iTablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard - Testing and Final Thoughts

Article Index
iTablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard
Closer Look and Features
Testing and Final Thoughts
 

Testing / General Usage:

Normally when we test a keyboard we put it through the paces in terms of office use, gaming and day-to-day applications that are indicative of real-world usage.  With the iTablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard we had to modify our testing criteria to reflect what this unit is designed for.  I did hook it up to my Lenovo Thinkpad T410 laptop with it connected to my TV.  In this way, I could comfortably surf the web from the comfort of my couch and display everything on my TV.  I did also hook it up to an Android Tablet as well as my Android phone and iPod Touch.  In every situation, setup was pretty easy and the device connected without issues.

Once you get used to the underside track-pad, you'll find that the device is very handy for quickly surfing the internet, loading videos and entering simple text in your favorite application.  That being said, there are a few drawbacks and limitations of the iTablet keyboard.

The first most noticeable thing is that it feels a little large to be used as a "thumb" keyboard.  If it were a little bigger, you could cram your small hands on it like a regular keyboard.  If it were smaller, it you feel more comfortable and your thumbs could easily reach all of the appropriate keys.  As it stands, reaching some of the middle keys can be a bit of a stretch.


The second biggest drawback is the requirement of a "Fn" (Function) key in order to use backspace and simple punctuation.  I found myself having to stop quite often and correct or add punctuation with the iTablet keyboard and then would forget to toggle-off the "Fn" key and look up to find myself typing a bunch of symbols and gibberish.  Also the random placement of punctuation doesn't make any sense to me either.  On a regular keyboard the (,) comma (.) period and (?) question mark are all close to each other.  On the iTablet keyboard, the (?) is close to its proper place while the (,) shares the (3) key and the (.) shares the (F) key.   There is no rhyme or reason to this key placement and it makes for a reconnaissance mission just to find these keys if you're in a hurry.

LED Lights
Keyboard Lights 

 

One thing I did like about the iTablet keyboard is the ability to turn on backlights in order to use it in the dark.  The main keys are light quite nicely and while it certainly isn't bright, it is more than adequate to use in dim and dark environments.  What you can't see here is that only the top keys are lit up - not the side CTRL/Shift/ALT keys.

 

Final Thoughts:

The iTablet keyboard tries hard - it really does - but I'm afraid it has a few odd quirks that put it out of top place in my books.  The size is just a bit awkward - as is the keyboard layout with a single "Shift" key and a "Space" key that is off to one side.  Also the odd punctuation layout is just plain odd - and the fact that you have to use the "Fn" key to do punctuation and the backspace is almost unforgivable.  On a positive note, the iTablet keyboard connects to almost any device that supports Bluetooth and the Track-pad addition is very handy.  I do also appreciate that you can shut off the Track-pad if you don't want to use it - or if you find it moving your cursor when you set the keyboard down.

Pros:

  • Great connectivity options
  • Track-pad works well
  • Decent battery life
  • Backlights on the keyboard

 

Cons:

  • Odd keyboard layout
  • Must use "Fn" key + keys for basic functions
  • Size feels a little odd - smaller or larger would fit better

 

While it looks like there are more things to like that hate about the iTablet keyboard, I find myself not using it very often.  Not because it's not available - but because typing anything other than a basic and super simple web address may require the use of the backspace.  The layout is just plain odd and it doesn't match any other portable device like a BlackBerry, Android, WinPho7 or Apple device.  That makes it a touch learning curve and a hard sell.  The price of $100 is a little steep as well - but it does offer a lot of functionality - it just does it in a way that is not convenient.

  BCCRating

I wanted to love the iTablet, but I find myself leaving it in the box instead of by my TV.

I would like to thank iTablet for sending this product over for us to review.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.