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Seiko Instruments

PalmInfoCenter.com Bottom Line:

The Price:
  • $40
The Pros:
  • Compact and light weight
  • Good price

The Cons:
  • The driver is very fussy
  • Too easy to hit multiple keys
  • Odd button layout for punctuation
  • Limited compatibility

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*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



Seiko ThumBoard Review
By Pepper
12/28/2001


Overview
This year there has been a wide array of new keyboards for Palm OS devices released. The Seiko ThumBoard is a clip-on one that uses the serial port and replaces the Graffiti area

Setup
Installing the drivers is easy - just put in the floppy disk and instal the .prc file. Go into the application, hit Enable, and clip it on. The first time you clip it on after enabling the keyboard you'll normally see a HotSync screen. Hit cancel and then the power button on the keyboard. It should work then.

The biggest complaint I have with the keyboard driver is that it interferes with Palm's keyboard driver. You can't have both enabled at the same time, so you have to toggle both of them when you switch from one keyboard to the other.

Another down-side to the driver is that once you enable it, whenever you turn your device on it will beep at you. It also causes the Palm to turn on whenever you place it in the cradle or remove it. If you disable the keyboard after you use it the problem will disappear, although you might find yourself getting sick of turning the driver on and off.

Typing
Overall the keyboard is quite easy to type with. The keys are a fair size, although people with large thumbs will probably stumble over extra keystrokes.

Where the keys are placed, however, is a little obnoxious. The letters and numbers make complete sense, but the punctuation seems completely random. Even more annoying, all of the punctation except the period require two keys to use - something which can add up to a lot of extra time. But on the plus side the symbol key makes it quite easy to find some of the rarely used yet very important characters.

One other minor annoyance is the inconsistency of capital letters. The keyboard just can't decide if it wants to use the Palm OS rules for capital letters or if it wants to make up its own.

There are keys to replace your hardkeys as well as ones to replace the silk screen buttons. Unfortunately, the keyboard can't be used for games, although that really isn't essential

Size, Portability and Form factor
The ThumBoard is very light and an excellent size. The first time I picked it up I was so startled by the weight I nearly dropped it. After a little awhile you get used to the weight and dropping it is definitely not an issue.

In your pocket or clipped to the Palm, the keyboard is definitely small. Compared to the Stowaway it is definitely pocketable, although it severely disrupts the Palm's form factor. The black plastic seems to clash with the look of aluminum, and the keyboard is much wider then the device. Despite how poor it looks attached, it is still very portable and light-weight

Conclusion
The ThumBoard is a great keyboard, although the driver is definitely less then perfect. The price is good, though. It will never replace the Stowaway keyboard, but it's a great idea for people looking for a cheap keyboard, although anyone with real work to do will find it lacking.

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How Will the i705 Do Versus Blackberry?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 4:15:37 PM #
I hate these thumb keyboards. If I could learn to use them, I would get a blackberry, which has such excellent coverage for wireless communication.

Anyone know of a blackberry that uses a something like a Palm portable keyboard???

Thanks, Robrecht

RE: How Will the i705 Do Versus Blackberry?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 5:50:10 PM #
What kind of comparison is that.....the blackberry should be called the "Brickberry".....from all indications of the snapshots on the web on the so-called i705....it looks like a great device for the individual who need their emails on the go....

RE: How Will the i705 Do Versus Blackberry?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 12:17:07 AM #
to the person who replied:

what an idiot! and what do you call the Talkabouts?! Jeesh, people are just stupid these days!

The Blackberry is a two messaging system, the i705 is a PALM. MAJOR differences there...

RE: How Will the i705 Do Versus Blackberry?
palm_pilot_guy @ 12/29/2001 8:20:00 AM #
Take a chill pill, mon! Don't flame him so soon.

The person just didn't understand the difference between a Blackberry and a i705!

The Blackberry is more of a NETpliance because it was just made for sending e-mail and stuff like that; it's dedicated.

The i705 plus the Palm capabilities plus the wirless capabilities. It's kinda like an all-in-one TV/VCR, you have TV viewing capabilities and VCR viewing capabilities right out of the box. Whereas, just say, a Palm m500, is just a TV but you can buy a VCR (wireless modem) to have the wireless capabilities.

