MobileInfocenter
Manufacturer:
TT Tech Limited
Distributor:

Rip-Tide Accessories, Inc.

The Price:
  • $40
The Pros:
  • Compact
  • Sturdy Construction
  • Inexpensive

The Cons:
  • Driver needs work
  • Keys are stiff

PalmInfoCenter.com Ratings*:
Design:
Cost/benefit:
Coolness:
Overall:

*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



SnapNType T101 Review
By Robert Zach
2/13/2002


This keyboard was the first design from TT Tech.  This is a snap-on keyboard for the Visor handheld.  And due to it's open back design, it will fit all Visors (with exception of the Edge).  Ed has already brought us a review of the T111 for the m500 series. 

The packaging includes the keyboard, a driver diskette, and a cover to fill the void and protect the connector when not in use.  The cover is nice, but not necessary; it snaps in loose and I think it's just a matter of time before I lose it.

My first impression was that the keys were too stiff.  This keyboard arrangement is very much like a RIM device.  I have used a RIM and don't personally like the keyboard feel - if you do, you'll be right at home.  For me, the keys just require too much effort to press and cramp my hand; there is almost no tactile feedback in the keys. 

The good news is, the keys are well laid out in QWERTY fashion with a SYMB key to access numerals, symbols, and cursor control.  Why this is called "SYMB" and not simply FN (function) is beyond me. 

That brings me to another point I don't understand; The shift/caps lock key, tab/space, command, and backspace keys are all represented on the keys by their respective Graffiti strokes.  I would assume that most people get a keyboard because they want to get away from Graffiti (for memory or speed reasons), so why put Graffiti on the keyboard!  I know, it's a nit-pick.

On the positive convenience side, the four hard buttons of the Visor, as well as the four silkscreen buttons, are repeated on the keyboard.  The power button has also been replicated in the bottom center of the keyboard.  This is great feature since the keyboard itself covers all these keys when attached to the Visor.

If you like the main features of the keyboard, this is for you, but you still may not like the driver software.  I think that TT Tech should drop the cover and spend the money on software development.

Below you will see screenshots of the keyboard driver software.  It is fairly rudimentary in design.

What is most troubling to me is that the software requires manual intervention; it must be manually enabled/disabled.  The driver also takes over all serial functions.  This means that you can't beam while using the keyboard, and the driver must be manually disabled before you can HotSync.  To be fair I am aware that Visors can run all the way down to PalmOS v3.1 and that this makes serial port issues even less trivial, however I believe for this to be a real convenient solution TT Tech should work on a way to make these drivers plug and play just like the Stowaway.

The final feature of the software is FaceBoard. This is now accessible from within a single file driver (no longer are two PRCs required).  The FaceBoard presents the user with a pick list of emoticons for use in text applications.  It's cute, but I didn't really use it much.

Overall the product is well constructed.  If TT Tech can enhance the driver, and you like the RIM style keyboard, this may be a winner for you.  As is however, I find it difficult to recommend.

One of the wonderful things about the Palm community is the support within.  I'd like to thank RipTide Accessories, Inc. for providing this product for our scrutiny and awareness.  RipTide is listed as a US WorldWide distributor for TT Tech.  Please see the TT Tech site for current information on where to buy a SnapNType if you are interested.

Article Comments

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Wow, i really thought it was the best amongst the 3

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 5:04:02 PM #
it seems that it is as bad as the targus. Ed, do you recommend seikos?

RE: Wow, i really thought it was the best amongst the 3
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/13/2002 7:45:04 PM #
Oh c'mon.

If you've got Blackberry envy or a Graffiti learning disability, this is a quick, cheap hardware fix.

RE: Wow, i really thought it was the best amongst the 3
TechnoPops @ 2/13/2002 11:59:06 PM #
PIC's already reviewed the Seiko Thumboard for the m500 series:

http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=2779

Got 1/2 point less in Design, but is 1/2 point higher in Coolness. It also got 3 stars Overall, so I guess they're about the same.

Maybe Palm should make PDAs with a built-in keyboards

Sweetlu @ 2/13/2002 9:59:55 PM #
I'm not big on Grafitti. I have silkyboard and I would never go back. Handspring's Treo is offering a keyboard model, it would be interesting to see in a couple of weeks or months which model is more popular (with grafitti or the blackberry style keyboard).

Where's the review for the T111 for the M500 series?

Leech @ 2/14/2002 2:07:00 PM #

The link at the beginning of the article is for this article, not the T111 article.

I did a search and can't find the review you are referring to.

Where?

RE: Where's the review for the T111 for the M500 series?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/20/2002 4:59:02 AM #

Did you try the new driver for T101

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/20/2002 5:01:11 AM #
Regarding the driver software, TT Tech had posted a latest version in their web-site which had already fixed the problem of manual enable and disable.

Compatibility Issue

Wizard51 @ 3/25/2002 3:49:00 PM #
I love the Snap-N-Type keyboard, but the reason I purchased it was to send e-mail and use AOL IM with a keyboard instead if Grafitti (which is impossible). Unfortunately, the keyboard and my Omnisky modem both access the Prism via the serial port. Oops... you can't have them both on at the same time. Kind of defeated the purpose. I have to compose my e-mails, then disable the keyboard and install my modem.

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