Saturday, July 31, 2010

Freedom i-Connex Keyboard

- I've been looking a bluetooth keyboard to use with my iPhone ever since iOS 4 was released. At first I tried a really crappy one from Frys which I returned. I guess you can say I went too cheap. You know there is such a thing as going too cheap I always say.
- I've been keeping my eye on this model for a while waiting for a US retailer to finally get them in stock. I picked it up from for $70 which is pretty steep and there weren't barely any reviews out there. So I took a risk and ordered it. They shipped quickly and got it in less than a week.
- The overall design is pretty feature rich. You've got a dedicated power switch, a lock switch to lock the keyboard in an open position, and even a nifty slide out stand for you iphone. It takes 2XAAA batteries. They cram an amazing amount of well designed features into a very compact space.
- Keyboard layout: It's cramped, and it's definitely going to take some practice to get good at touch typing on this thing. The keys are mostly where you would expect them. Some keys are just really tiny which makes it a bit hard to hit consistently like the right spacebar, the backspace is really small, enter is fine, right shift is a bit of a stretch with the up arrow crammed in where you would expect the shift to be, B is a bit further too because it's on the other half of the split, and most symbols and number keys are a bit shifted to the right. The keys feel a bit mushy to me and could probably be a tad more responsive but not bad overall. You can definitely type faster on this than the soft touch keyboard but nowhere near as fast as even say a 10" netbook keyboard. I'll probably improve over time but I'll have to work at it.
- Construction materials seem to be mostly plastic. Though it seems well made I wonder how durable this thing really is.
- It comes with a nice carrying case.
- The iPhone stand works very well and holds the phone in landscape or portrait. There are a few different angle adjustments but I wish you can prop up the phone in a more vertical position.
- All the multimedia buttons work well and there is even a home key.
- Since it's just a standard bluetooth keyboard with a few iOS extras thrown it, it should work fine with any PC with bluetooth or even your Playstation 3 (untested at this time).

If you need something very portable that lets you get some real work done, and if you are willing to practice then this keyboard might be for you. If you don't need the portability then probably something like the similarly priced Apple wireless bluetooth keyboard might be a better option. Recommended with reservations especially at the steep $70 price.

One more thing. I wrote this entire review on my iPhone 4 using this keyboard.

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