Typo Key­board for iPhone 5/5S

HWM (Singapore) - - Test - by James Lu

The Typo key­board seems like a great idea: ev­ery­thing you love about the iPhone, but with the ad­di­tion of a phys­i­cal, tac­tile key­board. Un­for­tu­nately, the re­al­ity doesn’t live up to the dream.

Set­ting the de­vice up is sim­ple enough, just slide the two halves of the black plas­tic case over your iPhone 5 or 5s, then press and hold the Blue­tooth but­ton un­til a blink­ing blue light ap­pears to pair with your iPhone. The first thing you’ll no­tice how­ever is that the Typo makes your iPhone com­i­cally long – not to men­tion awk­wardly top heavy - adding an ex­tra 12mm of length. It also cov­ers up the home but­ton, which means no fin­ger­print Touch ID for 5s users.

As for the key­board it­self, while it looks just like a Black­berry key­board, it feels noth­ing like one. The en­tire key­board flexes at the slight­est pres­sure, and feels like it might break at any mo­ment. There’s a cheap, pla­s­ticky feel to the keys, plus they’re an­noy­ingly loud with an ir­ri­tat­ing click­ing that was never present with even the most en­try-level Black­berry de­vice. The Typo doesn’t work well with iOS ei­ther. Con­nect­ing the key­board turns off au­to­cor­rect (we never could find a way to turn it back on) so you’ll have to fix mis­takes man­u­ally. Un­like some Black­berry de­vices, the Typo also lacks a thumb­stick or nav­i­ga­tion keys, mean­ing you’ll have to use the touch­screen to get to the er­ror you want, then go back to the Typo to fix it. The con­stant shift be­tween key­board and screen – tap screen to start typ­ing, type on key­board, tap screen to move the cur­sor, cor­rect gram­mar on key­board, tap screen to send mes­sage – re­sults in a very jar­ring and un­nec­es­sar­ily time con­sum­ing process.

The de­sign of the Typo it­self pre­sents more is­sues. Since there’s no phys­i­cal con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the Typo and the iPhone, it needs to be charged separately, which isn’t very con­ve­nient. The raised key­board also makes items at the bot­tom of the screen tricky to ac­cess (such as swip­ing up for the cam­era on the lock screen).

Ad­di­tion­ally, any amount of pres­sure ac­ti­vates the Typo’s keys, which in turn ac­ti­vates the iPhone’s dis­play. In our time test­ing the Typo, we re­al­ized our phone dis­play was on pretty much 100 per­cent of the time in the pocket – re­sult­ing in a huge drain on bat­tery life.

Af­ter try­ing very hard to find a re­deem­ing fea­ture, this is the only rea­son we could think of why any­one would buy this $169 gim­mick: you’re an Ap­ple fan­boy who thinks your iPhone 5/5s is so ad­vanced, you pity the fools who don’t have one. The Typo is the rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­vice that amaz­ingly dis­ables the best fea­ture on the 5s, mur­ders bat­tery life and crip­ples typ­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, all in one fell swoop.

The Typo has a 180mAh bat­tery which needs to be recharged roughly once a week via a mi­croUSB ca­ble.

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