The F(x)tec Pro1-X may sound more like a keyboard malfunction than a consumer-ready smartphone, but in fact it’s a novel bit of kit that could hold a lot of appeal – to a very specific sort of phone user.
Created in conjunction with tech site XDA Developers, the Pro1-X offers both the novel hardware of the original Pro1 – a sliding screen and full physical keyboard – and a world-first software setup, with Android-based LineageOS running out of the box together with Linux-based Ubuntu Touch.
Lineage offers a fairly clean Android experience with the added benefit of improved security controls and app permissions, giving you better control of your data, along with monthly security updates to stay on top of things.
As for Ubuntu, that gives you a Linux experience on your phone in addition to the option to plug it into a monitor and get a full Ubuntu desktop setup. The phone display then serves as a trackpad, with the physical keyboard there to use too.
And yes, this is a proper keyboard. 64 keys, including the standard stuff you’d find on a computer keyboard but not normally a phone, so it can function properly when you hook it up to serve as a portable desktop.
As for the innards, the chipset is an older model – the Snapdragon 835 – so don’t expect the cutting edge performance of most new phones. Still, 8GB of RAM will keep it nippy, while with 256GB storage (expandable via microSD up to a further 2TB) you’re not going to run out of space.
Dual-SIM support, a 6in AMOLED display, and Bluetooth 5.0 round out the impressive side of the specs, though the dinky 3200mAh battery and 12Mp single rear camera lens may disappoint slightly.
Like the Pro1 before it, the Pro1-X is no doubt a niche proposition, with the security-conscious and software developers most likely to see the appeal of this specific setup.
The F(x)tec Pro1-X is available on IndieGoGo now, with early bird pricing of $599 – down from a full price of $899. The original Pro1 remains available at £649.