- Small and portable
- Can be upgraded
- Odd layout for punctuation
- Unusual key sensitivity
*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms
DNR's mini-PDA keyboard is a tiny and portable solution for people who just can't stand Graffiti. It also allows you to cheaply upgrade or switch between
handhelds with just a cable.
To use the keyboard, all you need to do is install the driver, enable it, and hook up the keyboard. The keyboard attaches to the Palm via a cable so you
have to plug the cable into both the Palm and the keyboard. But once you hook it up, you're ready to type, and the driver doesn't interfere with HotSyncing or Palm's keyboard driver.
The most important aspect of any keyboard is how well you can type with it. In order to make this keyboard so small, the typing space has been drastically decreased. The keys are smaller then the nail on my pinky finger, and there is barely any space between the keys. When you type on the keyboard you'll notice that the typing surface is pretty much a plastic grid with a rubber-like layer over it.
When you do try to type, you're either going to fall in love with the keyboard or you'll hate it bitterly. The keys have a rather weird sensitivity. If you try to poke directly at each individual key you end up with a lot of errors and extremely slow typing speeds. But, on the other
hand, if you tap the general area of the key instead of searching out each letter, it notices where the pressure is being placed and it puts down the correct letter. This method is much quicker, and there are rarely any typos.
So, if you search out all of your letters, you'll probably hate this keyboard, but if you try to type fluently without being too precise you'll quite likely love it.
For the most part the keys are laid out in a predictable fashion, but some of the punctuation can only be accessed by using the function key and searching for the right key. Another issue with the key layout is the size of the spacebar - it's a tiny square the same size as any other key. Also, because this keyboard works on Win CE devices too, there aren't any keys that mimic the silkscreen or hard buttons. But there is a key that you can use for the command feature; it's just labeled as Ctrl.
Size and Portability
This is definitely the most portable keyboard I have ever used. The keyboard is smaller then a Palm, and it tucks away nearly anywhere. This is the only keyboard I've tried so far which fits comfortably in a pants pocket,
allowing it to go anywhere you do. The cable comes off, so you can fold it in half and keep it safely next to the keyboard.
Attaching a keyboard with a cable has its pluses and minuses. On the down side it's easy to lose, so whenever I put away the keyboard I always worry if
I'll ever see the cable again. But the most important thing about cables is that they save you money by letting you upgrade. Instead of selling an old
keyboard when you upgrade your Palm, you can just buy a new cable and save a bit of money. This is also convenient because if you have more then one PDA;
you just carry around a few extra cables, rather then a few extra keyboards. And, most importantly, you can even switch between platforms and you won't
have to sell the keyboard.
There are cables that let this keyboard work with the Palm m500 series, Palm V series, Palm m100 series, Palm III and VII series, Handspring Visor and Edge, Sony N series, HandEra 330 and TRGpro, and several types of Pocket PC devices.
This is a great keyboard that is very portable and it will last through several upgrades by just buying new cables. But for some people the keys just won't suit their style and it will barely be useable. So, before buying it, you should think about your typing style and whether or not you'll like the sensitivity.