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Customer Review

100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Only Choice For Mobile Professionals, August 13, 2005
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This review is from: iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard for Blackberry and other PDA/ Handhelds (Wireless Phone Accessory)
ThinkOutside Stowaway Keyboard

Pro -

* Near full-size key spacing. Easy to for a touch typist to use accurately with no loss of speed or learning a new keyboard feel

* Unfolds and Folds easily

* Unfolds and locks securely - can be used in a lap without risk of board assuming the characteristic "V" shape of bent HP iPaq and Freedom keyboards.

* Folds to small size

* Removable cradle

* Folds to small lightweight size

* Easy to use software

* Simple power management: powers down upon closing; powers up when opened.

* Protective case included.

Con -

* No number/symbol row. Need to use awkward alt-key combinations. Not appropriate for extended numeric data entry or spreadsheets.

* Cradle difficult to remove

* Protective case cheap vinyl

* Does not sit totally flat on a flat surface.

In so many fundamental areas where other mobile Bluetooth keyboards fail, Think Outside got it right.

They are the *only* contender who remembered that a mobile keyboard will be used in mobile situations - read: "on a lap" - and designed the board to sit sturdy without risk of bending when the board's center is hovering in the air between one's legs.

They also remembered that one advantage to using a wireless connection is it gives the user an option to place the handheld to any convenient location within range. The cradle however requires a distressing effort of bending and twisting to remove, which makes the user fear breaking the cradle.

Additionally, this board is designed for use by experienced touch typists, and does not require users to re-calibrate the fingers to type on significantly smaller keys as does the Freedom Keyboard.

Finally, despite its slightly Rube Goldberg appearance, this keyboard is solid, with a refreshing amount of metal in it's construction. It will take some reasonable punishment - the HP iPaq and Freedom keyboards are cheap plastic children's toys by comparison.

Were I able, I would dock the Stowaway ½ star on two points: The lack of a number/symbol row of keys and it's instability on a flat desk.

The absence of a number/symbol row reduces the width of the folded board by only ¾". Given that I could replace my laptop with a handheld and folding keyboard if I had reliable means to enter numbers onto a spreadsheet, I would gladly accept a Stowaway model which is 4.25" wide when folded, instead of the current 3.5".

In all other ways, Think Outside built this board for professional use. They forgot however, those of us who crunch numbers on Excel, requiring use of cumbersome alt-key combinations (which cannot be locked) for numeric entry.

Although very stable when sitting on a desk, the unfolded board sits on a thin base 5.75" long, with two cantilevered "wings" extending 2.25" in the air past the sides of the base.

Thus, if both hands are not simultaneously on the keyboard to balance it, a keypress on either the extreme left or right side will make the board imitate a catapult. A hunt-and-peck, one or two fingered typist will find this frustrating, though a touch typist accustomed to both hands on the home keys will have little, if any, problem.

Compared to the HP iPaq Folding Bluetooth Keyboard or the Freedom Bluetooth Keyboard -- arguably the only other choices for mobile Bluetooth keyboards -- this Stowaway is the only one worth the money you spend for it. Remarkably, it has the lowest retail price of the three on Amazon.

At the time of this writing, the Think Outside Stowaway Keyboard is the clear winner in design, construction, and functionality over all other mobile Bluetooth keyboards. There are simply no other choices for the mobile professional.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 21, 2008 8:00:45 AM PST
VeXuS says:
I agree about much of the review. But at this price, I'd have to add somethings to help you feel absolutely comfortable with buying and using it.

The stand removes easily for me. I remove it all the time, as I place my device usually at a different angle or height than my keyboard. I just asked for a second one and they sent me it in a week. I only wish the stand can remain in a closed position, but in a way it's really handy that it hooks on closed and perfectly flat, then automatically props up when opened. I'm not doing anything with profound technique to remove it, but open it up rather easily. A little twist, a firm hold, a slight pull, all in one smooth motion, tadah!

Additionally, the tipping is very possible, because the device is center balanced, with the "wings" on the side of it's stand. One has to type really hard to make it tip and mess you up. I'm one of those people. I type really fast and really hard, about 60 words per minute or more. Anyways, there's an cheap solution to fix it. Don't travel your fingers as much. This keyboard reinforces the good typing behavior you know you should have. Just type with minimal movement, which speeds you up, reduces finger and wrist strain, quiets your loud banging on the keys, and stops and possible tipping over. I could but I don't leave my fingers on the keys all the time as I type, but that would be an added way to prevent the tipping. This would be much better than adding some feet or redesigning the device bigger. So, it's reaaaaaly stable now. Additionally, the wings make it a perfect fit between the legs.

Posted on Dec 8, 2012 11:43:25 AM PST
M. Parker says:
The lack of number/symbol keys is a pro, not a con, because they waste space and you can use a simple Autohotkey script or other methods to type those characters using the standard letter keys with equal or greater efficiency as dedicated keys.
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