Friday, 30 December 2011

Bluetooth Keyboard for the BlackBerry PlayBook Review

I was recently sent a Bluetooth Keyboard for the PlayBook by The Next Success and TotallyTablet. A Bluetooth keyboard is coming officially from RIM, and it’s great to see Next Success bring one to market this fast. I’ve used the keyboard for over a week and this review breaks down whether it’s a good investment.

The Bluetooth keyboard for the PlayBook by Next Success comes as a case with a built-in keyboard. The keyboard is charged via Micro USB and pairs to the PlayBook like any other Bluetooth accessory would.
Some of the great things about the Next Success keyboard is that the keys are made from rubber so that when your PlayBook screen rubs against them, your screen won’t get scratched. The case that surrounds the PlayBook also feels like it’s fairly good quality and the stand that props the PlayBook upright is at a nice angle.
The typing experience on the keyboard is pretty solid and the letters register on the screen quickly. There isn’t as much feedback from the keys as you would want though. It feels as though the keys are hollow rubber, and because of this the typing experience takes some getting used to. Compared to the virtual keyboard on the PlayBook, if you have any significant amount of typing to do you’ll love this keyboard. Writing emails, documents and completing forms with the Bluetooth keyboard was significantly faster.
The major criticism I have of the Bluetooth Keyboard is that the case that the PlayBook sits in didn’t take into account the gestures that are used by the PlayBook. The leather cover hides the bezel which is integral to the PlayBook experience. If you’re browsing multiple apps, you will want to swipe from the far right to the center, or from the bottom to the center. This is difficult with the PlayBook case and hurts the user experience a bit.
It should be interesting to see how this Bluetooth Keyboard compares to RIM’s official one that launches in “early 2012″. If you’re someone who is on the road a lot and you’re looking to make your PlayBook a laptop replacement, this is a great solution.

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