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