The Qwerty keyboard layout was designed to slow down typists on mechanical typewriters. Despite many attempts to usurp it, after 50 years of computing all we've managed to do is to augment Qwerty with the mouse - and now we're stuck with it.

When computers filled a room or even a desk, that didn't matter. But now they barely fill a trouser pocket, giving rise to various attempts to shoehorn the Qwerty layout into a handheld device. The swivelling keypad of the Siemens SK65 is the latest.

Visit Mobile Advisor for the latest mobile-phone handset reviews and the best tariffs

Siemens calls this design x2type (cross-to-type), a name presumably dreamed up by a text-obsessed teenager denied access to a Qwerty keyboard. But never mind the name, does it work? Yes, but only if you have both hands free. And this could be a major drawback.

Holding the opened SK65 like a joypad and operating the keys with both thumbs makes for fast texting and you can bash out a few lines of email that way too. It's certainly faster than using a conventional numeric phonepad even with predictive text. But portable devices need to be fully operable with one hand, since you can't always expect to have both hands free on the move.

Siemens SK65: Specs

  • Triband GSM, GPRS, BlackBerry push email client, WAP 2.0, Bluetooth, organiser applications (notes, to-do list, diary, address book), 300 min battery life (talk time), 64,000-colour display 132x176 pixels
  • Triband GSM, GPRS, BlackBerry push email client, WAP 2.0, Bluetooth, organiser applications (notes, to-do list, diary, address book), 300 min battery life (talk time), 64,000-colour display 132x176 pixels

OUR VERDICT

Well done Siemens for an unashamedly businesslike phone with a powerful set of features, including the BlackBerry push email client. And well done for coming up with an innovative design yet maintaining that reassuringly solid, over-engineered feel of a top-range Mercedes. Bundled with a competitively priced data/voice contract and a spare hand to operate it with while on the move, this is a winner.

Find the best price