If you were asking about the i705 input device, it's Graffiti according to a rumor photo but they might have to change it to a thumboard because of the lawsuit.

Bring back Oldsmobile! Bring back Oldsmobile!
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[img]http://gmautobuilder.com/carimages/2002400205.jpg[/img]

RE: How Will the i705 Do Versus Blackberry?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 9:59:05 AM #
Hellow again.

My point, admittedly off-topic or reverse topic, was that although the Blackberry has excellent coverage, I don't like the thumb keyboards for composing more than one or two word emails. Instead of making a Palm more like a Blackberry, there are those who would like to make a Blackberry more like a Palm. Personally, I would rather see Palm coverage and service become as reliable and well known as Blackberry's.

We don't know yet how good the coverage and service will be for the i705. Obviously, the i705 will have more to offer, but other PDAs have a lot more to offer too, eg, SONY T615C, and adding email capability to other PDAs is sometimes very involved or impossible for the average user.

I know of one major corporation that stopped providing Palms to their executives and replaced them with Blackberries because they were considered so much simpler for staying in touch via email.

In the end, good network coverage and ease of use will probably be more important than prerelease snapshots on the web.

Thanks, Robrecht

Handspring Visor & Thumboard

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 6:36:18 PM #
Anyone used one with the Handspring Visor? I have a Fellowes Pocket Keyboard for my Prism and it's totally useless. If I attempt to use it with a springboard module (namely my Xircom 802.11b module) the drivers get confused and try to access the springboard instead of the keyboard thru the serial port. :-P

I'd definitely buy one of these, but I'm not gonna drop another $50 into a keyboard without knowing for a fact it will work.

8==8 Bones 8==8

RE: Handspring Visor & Thumboard
jonecool @ 12/28/2001 6:46:51 PM #
Too weird, I just posted the thread below you about the same thing at roughly the same exact time...

RE: Handspring Visor & Thumboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 6:09:51 PM #
Wow. ;-)

Actually, I may just go ahead and get one once I have the cash on hand. If you'd be interested, send me an email at "bones3d@charter.net", and I'll let you know what I find out once I've tried one out.

8==8 Bones 8==8

Question: HS Version work with VisorPhone?

jonecool @ 12/28/2001 6:42:42 PM #
I have recently received the Fellowes PDA Keyboard (for the Handspring Visor) which, unlike the Targus (Stowaway) keyboard cannot be used while accessing a communication springboard (i.e. VisorPhone or Xircom Springport). My primary reason for purchasing one is to use it for e-mails and come to find out their driver conflicts with the Springport on the Handspring device.

I'm curious about the Seiko ThumBoard and if it suffers from the same limitation? If so, I guess the Stowaway is a no-brainer.

Thank you for the Review!


RE: Question: HS Version work with VisorPhone?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 1:02:35 AM #
I've tried the thumboard with the visorphone and it won't work,

RE: Question: HS Version work with VisorPhone?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/20/2002 5:03:18 PM #
You need to download the latest driver from www.seiko-austin.com. Should work fine after that.

RE: Question: HS Version work with VisorPhone?
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/10/2002 10:33:59 PM #
so, does it really work with the new driver? i read about the remove VPhone, turn on thumboard, insert Vpone cha-cha which is the workaround. will the new driver eliminate that or should i just sent the thing back when it comes...

Good review...and...

Cheetah @ 12/28/2001 7:00:19 PM #
I liked several things about the Seiko Thumboard, but there were 2 glaring problems that made me abandon it:

1. the form factor works great when the Palm is out of it's case, but interferred with my case (which has a very tight fit, so is difficult to use). This single problem meant that I'd have to choose between the Thumboard and my case...my case won.

2. the keys were too easy to press, meaning you could accidently hit the wrong key (or 2 keys) accidently. Anyone who has ever used a Blackberry knows that the keys are much tighter and therefore you rarely if ever hit the wrong keys.

Mainly due to problem 1, and partly due to problem 2, I bought a Targus Thumbpad, which is similiar to the Seiko unit, except it does not have either of the above two problems.

I really like it, and would recommend it to anyone who would have the same issues as I did with the Seiko.



