There are times when even an onscreen keyboard on a somewhat larger device like the HD2 or even an iPad is a bit awkward to use and it certainly doesn’t give the same feel or speed of an external keyboard.
Enter the Bluetooth enabled keyboards of which we will review two in the coming weeks.
A normal sized but foldable one and the super small Brando Slim Bluetooth Keyboard.
Two advantages spring out straightaway for the Brando device: price and size.
It will only set you back USD37 and the size is a fraction smaller than my phone, the HD2 from HTC. The Slim Bluetooth Keyboard is about a small as you can really have it and still be useful. It has 52 rubberised keys with a good audible and tactile feedback.
All the important keys are there, including the Fn keys and even a Win key.
You may, however have to hunt around initially for the punctuation marks as some of them are in non-standard places. The ! is the Shift 1 combination but the Full Stop is Fn J...
It has a mini USB port for recharging its internal battery.
The built quality is not great: the On/Off slider switch lost some of its grip in the first hour (bit of plastic came off but fortunately enough remains!) and the faceplate clamps are clearly visible. It also is a bit thicker that probably necessary.
Another small point: when pairing you need to depress a switch in the opening just above the F10 key. Initially I thought you needed to press the F10 key itself as the directions were not all that clear.
None of that detracts from its functionality though.
You can get a reasonable speed with this unit but if you’re fast on your phone it won’t make much of a difference but for some people (most folks, I guess) the tactile feedback is much preferred. Also: you will have the full screen available for viewing if you use a Bluetooth keyboard and that can be very handy!
You have to weigh this up against carrying yet another device.
Check it out on the Brando site.
• 52 keys
• Slim body
• On/Off button
• Built-in rechargeable battery
• Wireless Bluetooth transfer
• Works with iPad
• Compatible with Symbian S60, Mac OS, Windows Mobile, Window 7 / Vista / XP / 2000
• Dimension: 112 x 61 x 13 (approx.)
• Weight: 70g
• Slim Bluetooth Keyboard
• USB Cable
• CD Driver