This gadget is for you if you routinely use your smartphone as a writing tool. We’re not talking about writing the occasional tweet, but if you frequently type out lengthy emails or draught blog posts, a keyboard always outperforms a screen. The Astro Slide 5G is constructed to resemble a PDA from a bygone era and has two USB-C ports (one at each end) and a genuine 3.5mm headphone jack. If you want it to, it can transform into an entire mobile workstation. Although it comes pre-installed with Android 11, you can install Linux OS on it if you’d like to use it as a minicomputer.


Astro Slide 5G, with all due respect to Planet Computers, sounds like one of those enclosed theme park rides with a CGI presentation synchronized—or not—with a cumbersome hydraulic movement system. By also calling it a “Transformer Smartphone,” the creators give away what it really is, but this is obviously not a reference to any film franchise with enormous robots. Before we transform, this device’s core consists of an Android smartphone that uses parts with a respectable level of quality to support a respectably high price. Anyone anticipating a full-fledged retro experience with Symbian OS will be let down. The Astro 5G’s changing ability has increased its waistline, so people who favor sleek, exquisite phones won’t be thrilled by it either. With an 18.7mm thickness, this phone has a profile akin to one of those tough phones made in China that have a 10,000 mAh battery. However, the battery capacity of this phone is not nearly as large. Instead, the Astro 5G’s designers provided it a keyboard with all the usual favorites, like the cursor keys, shifts, and Ctrl. Pushing the system’s two parts apart will deploy the keyboard to the point where it can swivel on the extended hinge to position the screen at an angle that resembles a small laptop. If the engineering in this product has a fault, it might be that hinge and the forces required to move the keyboard in and out. The last portion of that movement doesn’t feel fully fluid. With the exception of that feature, this Android phone is fairly standard, with a 6.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen that is big and colorful and the usual assortment of side-mounted buttons.

Astro Slide 5G review: Display

Although it is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, the 6.39-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080) AMOLED display on the Astro Slide 5G is a true standout. This phone is made for typing, not for playing games with frequent refreshes. However, high refresh rates are very helpful when navigating through apps, so it’s a shame that it doesn’t maximize an excellent display. We chose to relive our youth and watch Lightyear on Disney+ to test it out. The display masterfully captures all the hues of the T’Kani Prime landscape as everyone’s favorite space ranger (who falls with style) makes his first step onto the alien planet. It was a pleasure to see Buzz in such sharp detail, from the sun glinting off his shiny green and purple space suit to the faint hints of red leaves on top of trees. Then, we made the choice to play a game of Call of Duty: Mobile. Although not the most graphically demanding game, the gameplay was fluid, and on dispersed levels like Crash or Crossfire, it was simple to see attackers firing rounds at us in the distance. With the exception of the 120Hz-less refresh rates, this is the kind of display we’d anticipate for a phone at this price.


The actual keys are tiny mechanical marvels. Even though it is bulkier than a typical smartphone and has backlighting, it’s surprising that Planet Computers was able to cram the entire thing into such a compact gadget. When it first started to glow, the geek in me struggled to hold back a smile. There is a full lettered keyboard, a number row, cursor keys, and an Enter key, as well as the crucial Function button, which enables many of the keys to serve as symbols or, more frequently, as shortcuts for functions like brightness, volume, and others. At first, the smaller keyboard’s size was what caused us to type more slowly and deliberately. The missing keystrokes, however, caused us to slow down once more once we become accustomed to it after a few days. We discovered that typing on the Slide at our normal, reasonably quick pace led to keystrokes being missed. We’re not sure if it’s because each key needs to be pressed very firmly or precisely, but as we became faster, we noticed typos on the screen caused by letters we missed pressing keys that we had definitely pressed. Given that it’s the Slide’s main selling feature, it’s a really significant complaint. The device’s value is harmed because we could never be completely certain that what we were typing would appear on the screen. Although you probably won’t write a dissertation or white paper about it, it will annoy you if some characters are missing from your shopping list or a line of code. When pressing the keys with only our index fingers, we were the most delighted with the keyboard. The Slide was a dream for revising documents while they were being created, far superior to opening a Google Doc on a vertical smartphone when half the screen is taken up by a virtual keyboard after around 20 minutes. Although we used a UK keyboard, the Slide is available with virtually any regional physical keyboard layout, including versions for various European languages as well as Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Arabic. also you will learn our article on Astro Slide 5G review.

Astro Slide 5G review: Software

A selection of Planet’s own apps are pre-installed on the Astro Slide, presumably created to function better with the form factor and the kinds of things the company anticipates users will want to do. However, when we attempted to use the email software Airmail, Google informed us that it had not yet been verified and advised against doing so. On Android, we hardly ever observe this, so we were alarmed enough to avoid logging in. Although the calendar and notes apps were well-designed, we were unable to get them to sync with our Google account, making them somewhat useless. A Mac-style dock and the ability to map other operations are thoughtful additions, but otherwise, we found ourselves using the phone just like any other Android device and having trouble scrolling and finding items in landscape view. The Slide comes pre-installed with Android 11, but Planet informed me that an update to Android 12 is imminent. Additionally, depending on volume, the company expects to release security updates every three to six years. Buyers of the 2022 Slide should be pleased if this tiny independent can fulfil its commitment to three years of security fixes, but this hazy deadline is far from a guarantee. Currently, Android is the primary operating system, but Planet has promised that in the future, it will also be able to boot in Sailfish, Linux Debian, and Linux Kali, another nod to its programmer and hacker audience.

