Amazing. That is the best way to describe this new
keyboard from Think Outside. From a technological perspective, what an
incredible way to have a keyboard communicate with a PDA. This new
wireless wonder is a great way to use a single keyboard with multiple
devices. It is battery operated and sends and receives infrared signals to
your PDA of choice. The keyboard folds into a size that you can�t fathom
and locks securely and then slips into a stylish leather (at least it
looks like leather) case. When the keyboard is in the closed position, it
is closed too securely. I always think I am using too much force, every
time I open this keyboard up and unfold it. In dozens of uses, it has been
fine -- which I attribute to a solid and sturdy design. This keyboard
looks like it will withstand a series of hammer blows but wanting to stay
in the good graces of the nice people at Think Outside; I omitted this
test from my repertoire.
Infrared is a perfect way for a keyboard to
communicate with a number of different devices as you are limited to a
number of proprietary connector formats that change from device to device.
I must admit that it is unusual to connect a keyboard to a PDA in this
fashion. It must be seen to be believed.
Once the keyboard is opened, you must manually
position an infrared arm to align with the infrared port light on your
device of choice. If the arm was a clock, its position could be adjusted
from nine o�clock to just past one o�clock. I have found that the arm
doesn�t have to be perfectly positioned to work with my iPAQ PDA, which is
the only device used in this test.
In dozens of interviews, I used this keyboard to take
notes and it works well. I am not very comfortable with the small size of
the keys, however, and typing numbers requires simultaneous hitting of a
function key. You can credit this reviewer's somewhat chubby fingers as
being part of the problem. The space key is divided into two smaller keys
and is also something you need to adapt to. There are numerous
multifunction buttons that can be used to activate applications and the
keyboard is surprising sturdy, allowing it to hold my heavy iPAQ with its
battery powered PC expansion sleeve.
I strongly recommend this product to anyone who wants
a keyboard that will work with multiple PDAs and doesn�t want to deal with
many adapters. The drawbacks are that it is difficult to type quickly and
the batteries could run out at any time. Other than these two issues, I am
pretty impressed with infrared technology coming to the world of pocket
keyboards. Nice going Think Outside.
To keep up to date on the latest news and product
reviews about Think Outside, please subscribe to our free
keymail keyword e-mail service. Feel free to use terms like keyboard,
infrared, PDA, wireless, bluetooth or any other term you would like to
Please talk back to me in
Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments.
Participate in our forums.
reprints of this article by calling (800) 290-5460 or buy them directly
online at www.reprintbuyer.com.