Rip-Tide Accessories, Inc.
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SnapNType T101 Review
By Robert Zach
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.
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.
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