RE: Good review...and...
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/1/2002 10:32:11 PM #
How does your targus thumpad solve the case issue. I am trying to find a case that will fit the combined unit.

thanks

Thumboard and Mobile Internet

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 9:32:04 PM #
Hi guys, I haven't commented on the boards lately but I'd like to talk a little about my experiences with the Seiko Thumboard (Vx) and it's compatibility with my Ericsson T39 mobile phone.

The Seiko Thumboard is pretty big, there's no question. If you are looking for slim, look elsewhere, it's a pain in the pocket. Typing on the Thumboard is relatively easy, the keys are placed in the same position as your computer's keyboard, but are extremely close together and I find typing to slower than entering text with grafitti.

Actual Comment:
This comment is really in relation to the Thumboard's ease of use with mobile phones. After sliding the Thumboard onto my Palm Vx, I layed the entire unit down on the table and placed my T39 next to the infrared port to try chatting on Instant Messenger. Upon pushing on the keyboard I noticed immediately that the whole unit (Palm and Thumboard) shake back and forth (like a see-saw) because the Thumboard only covers half of the backside of the Palm. This causes problems because as you type the Palm-Thumboard unit move around and I lose the IR signal with my phone. Using the Thumboard with a Bluetooth-enabled PDA would be ideal because it's much more reliable than IR, but unfortunately I couldn't test that setup (however with a 10m radius to work with I'm sure you could hold the unit however you like).

What I recommend:
A few weeks ago PIC posted a link to this Folding-Keyboard site: (www.man-machine.com). This setup would allow the Palm to lay flat against the table, thereby allowing the signal to remain uninterrupted while typing away on a "normal sized" keyboard.

RE: Thumboard and Mobile Internet
Pepper @ 12/28/2001 10:20:06 PM #
The ThumBoard uses the serial port, and due to limitations with the OS you cant use IR while using the serial port. So even if your connection were steady you still wouldnt be able to use the keyboard while connected to the phone

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: Thumboard and Mobile Internet
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 11:44:09 PM #
That's actually a false statement. My Palm Vx is running OS4.1 w/Mobile Internet Kit and I've successfully been online using the IR port while the Thumboard was attaced to the serial port. (If you don't believe me I can take pictures :)

RE: Thumboard and Mobile Internet
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 5:09:11 AM #
Off topic:

How do find OS4.1 shaping up? Would you recommend the upgrade?

RE: Thumboard and Mobile Internet
safron @ 12/29/2001 3:01:58 PM #
Palm OS4.1 works great on my Vx. It's noticeably faster in certain areas and i really like the Notepad feature (similar to doodlebug). OS4.1 does allow the Serial and IR ports to be used simultaneously as well so for all you people lucky enough to have IR equipped phones, you might want to consider the upgrade.

---
doug@tekno.nu
RE: Thumboard and Mobile Internet
ginevra @ 2/13/2002 10:56:24 AM #
I didn't understand reading the comments if OS4.1 resolve this problem:
I just bought the seiko thumboard for my palm Vx/OS3.5.2 I'd want use a palm for chatting or instant messaging so I need to be able to use the keyboard while connected to mobile phone ericsson t39 via IR.

Can you help me?


How fast?

Scott @ 12/28/2001 11:44:29 PM #
Pepper, how fast were you able to type with this? I've been a big proponent of Graffiti and always thought I was fairly quick at it. Lately I've been thinking of giving FITALY a try. I'm always hearing about how fast people can type with the blackberry, but I'm curious how these things compare to Graffiti (or FITALY for that matter).

I find it interesting that you mention that it was too easy to press the wrong (or multiple) keys. Unlike a lot of people who think that the Treo's thumbpad will be a big improvement to Graffiti, I tend to think it will turn out to be too small to be usable (and, in fact, could be far worse than Graffiti). The blackberry keyboard is wider than this keypad you reviewed which is why, I suppose, it works well. The Treo's keypad looks to be quite a bit smaller than even this Seiko thumbpad.

Scott

RE: How fast?
Pepper @ 12/29/2001 5:15:51 PM #
I found this keyboard to be slower than grafiti for me with punctuation, although with plain text it was a little quicker

I've used the Treo with a keyboard, and with that keyboard I didn't have as much of a problem with hitting multiple keys. I think it was because the Treo's keys are a little less sensative, so you have to intend on hitting a key to actually hit it. And as i recall the Treo's keys were a little closer together

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

He loves his Palm....

