FLR: "iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Keyboard", by "Think Outside"

28 Jan 2008

"Before you buy it, find out if I'm sorry that IÂ did"

Front Line Reviews are the opposite of "unboxing". You've read the spec sheet already. These reviews will tell you if it holds up in a production environment.

"iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Keyboard", by "Think Outside"

This is brilliant. It sets up fast, types fast, and Just Works.

Software setup on my Nokia 6120c was trivial; IÂ used Nokia's keyboard software instead of the provided CD and it worked. I can select text, copy-and-paste using hotkeys, and access the left softmenu key. I don't know how to simulate the right one.

Think Outside's customer support will deny that this is possible. Don't believe them.

If it doesn't seem to connect, make sure you type the passcode (initially chosen on the phone) on the keyboard. It's not always obvious that that's what you need to do.

Hardware setup is just as easy. The attached stand works well with my phone; it doesn't slip off even on bumpy bus rides. There's no power switch, because it 'wakes up' when you press a key. It comes with batteries.

Typing is a dream compared to the other fold-up keyboards I've used. The keys give good feedback and IÂ can type at nearly my full 60 wpm. There's no lag at all, unlike my last keyboard, although I'm not sure if this was the fault of the keyboard or the device. Numbers and symbols are slightly slower, because they're shifted, but this trims a whole row off the keyboard's footprint.

The iGo Stowaway is stable enough that you can type with the keyboard propped on backpack sitting on your lap, while on a bus. IÂ got an eyestrain headache after ten minutes, but that's hardly the keyboard's fault.

It does rock slightly even on a flat surface. This is only slightly distracting, and could probably be fixed with some bluetack.

I'm using it with Ped, a freeware Python IDE for Symbian that also functions as the platform's best text editor. I bought QuickOffice, but the installation failed with an unhelpful error, and the customer support staff insisted that the only way to fix it would be to reformat my phone, so I gave up on it.

Mine was 18 pounds, which is an incredible bargain. Ditch the Macbook Air and buy one.