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SnapNType T111 for m500 Series Review
By Ed Hardy
The SnapNType is a small keyboard that clips to the bottom of the handheld and serves as a replacement for Graffiti. It is 3.25 by 2.6 by 1 inches and runs off power from the Palm.
This means the hardware buttons and the Graffiti area are covered by the keyboard. The SnapNType has buttons to replace all these functions but if you really want to get at them again temporarily, you can push the side buttons again and the keyboard will flip up. The buttons and everything are still useable, even without disabling the driver.
It doesn't like my Kodak PalmPix camera, or vice versa. I have to go into the SnapNType driver and manually disable it in order to take a picture. Still, this is the only problem I've had.
On the other hand, people appear to have complained to TT Tech that the keys were too hard and I got an email last week from their company representative that they are going to make the keys a bit easier to push.
I'm not overly fond of the way the SnapNType handles punctuation. All non-letters are entered by pushing an orange key then one of the letter keys. That's all punctuation, including the period. This gets to be a hassle after a while, especially as which letters punctuation is assigned to is a bit arbitrary.
I'm not complaining too hard. I understand that cramming a keyboard into a space the size of the SnapNType wasn't easy. Still, it's taking me a while to get used to having the backspace key below the keyboard. I keep hitting the P key instead.
The SnapNType tries to emulate Graffiti as much as possible. You don't hit a button marked "Backspace", you hit one marked with the Graffiti symbol for backspace: a horizonal line to the left. Likewise, you don't hit a Return key; you hit one marked with a line downward to the left. Frankly, I find this a bit odd because it requires users to know the system it is replacing. Still, there's a pretty good chance you know Graffiti already so this won't be a big deal.
It has a Command key so you can perform any of the Command functions that have a key equivalent, like Copy or Paste. In WordSmith, I can use this to make words bold or italics. As near as I can tell, pushing this key is the exact equivalent of drawing the Command stroke with Graffiti.
I compared the SnapNType to the two other major ways people enter text directly into their handhelds: Graffiti and the Stowaway keyboard. The SnapNType is faster than Graffiti and I made fewer mistakes. But a Stowaway keyboard is faster than either.
There's one area where the SnapNType is much faster than the Stowaway: getting set up. If you just want to type a couple of sentences, getting out the Stowaway and setting it up is more hassle than its worth. Clipping on the SnapNType is much easier. But to be honest, if you just want to type a few words, Graffiti is fastest because there's no hardware to set up at all.
It does add a bit of bulk to the Palm. The SnapNType makes the handheld more than an inch longer and about a half inch thicker. I don't usually carry the two connected together. Each goes in a different pocket.
It doesn't work at all with the leather flip-cover that comes with the m500 or m505. TT Tech should consider offering a replacement flip-cover that only covers the part of the screen that shows above the keyboard.
TT Tech clearly had this sort of thing in mind because it has a pop-up screen with 20 different emoticons on it that you can put in with just a push of a button. Once the i705 comes out, you should be able to use this keyboard with it in the same way. I say "should" because while the i705 uses the Universal Connector, I don't know exactly how thick it is. If it's too thick, the SnapNType won't fit around it.
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