I still remember the first time I tried typing on a touchscreen keyboard. I think I ended up typing something like this: “Wjat tge heck sm i doibg?”
These days, my touchscreen typing skills are much improved. Add Swype into the mix and I can input text even faster.
Still, there’s nothing like using an actual physical keyboard when typing for both speed and length. So when I spied the Verbatim Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard, I just had to give it a spin. Read on for my thoughts about the device.
Nicely compact: The Verbatim keyboard folds into a nice, compact size that’s easy to stash and carry around with you. It even comes with a case to help make transporting the device a breeze.
Good button feel: Physical keyboards are all about tactile sensation and the Verbatim keyboard has a nice feel to it. Some folks might think that the give on the buttons feels a bit shallow. But given its compact design, it’s quite understandable. The keyboard is also comfortably large enough once folded out.
iTunes controls: The keyboard has hot keys that let you control the music in your iPhone or iPad.
Phone tray: If you look at the upper right of the device, you’ll notice a pull-out tray. While it’s marketed as an iPhone holder, it can also accommodate other compatible devices, like Android 3.0 smartphones. The angle is also adjustable to help with viewing.
Batteries included: Thank you, oh, thank you, Verbatim for including batteries with the device. Lord knows how many times I’ve excitedly opened a gadget only to find out that I need to buy batteries for it. More companies really need to include batteries with their device.
Middle button placing: Since the keyboard folds in half, the middle buttons aren’t offset like a normal keyboard. So the positioning is a bit off if you’re used to typing by feel instead of sight. Some of the middle buttons are also sized differently as a result. The tiny, split space bar is a bit hard to adjust to, as well.
Lock tab: The tab for unlocking and locking the keyboard in place is a bit of a pain to use. Obviously, you want it be stiff so it doesn’t accidentally unlock but it’s a little too stiff for my taste.
Flimsy tray: While it’s nice to have that pull out tray, it also tends to topple over easily.
Lacking instructions: The keyboard is primarily marketed as an iPhone/iPad keyboard and it syncs quite easily with those devices. However, the Verbatim site also trumpets that the device works with other devices that have HID keyboard support and instructions are lacking for those. When pairing with Android for example, you need to enter the code on both your Android smartphone (works on Android 3.0 or higher only) and the keyboard. I wouldn’t have been able to figure that out if Google wasn’t my friend, and it wasn’t the easiest thing to search for either.
Verbatim Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard is a great device for folks who want the convenience of a physical keyboard but also value portability. It’s especially good for owners of “i” devices, given its additional control options for Apple products.
It does have its share of hiccups like the weird button placement and sizing in the keyboard’s middle area. But it’s a solid device overall for folks who want a physical keyboard that syncs with a HID-capable mobile device.
Final rating: 4 stars
Cost: $104 at official Web site (but you can find it priced much lower if you shop around online)