Hardware and performance

MediaTek SoCs are popular among Chinese phone manufacturers since they are very affordable. They produce a wide range of SKUs that are tailored to fit various market niches, and they don’t appear to be experiencing the supply problems that have beset other SoC manufacturers. The MediaTek Dimensity 800 (MT6873), a premium SoC with an integrated 5G modem, four Cortex A76 and four Cortex-A55 cores, and a maximum clock speed of 2GHz, is the processor used by the Astro 5G. An ARM Mali-G57 MC4 GPU, which uses the same Valhall architecture as the Mali-G77 premium GPU, handles video. The Dimensity 800 is comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, which was used in the Motorola Moto Edge, OnePlus Nord, Vivo V20 Pro, Google Pixel 5, and Nokia 8.3 among other popular devices. This SoC has all the necessary qualifications to run the majority of Android applications smoothly when combined with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and GPU performance is adequate for VR or gaming scenarios. The AMOLED panel’s 2340 x 1080 resolution and highly saturated video and still images make those uses particularly alluring. The Astro Slide is powered by a Dimensity 800 5G chip, which is not typically found in phones at this pricing point. The Oppo Reno4 Z 5G, a phone that cost less than half as much in 2020, is powered by this type of processor. Since it also has a respectable 8GB of RAM, navigating between apps and using the phone normally won’t be a problem. The Astro Slide is not the best Android phone, though, in terms of raw performance. Its average Geekbench 5 scores of 495 for single-core processing and 2104 for multi-core processing demonstrate just how far down the Android smartphone food chain it is. A slight improvement in GPU performance is evident in 3DMark scores that surpass those of devices using processors like the Snapdragon 695. However, these phones are typically considerably more reasonably priced. As always, the physical keyboard is the main attraction and takes precedence over all other smartphone features. We firmly believe that none of the Astro Slide crowdfunders will eagerly turn on their phones in the hopes of playing a smooth game of Genshin Impact on high settings, and even if they do, they won’t receive one. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t at least get a more contemporary and capable mid-range chip like the Dimensity 1200 or the Dimensity 1300 despite the Astro Slide’s very clearly and specifically defined target audience. Although the machine isn’t meant to perform complex tasks, it is still a machine for enthusiasts and could have used a little more pop. 128GB of internal storage is a fairly competitive amount, and there is also a microSD slot for expansion.

Astro Slide 5G review: Camera

The camera setup on the Astro Slide is quite simple. On the back, there is a single 48MP sensor, while on the front, there is a 13MP selfie camera. Both are bad. On several occasions, when we took two pictures of the identical item, one would be horribly overexposed and the other would always be more balanced. This was accurate for both cameras. The primary 48MP sensor’s detail is fine, however HDR mode must be manually chosen. Intelligent automation is not present in this situation. However, you might not want to turn it on since when we did, all of our images appeared strangely grainy, as if I were snapping the picture through a delicately textured window. The nighttime images are somewhat murky and grainy, but not the worst we’ve seen. Even so, the outcome is still one you would anticipate from a less expensive phone as opposed to one costing $729. While applying HDR or not, selfie photos severely lack in both detail and dynamic range. Really, it’s better to think of the Astro Slide’s camera capabilities in terms of those of a tablet. It’s great that it’s available for social media posts, QR code scanning, and emergency documentation, but don’t rely on it to record any moments you genuinely want to save for posterity. Any respectable mid-range phone, like the Google Pixel 6a or the OnePlus Nord 2T, will outperform it in terms of photography. Again, though, if you’re only here for the photo, you’re kind of missing the point.

Battery life

Given that the Slide’s battery powers a screen and a keyboard backlight, it performs admirably. In PC Mark’s Android battery rundown test, it lasted for 10 hours and 49 minutes, which is below the Realme 9 Pro’s 18 hours 30 minutes of battery life but on par with more expensive phones like the Realme C35 (10:40) and OnePlus 10 Pro (11:20). you can read our article on Astro Slide 5G review. It just proves that battery life varies greatly depending on specifications and usage. The Slide will last you a day even though it is nothing spectacular in this area. It comes with a wired USB-C charger and a 4000mAh battery, but in our testing, this charger painfully tops off at a rate of 1% per minute, which results in 15% in 15 minutes and 30% in 30. The time it took to reach 100% was almost 100 minutes. There is also built-in 10W (even slower) wireless Qi charging, but some of our wireless chargers wouldn’t work with it because it frequently registered but couldn’t draw enough power.

Price and availability

The Astro Slide 5G is currently available for pre-order directly from the manufacturer for £711 in the UK, with delivery scheduled for May 22, 2022. That is $908 for customers in the US and €861.95 for those in the EU. You can specify the phone keyboard layout you need when placing an order with Planet Computers because they have a huge selection to choose from.


The Astro Slide 5G is characterized by its yin and yang. It’s a versatile and cutting-edge device in many ways, with several clever features that can save you time and hassle. Others find it to be simplistic and constrained (think the camera and accompanying app). Additionally, keep in mind that buying from a small business rather than a global juggernaut has advantages and disadvantages. Overall, however—and let’s never forget that this is a special device—the Astro Slide’s advantages outweigh its drawbacks. It’s by far the most effective solution we’ve tested if you have a strong justification for a physical keyboard.

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