I know a handheld might not be the perfect device for programming, but for me it would be useful for working in short periods of time, for example while traveling, so please don't make it a debate about if it's a good idea or not.

According to what I've been looking, the device must fulfill the following characteristics:

  • Keyboard: Full QWERTY (including symbols). It should be not bigger than 6", or be divided in two parts (like this) and should have the buttons sticking out for easy use.
  • Connectivity: Wifi would be ok, but mobile connection would be better yet.
  • Performance: Should be enough to explore modern internet websites.
  • Touchscreen.

There's just one that actually fulfills all characteristics, but is still just a project, and very expensive by the way: the DragonBox Pyra, the unique problem (ignoring the price) is that it's ARM based.

Other great option would have been the "Pepper Pad" but lacks in performance (and are not produced anymore), other one would have been the "Sony VAIO UX", but people says the keyboard is difficult to use, so it lacks too.

Sorry for not posting links to all devices, I can't as I don't have reputation yet.

  • Not available yet, but the Planet Computers Gemini looks interesting. planetcom.co.uk
    – vclaw
    Mar 2, 2017 at 0:22
  • 2
    Why is MIPS-based a problem? Most programs should work on either MIPS or ARM or x86. In the worst case they just need to be recompiled. (Actually after reading the subject of the question, the Pyra immediately came to my mind.) Mar 2, 2017 at 13:18
  • 1
    @AxelBeckert not a big problem in fact, just compatibility issues. In fact is not MIPS, but ARM, lol. Mar 9, 2017 at 0:04
  • @vclaw My first impression was: Great! But in fact 17 cm for a handheld is a little big for use with your thumbs :(. Anyways, a great project! Mar 9, 2017 at 0:14
  • This is totally a Raspberry Pi project lol. Mar 9, 2017 at 4:31

4 Answers 4


I was going to suggest a phone with a good slide-out keyboard such as the Sony Experia Mini, but re-reading your question I noticed you are happy with larger devices possibly up to a tablet device.

I have used the Sony VAIO UX and it is pretty cool, the keyboard isn't as bad as many phablets, it's buttons feel similar to the Xperia Mini - I have used both to quickly recompile builds and push them to the OUYA when I don't want to walk over to a computer. By-the-way VAIO UX was replaced by the VAIO P - here is a pretty thorough review to give you an idea of a portable-Windows device's speed.

On the road I use a VAIO X - as it was the lightest computer on the market at the time, and it used the top-of-the-line netbook processor: Atom Z (2Ghz+Hyperthreading). It is larger, but has the bonus of 3G sim-card, and still travels well.

I Triple-boot with Linux (ubuntu 14), Windows 7, Windows 10 and I can hardly say which is faster. They don't "take seconds to respond to keyboard", but it certainly is slow. Powershell is OK (1 second response-time on keystrokes).

  • I think neither P nor X are comfortable to write "on the go", since both are pretty large to use with just your thumbs. That's my idea when I'm referring to a "handheld device". About Xperia Mini, it does not have all symbol keys, so is not good for programming :\ Feb 28, 2017 at 2:40

A Pocket CHIP Matt be fine but it has tactile switches so they are difficult to press. Also the corners aren't filed so fibre glass is always rubbing against your hand.


My brother sent me this link: https://n-o-d-e.net/zeroterminal.html

A 3.5" Raspberry Pi Zero W based mini computer using an iPhone 5 sliding keyboard case and a 3d printed frame.

While is not for serious business, I think it's still worth the effort :P

  • 1
    Hi. Link-only answers are generally considered low quality on the Stack Exchange network. Please consider adding the important details about your recommendations into the body of your answer.
    – timuzhti
    Apr 4, 2017 at 3:46

I just came upon the GPD Pocket and the Gemini PDA. The first one is a little too big for you, but the second might fit.

Just to note: I found the HP Jornada 720/ 728's keyboad the best small keyboard for fast typing I had so far -- better than that of the popular Psion 5 mx. I could type almost normal speed on it.

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