Review: BlackBerry Mini Keyboard
The Mini Keyboard makes the PlayBook a mobile work Horse!
The BlackBerry PlayBook has not been short on accessory options, with RIM has releasing a few of its own, the latest is the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard. This addition to the BlackBerry PlayBook makes the device more useful, than it already was.
Design: The BlackBerry Mini Keyboard is comprised of a carrying case technically a redesigned convertible case and the actual keyboard that is the size of the PlayBook but thinner. The Keyboard is not attached to the case it can be removed or placed back into the straps. The back of the case also has a strap that you can place around the case when it is close to keep the case from opening when you are carrying the device or place it on your bag before a trip.
The keyboard itself is easy to power on and off with a button on the lower left corner to conserve battery when you are not using it. Another method is turning the Bluetooth off on the PlayBook and leaving the keyboard turned on.
Form Factor: Adding to the design the case encloses the PlayBook inside which makes it hard for the PlayBook to fall of. The back of the case has a kickstand and camera access and it also has access to all your ports for charging, and mini-HDMI. Overall the case adds portability, secures the PlayBook inside and makes it easy to carry around.
Weight: The keyboard itself does not weigh much but when you combine all three things together, the PlayBook, case, and keyboard it adds a bit of weight but not to the point where it becomes uncomfortable to carry.
Pairing the BlackBerry PlayBook Mini Keyboard:
Pairing the device is super easy the first time, simply turn the PlayBook bluetooth on, and the same on the mini keyboard.
- Turn Bluetooth on both devices
- Go to the PlayBook options/Bluetooth/Add new device
- Once the PlayBook finds the keyboard, click to connect. When connected, type the numbers shown on the PlayBook on keyboard and hit enter. This will finish pairing the devices.
Enable pairing mode or pairing to another device: If for some reason you need to delete the pairing and pair the devices again you need to hold the “CONTROL” key at the same time that you turn on the keyboard to enable pairing mode.
|Part Number: ACC-41616-001||UPC: 843163090279 EAN: 0843163090279|
|Packaging & Documentation Languages||English, French, Spanish|
|Mini Keyboard Dimensions (Length x Width x Depth)||194mm x 130mm x 6mm
7.60” x 5.10” x .24”
|Case Dimensions (Length x Width x Depth)||201mm x 140mm x 28mm
7.90” x 5.50” x 1.10”
|Retail Package Dimensions (Length x Width x Depth)||210mm x 145mm x 50mm
8.50” x 5.75” x 2.0”
|Master Carton Dimensions (Length x Width x Depth)||307mm x 230mm x 156mm
12.10” x 9.06” x 6.15”
|Keyboard Weight (g)||179|
|Case Weight (g)||268|
|Final Product Weight (including the PlayBook tablet) (g)||918|
|Master Carton Weight (kg)||3|
|Battery Life||up to 30 days on a single charge|
|Charger||Micro US/Can be charge with PlayBook charger|
|Compatible with third party devices||Must be Bluetooth HID profile|
Before you beging there are some special Tips & Trick You should learn: This will make your experience better, and will see yourself learning how to use it faster.
Using the touchpad
Navigating Using the Touchpad
Typing: The keyboard feels a little cramped because it is small and may take time for somebody with fatty fingers to get used to it. It took me a few days of about 1 to 2 hours use to actually begin to feel comfortable typing on it without missing keystrokes, or clicking the wrong key. The touchpad/mouse also takes some time to get used to it, and it is because it does not function just like a regular touchpad works on a laptop. RIM has integrated some customized gestures that take a little while to learn but are definitely pretty cool to use once you get used to it. If you think about how the PlayBook functions with gestures it makes sense at the way RIM added this features to the keyboard touchpad.
Once I felt comfortable with my typing speed, I began to leave my laptop at home and taking my PlayBook to school for note taking, viewing my school books on PDF, printing school material from my pc to the PlayBook with print2go. When people see me using the PlayBook and the mini keyboard they are intrigued to see at the functionality, that the keyboard adds to the PlayBook.
The best part about using the Touchpad and the Mini Keyboard to type and browse is the fact that half the screen is not covered with the virtual keyboard. This gives you more screen real-estate to multitask, browse, read, send emails, type notes, and edit documents.
I decided not to do a video review since RIM already has a pretty good video that shows the main features of the KeyBoard.
- Gives you access to a faster typing method on the PlayBook
- Full screen view – virtual keyboard hides away
- Similar to using a laptop, with a small learning curve
- Supports 3rd party devices with HID profile
- The elastic strap makes it easy to keep the Mini Keyboard and PlayBook close, and Open it when needed.
- The keyboard and PlayBook can be taken out of the case for use when you have the PlayBook connected to an HDMI cable
- You get a case and a keyboard all in one
- Keyboard is compact but it is to be expected for the size
- Taking the PlayBook out of the case can be a pain sometimes
- The kickstand does not hold good in slick surfaces, and if you tap hard on the PlayBook it will fall back.
- The price may throw some buyers off but your are actually getting a case+keyboard in one which if you bough separately you may pay just about the same price.
The BlackBerry Mini Keyboard, is not for everyone but if you can actually see yourself using it than you should buy one. If you really don’t see your self using it than don’t because it may not be the thing for you. Ask yourself what activities that I use my PlayBook would this keyboard make it easier for me?. If you do quite a bit of note taking, you want to be able to write ideas on the go, or simply be able to send out e-mails faster with a physical keyboard then it might be the accessory for you.