Scientific Proof the iPhone’s Keyboard Sucks. Now Prove Us Wrong.

Back when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he made a point of poking fun of the traditional smart phone’s QWERTY keyboard. In fact, he was bold enough to say that the iPhone is “really fast to type on. It’s faster than all those little plastic keyboards.” You don't say! Now, I’ve used the iPhone pretty regularly since its launch, and I can type at a pretty decent clip now, even if the error correction software can sometimes be distracting. But both in terms of tactile comfort and speed the iPhone’s keyboard can’t hold a candle to devices like the BlackBerry Curve, Samsung BlackJack II, and, yes, even the cramped Palm Centro. Don’t take my word for it though... To prove which smart phone keyboard is fastest, we invited three testers into our offices: a road warrior accustomed to using smart phones, a young professional interested in buying a smart phone, and a busy mom. Then we had each person type out the following paragraph from Moby Dick: “Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.”

And here are the results…

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Tester ArchetypeThe Recent GradThe ExecutiveThe Busy MomAverage Score
Name, Age, OccupationTrey, 23 Financial AnalystChris, 42 Real Estate FinancesDanielle,30 Stay-at-home mother, former talent negotiatorRow 1 - Cell 4
BlackBerry Curve (Time/Errors)2:28/101:57/72:05/12:10/6
BlackBerry Pearl (Time/Errors)5:19/72:27/103:13/93:39/8.7
Samsung BlackJack II (Time/Errors)1:48/72:18/91:54/22:00/6
Apple iPhone (Time/Errors)2:00/52:35/93:36/42:33/6
Palm Centro (Time/Errors)1:59/82:19/82:41/32:19/6.3

As you can see from the results, the BlackBerry Pearl was the slowest of the bunch on average, but that’s mostly because our first tester just couldn’t figure out the lame SureType layout on that device. The iPhone was the second slowest of the five devices we tested, but it tied for first in terms of the least number of errors (thanks to some smart software). The BlackJack II was a full 30 seconds faster on average, and the Curve was no slouch either, besting the iPhone by 23 seconds. Even the Palm Centro, whose cramped keyboard has been widely criticized, beat the iPhone across the board in terms of speed, although its error rate was a bit higher. (Check out the posted video below of Trey, the fastest typer of them all, trying both the BlackJack II and the iPhone.) [flq:91ca95255afd4862a7465797aa8053ba] So, with all do respect, Mr. Jobs, you were wrong. Disagree? Try the test yourself and send us your results in the comments. Even better, post your video to YouTube and send us a link. If we think it’s legit we’ll link to it and eat crow. Happy typing.

Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.