec Pro 1 could be for you.

London start-up FX Tec may have only been founded in 2018, but it is already ready to launch its first flagship phone – and it’s a rather interesting device.

The Pro 1 is a Android phone with a full horizontal and physical QWERTY keyboard hidden under the 5.99-inch OLED display.

FX Tec Pro 1 Price and Release Date

The FX Tec Pro 1 will cost £ 649 / $ 699. It is available for pre-order now and will ship worldwide starting October 1st.

Keyboard – The FX Tec Pro 1 is all about the physical keyboard

Instead of the vertical physical keyboard, which Blackberry already made a name for, the Pro 1 uses a horizontal pad, in the manner of Psion organizers of the 80s and 90s.

Press the screen firmly and the 66-key backlit keypad displays while the screen is sitting at a comfortable 155-degree angle – almost like a mini-laptop. The device makes all the difference by simply being so different from everything.

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The keys are as spacious as you would expect for a fairly small phone and there is a nice “clack” when you tap it – it’s satisfying, even though I’m typing much more slowly on physical keys than on a screen.

Since the keyboard is used horizontally, you must hold the phone with both hands to type, which is not ideal if you are trying to hide an e-mail while traveling and feel much better if you are sitting. The good thing about physical Blackberry devices with keyboard is that you can type a message with one hand.

The keys also serve as quick shortcut keys and each of them is configurable by the user. A long press on the W key, for example, could bring you to WhatsApp or F to Facebook. Some applications even allow you to use PC shortcuts, such as CTRL + C in Google Docs.

Design and specifications – Clear tradeoffs must be made for the keyboard to work

Even with the physical keyboard and all the moving parts involved, the FX Tech Pro 1 is well built and solid. Apparently, the mechanism is good for more than 100,000 uses. However, I can see the dirt and debris getting inside, and there is a very fine cable that is visible when it’s open and looks a little tricky.

With the keyboard tidy, the phone seems less interesting. It’s thick – not surprising – with a matte plastic body and a slightly curved 18: 9 screen at the front. It’s a nice FHD + OLED panel with bright colors and enough details. In fact, open the keyboard and you have a practical support to put the phone and watch movies in a train.

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With the keyboard stored

On the side, you have a fingerprint scanner, a dedicated shutter key, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-C port for charging. It’s good that FX Tec has used this extra space offered by the design to include as many ports as possible.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 835, 6GB RAM and 128GB (expandable via microSD). The expected power from £ 649 in 2019 is barely enough, but enough to get the job done. There is also a 3200mAh battery inside, and I was assured that it would contain 2 days of juice.

The device I was using was running an uncompleted version of the firmware that affected the camera. As a result, I’m saving my impressions of optics for a complete review. However, you are looking for a 12 megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor with an f / 1.8 aperture and a 5MP depth sensor. There is also an 8 megapixel camera at the front.

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Software – Android Vanilla with some adjustments

FX Tec has done very little with the software here, preferring to stick to a very clean version of Android 9 Pie (with Android 10 coming later). It’s far from being a bad thing. It has been modified to allow the home screen to be displayed in landscape mode, and that’s about it.

Speaking of landscape, you will find that some applications are not like this one, like Instagram for example. It was said that there was a way to avoid this, but it made the application weird, so the idea was abandoned.

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FX Tec Pro 1 – First verdict

I admire what FX Tec did with the Pro 1. And although it’s not necessarily a device that I see selling a huge amount of units, it’s great to see something a little different .

A “practical test” is our first impression of a product only – it is not a complete test or a verdict. Our editor must have spent some time with the product to quickly describe what he is using. We call these “practical exams” to make them visible in searches. However, they are still not marked and do not give recommendations.
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