Earlier today we managed to get some hands on time with the Commtiva Z1 Android Smartphone which is currently only on sale in Taiwan and Hong Kong from FarEasTone. It is one of many new Android devices with a full QWERTY keyboard. It also has a couple of other interesting features, but more on that after the break.
For starters, the Commtiva Z1has a 3.2-inch screen with 400×240 pixel resolution, although it seems to be a resistive screen as the Z1 is also supplied with a stylus which we haven’t seen on any other Android device to date. It’s powered by a 528MHz Qualcomm 7225 processor and comes with 256MB of RAM, although we don’t have any details on built in storage memory. A micro SD card slot can be used for cards of up to 32GB in size and this is unusually located on the top of the handset next to the USB port and 3.5mm headset jack.
Other features include 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, a GPS receiver and a 3.1 Megapixel camera with auto focus. The keyboard uses a rather unusual layout and you can really only hit the space bar with your left thumb, as it’s shifted to the left to make space for what ends up being near enough a traditional keypad layout of the numerical keys with the star and hash keys at the bottom row of keys.
This is a very unintuitive design and takes a bit of getting used to. Typing on the keyboard isn’t a great experience either, as the keys are very flat and the top row is located too close to the edge of the upper half of the device. On a more positive note, all the keys are backlit, there’s a set of cursor keys and both the comma and full stop are accessible without the need of pressing any additional keys.
The display was pretty decent in use for a resistive touch screen, although it wasn’t always as responsive as we’d liked. The speed of the device itself felt fairly snappy, although the internet connection was running a bit slow, although we’re fairly certain this was down to the fact that we had a play with the Z1 at the Taiwan Broadband show and that FarEasTone’s network was slightly overloaded.
The Z1 operates on all four GSM bands as well as the 2,100MHz WCDMA 3G band. It supports 7.2Mbit HSPDA speeds and 5.76Mbit HSUPA speeds. At 125g the Z1 isn’t overly heavy, but the built quality doesn’t feel as solid as HTC’s Android devices. The Z1 measures 110x55x15mm (HxWxD) which does at least make it fairly pocket friendly as far as devices with slide-out keyboard.
Overall we can’t say that we were overly impressed by the Z1 during our short time with it and the 3h talk time, 325h standby battery life doesn’t improve our first impression. FarEasTone has yet to price the Z1, so until we know how much it’ll retail for, it’s hard to draw a final conclusions, but unless it goes for next to no money, we can’t really see this becoming a popular Android handset.