The F(x)tec Pro1-X is a smartphone with mid-range specs that manages to stand out in a market that’s probably oversaturated thanks to a few distinctive features. It’s one of the only modern smartphones with a slide-out keyboard for thumb typing on physical keys. And it’s designed to support multiple operating systems including Android 11, Ubuntu Touch, and the Android-based LineageOS.

First introduced in 2020 when the Pro1-X went up for pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign, the first batch of phones is now shipping after a series of delays and spec changes.

While F(x)tec had originally planned to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor in the phone, the company changed course and switched to a Snapdragon 662 chip after Qualcomm discontinued the 835. That change, combined with global supply chain shortages led to a pretty substantial delay.

But mass production finally began this month and now F(x)tech says the first batch of units are on their way to backers of the crowdfunding campaign, with a second batch scheduled to ship in August, 2022.

The phone has a 5.99 inch, 2160 x 1080 pixel AMOLED display with curved glass edges and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for scratch resistance. Other features include up to 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, a 3,200 mAh battery, a microSD card reader with support for removable cards up to 2TB, 12MP + 5MP rear cameras and an 8MP front-facing camera, a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a USB Type-C port with support for USB power delivery and HDMI video output.

Wireless capabilities include support for WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, and global 4G LTE networks (but no 5G support).

The slide-out keyboard features 64 backlit keys arranged in 5 rows and a mechanism that tilts the screen when the keyboard is extended, making the F(x)tec Pro1-X look a bit like a tiny laptop while you’re typing.

Physical keys allow you to enter text, control games, or interact with apps without an on-screen keyboard covering part of the display. And some folks swear that they can type faster when they can feel the keys and don’t need to look at the screen, but over the years I’ve often found that I type faster on a virtual keyboard than a physical thumb keyboard… although I’m much faster on a physical keyboard large enough for touch-typing.

If you didn’t get a chance to back the F(x)tec Pro1-X crowdfunding campaign, you can still pre-order an 8GB/256GB model from Indiegogo for $849, but that’s a substantial markup over the crowdfunding pricing which ranged from $499 to $719 depending when you ordered.

The phone is also available from the F(x)tec Store with a 6GB/128GB model going for $829 and an 8GB/256GB version selling for $899.

While the Pro1-X had a rocky road to market, it’s not the first phone from F(x)tec. The company introduced the original Pro1 phone with a slide-out keyboard in early 2019 and began shipping that model later the same year.

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  1. The hardware spec may turn off most people, but you have to remember that this is a phone launched in 2020 and they are only able to do the shipping now. F(x)tec is a boutique company with little to no advertising power, so they don’t have enough resources to update its existing hardware for 2022. If F(x)tec is going to make Pro2 and Pro2-X, then it better have up-to-date hardware. I don’t give a stuff about having a 120Hz screen, even Snapdragon 750G and 8GB LPDDR4X-4266 RAM alongside 256GB UFS 2.2 is still more than good enough.

  2. Just the keyboard that could be purposed to fit in cases for various mobiles might be a better idea.

    1. Nah. Add on keyboards add really awkward bulk and aren’t very rigid in my experience.

      It’s hard to beat a keyboard that’s designed into the phone body from the start in terms of compactness and mechanics.

    2. Haha… You really don’t know the history of this phone. That was their initial goal. They had prototypes,went through many revisions and ultimately scrapped it and for good reason. Then they went this route.

      It sounds good in theory, but it’s not balanced in hand. Relies on BT. Another thing to keep charged. No wireless phone charging with it on. There were other issues as well which is why it was scrapped.

    3. Remember the Livermorium QWERTY Keyboard Moto Mods? You can see how thin the keyboard is. So really, having it as an add-on solution doesn’t really make sense.

      Also, a fun fact: Livermorium is now known as F(x)tec. Small world, really.

  3. Still hoping for the day when someone decides to bring the Nokia communicator formfactor back.
    Folding phones are nice, however a keyboard would be nicer.

    1. yes
      consumer still looking
      nokia communicator, psion 5 with keyboard, sony vaio series pocket
      all on linux mainline and wifi/bt 😉
      why producents not would make similar device?

      1. Because people are afraid of innovation and ideas out of the norm. Just look at LG smartphones. The built-in DAC is something that not even Sony think about putting in their flagship Xperia. Even the Wing 5G with its swivel screen grabs way more attention than any foldable screen smartphone.

  4. I was going to buy one of these once they were readily available for desktopish/UMPC use cases. At least I think I remember there was work to get a desktop Linux distro going or was that Ubuntu Touch?

    Too late now, I ended up getting a GPD Win 2 when I saw new in box ones were available on Amazon. I guess there were some still in inventory. The newer revisions actually support sleep in Linux which the older ones didn’t due to various HW-level issues.

    The main downsides for me is no built-in LTE, no backlit keyboard and, while still within pocketable size, I don’t take it with me every time I go out (but still often). We’ll see how long it lasts since it’s a long discontinued product. Although, GPD doesn’t have good support even for in-production devices anyway.

    1. I’ve been eyeing the Win 2 for so long, they’re no longer in production. Part of that waiting was to see how the Win 3 went but that was a huge disappointment for my primarily pocket PC use cases.

      If I saw that Amazon listing for a new Win 2, I would have gotten it.

      1. If you don’t mind a little larger device, onegx1 is still available with 10210y processor on their official store.

        1. I just searched their site after reading your comment.

          Interesting that they’re not selling the newer OneGx1 Pro model but still selling the older first one. I wonder why. Maybe leftover stock that’s been sitting around.

    2. I saw that Amazon listing too and got a Win 2 several months ago!

      Been running Kubuntu on it. Although, the mouse/gamepad controls sometimes don’t work on resume. Suspending and resuming again brings it back since I have no idea how to debug.

      The 8100Y is more than powerful enough for my pocket UMPC use. Haven’t played a game yet.