Not dead yet: Astro Slide 5G brings a real keyboard in the 5G-age


The Astro Slide 5G presents itself with an unusual feature these days: a hardware keyboard that is located underneath the display. So fans smartphones with a sliding mechanism and “real” keys can rejoice once again.

The Astro Slide 5G from Planet Computers had been on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo for some time. As the name suggests, the smartphone is compatible with 5G networks thanks to a MediaTek Dimensity 800. However, the really unusual feature, at least in this day and age, is the mechanical keyboard located under the display.

The Astro Slide 5G’s display slides out in the horizontal orientation, clearing the way for the keyboard. The hinge is designed to allow the screen to be angled slightly when the keyboard is fully extended. The individual keys also feature backlighting.

The mechanical keyboard also has a backlight. / © Planet Computers
Horizontal keyboard for easier typing

Some of the initially promised technical specifications have changed since the project was first unveiled on Indiegogo. For example, it now relies on a MediaTek Dimensity 800 instead of the originally promised Dimensity 1000. At the same time, the keyboard is located under a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with 1080×2340 pixels (FullHD+); initially, there was talk of a 6.5-inch display.

The body of the Astro Slide 5G measures 17.24 x 7.76 x 1.78 cm. If you include the camera hump, the smartphone is 1.87 cm tall. The weight is said to be around 300 grams. It is thus noticeably thicker and heavier than traditional smartphones – two aspects to consider due to the mechanical keyboard. However, thanks to the slider’s horizontal layout, it can be significantly larger than it would be with a keyboard in a portrait orientation.

In a video that lasts almost an hour, Planet Computers gives a first look at the Astro Slide 5G:

Tech Specs Adjustments

As Pocket-lint reports, Planet Computers apparently wasn’t sure about all the technical specs yet. For example, there was initially talk of a 3,500 mAh battery, which could be replaced by a 4,000 mAh model. Until a few hours ago, people interested in the project were asked about this, and most of them have now voted for the larger battery.

On the back is a 48-megapixel camera along with a flash. This is supposed to be an unnamed sensor from Sony. A 13-megapixel sensor is available for selfies.

An overview of the Astro Slide 5G’s features. / © Planet Computers
Astro Slide 5G: Extremely communicative

In the currently available technical data, there is also talk of 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. The latter can be upgraded with a MicroSD card. Two nano-SIM slots and an eSIM are available for connecting to the mobile network. Charging is either wireless via Qi with up to 10 Watts or via one of the two USB-C ports. This makes the device extremely communicative compared to many other smartphones.

The Astro Slide 5G is said to ship with Android 11, but further, there is talk of compatibility with Linux. The prices mentioned on Indiegogo currently start at 491 Euros for the “early-bird special”, while the regular price is listed on the site as 819 Euros. The keyboard is available in 24 layouts. The expected delivery date is currently March 2021.



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