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/28/2001 11:56:44 PM #
I know it's a bit off topic, but I can't resist: Is this reviewer the guy that "loves his palm"? I'm not quite sure what to make of that. Worst part though, he wants to know if I love his palm too....

RE: He loves his Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 12:20:41 AM #
what an ******. get a life, just because you aren't, and never will be good enough to do a review for an awesome site like PIC doesn't mean you dis other people who can. oh, and all the worse, this would be a FEMALE who did the review. boy, dont you feel like a ******* right now or what?! get a life...

RE: He loves his Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 4:20:08 PM #
It's called a signature. Get over it.

RE: He loves his Palm....
Pepper @ 12/29/2001 5:20:21 PM #
It's just my signiture, I set it to be that when I registered at the site, and I've just never changed it

-Pepper

BTW: the last part is more asking if you love your palm, not mine. although if you want you're welcome to love my palm ;-)

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: He loves his Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/30/2001 2:48:49 AM #
Male, female, whatever. The guy who started this thread shouldn't feel like an ass; however, anyone who has a signature like that should.

Better yet, anyone that Rah! Rah's! a site like this or any other should feel like a real ass. Hey, I like it to, but your little retort questioning how anyone can poke fun at a reviewer at such an "awesome site" as this is a little weak. Shouldn't you be pumping up Eminem's detractors over at musiccity.com or something?

RE: He loves his Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/30/2001 12:32:07 PM #
Remember - we have all ages here: < 12 to 60+.

RE: He loves his Palm....
Pepper @ 12/30/2001 3:00:00 PM #
Hey, you're welcome to think what ever you want of my signiture, but try to keep the personal attacks to a minimum

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: He loves his Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/30/2001 3:44:38 PM #
Are you talking to the poster that defended you? You know, the one that called another an a******?

RE: He loves his Palm....
Pepper @ 12/30/2001 4:00:14 PM #
I'm talking to anyone who thinks they are helping their cause by insulting others

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: He loves his Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/30/2001 4:11:00 PM #
Feel free to answer the question directly.

RE: He loves his Palm....
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/30/2001 4:27:38 PM #
There are kids here. I just try to ignore anyone under 18.

Great Job Pepper!

msmasitti @ 12/29/2001 12:25:08 AM #
Hey, really nice job on the review! ;) I have one question, the Thumboard looks kind of big, does it feel big? The reason why I am asking is because in the pictures, it looks freaking huge compared the the m505. Also, are the keys plastic or rubber? Thanks, and again, great job on the review!

-Mario
No Sony Clie N610c

RE: Great Job Pepper!
Pepper @ 12/29/2001 5:22:56 PM #
Thanks

The keyboard seems rather large when its on the palm, although it seems small when its not attached. During actual use it doesn't seem too huge, but it does look sort of awkward

The keys are rubber

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: Great Job Pepper!
msmasitti @ 12/29/2001 7:10:32 PM #
i was going to say, because it doesn't seem to match the Palm at all. Thanks!

-Mario
msmasitti@yahoo.com

SnapNType VS Sieko

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/29/2001 11:46:27 AM #
This one looks like it wont interfere with existing case. But my cradle connection is pretty loose now (the left lock got bent within the first 2 weeks of my palm) and i dunno if this will stay.


http://www.tt-tec.com/html/Products/T111.htm


can anyone compare?

RE: SnapNType VS Sieko
Cheetah @ 12/29/2001 1:10:18 PM #
Looks like a good design. I tried to buy one but couldn't find a place to do so.

They have links to several webstores on their websites, but none of the sites sold the 505 version.

RE: SnapNType VS Sieko
Coyote67 @ 12/29/2001 2:26:26 PM #
I keep trying to convince myself to get one, but it seems to me like there might be too many problems, drive wise. Can anyone confirm that the snapntype works correctly with a springboard installed?

---------------------------------------
When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: SnapNType VS Sieko
Ed @ 12/29/2001 5:07:53 PM #
I'm in the process of getting a SnapNType for review from the manufacturer. Hopefully it will be soon.

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