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Lumia 820 covers

The touchscreen is almost universally accepted as the preferred form factor when it comes to smartphones.

It is easy to see why too. As well as providing a sleek and minimalist look, removing a keypad or Qwerty keyboard, gives you the space for a bigger screen. This, in turn, makes browsing the web, playing games or watching videos a more pleasurable experience. 

While many people might still prefer typing on a Qwerty keyboard, it seems that we’re prepared to sacrifice this for the greater benefits of a touchscreen display.

Given that we’re so used to tapping away on our displays, is it now time to do without physical buttons on our phones altogether?



My Nokia Lumia 820, just like my Lumia 800 before it, has several buttons on the side that controls the camera shutter, the volume controls and the power/wake key.

However, practically all of these functions can be done without these buttons! 

Rather than use the camera shutter button, I tend to tap on the touchscreen instead. Likewise, when it comes to adjusting the volume, I actually use the remote control on my headphones, much more frequently than I ever use the buttons on the phone.

I know that not everyone is going to have headphones with a remote control but you can still use Nokia Audio to adjust the volume. It’s nowhere near as convenient as using the side volume buttons but it does demonstrate that the technology exists to make them redundant. 

Can we make do without the power button too?

Nokia Lumias are already gorgeous objects – just think how much prettier they would be without any of those side buttons.


Buttoned up

That’s the case against physical buttons. Are there any arguments in favour? To be honest, I’m struggling.

Pressing up and down to adjust the volume is undoubtedly convenient. But a simple swipe gesture could perhaps work equally well?

I guess a photography aficionado will always want a physical button to take a picture and it can’t be denied that there is also something deeply satisfying about pressing a button. It feels mechanical and, therefore, human. Tapping a screen is, somehow, more impersonal.

We’d like to know what you all think about this. It’s just for fun and out of pure interest – we’re not deciding a future design direction for Nokia!

Please have a vote in our informal poll and let us know what you think in the comments below.