BlackBerry Mini Keyboard for PlayBook

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I’ve been a happy BlackBerry Playbook user since I bought it last April.  I like it so much that I replaced my original 16GB with a 64GB model when the price dropped.  I greatly enjoy the interface and have it with me most of the time.  I’ve been watching for the mini keyboard with interest and picked one up on Sunday.  I really wanted to like it, but the keyboard, while well built, is unusable due to the size.  I planned and hoped to type a glowing review on the mini keyboard, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Ultimately, after only a few painful minutes of use across three short sessions, I’ve boxed it up to go back to the store.

Here’s how the review began, after some editing before I gave up:

The following is a review of the BlsckBerry mini keybosrd. In the end, it’s awful.  $100 and impossible to type quickly. I have to look at the keybosrd constantly.  My BB phone is better. Now that I’m uding it a bit more, it seems a bit better.  Not great,  but the a key is in an odd spot, so is the s key.  No tab throws it off.  Keys so small it’s almost painful to type.

By contrast, the remained of the review was typed using the HP TouchPad keyboard with the PlayBook.  It’s actually usable and comfortable.  Backspace is where it is supposed to be, so is the tab.  It’s so much better, it’s not even funny.

Hardware-wise, the leather case is top-quality, though the stand mechanism is only OK.  The keyboard itself is built quite well.  Like all RIM products, it is a sturdy, well-crafted piece of hard hardware that will no doubt last for years.  However, it seems that 7″ keyboards, especially with non-standard layouts, are a bad idea.  This one is no exception. Sorry RIM, you attempted the impossible.  There’s just no good, comfortable way to make a 7″ keyboard.  That’s the truth.

The the end, the convertible case and a decent Bluetooth keyboard is still the combo to beat for long-form typing on a PlayBook.  Despite RIM’s best efforts, a laptop this is not.

GoSaBe Blog - Mar 25, 2012 | Hardware