Best Little Keyboard in Colorado: Killer Bluetooth Portable Keyboard for Real Typing on a Treo 650

I know I said I’d review some things when I returned, but if anyone else out there is looking for the best option for a keyboard for the Treo 650, I wanted to save you a bit of time and alot of money testing out those that don’t work.

If you type alot, if you need to record a great deal of information on the road, if your fingers are chubby, or if you just generally rebel at doing a great deal of thumboarding on your Treo 650 — I have found what I believe is the BEST keyboard for the mobile writer.

I’ve tested quite a few and have wasted several hundred dollars doing so… (these things aren’t cheap) and now I have one I plan to keep for quite awhile. I love it.
With my Treo 600, I had an IR version. They suck. How’s that for honest? You have to keep them “just so” for the IR to align properly. If you pound keys like I tend to do, it will never work for you.

The model I had presented an “edge” that was part of the case… right at the place where my thumb hit the space bar. It hurt in no time. My spacebar thumb got red.

No thanks.

Then I tried the Freedom BT keyboard, when I got the Treo 650. It was fragile. the hinge isn’t made for real-world use. And, I had to reconnect the darn thing every time I wanted to use it. That was more hassle than I want or need.

When I have an idea, I want it down now. I don’t want to have to try to retain it while I encourage my Treo to recognize a keyboard.

The next one I tried was the virtual keyboard. Cool as can be. Projected an IR image on any flat surface, drew alot of attention, had serious geek-appeal.

Problem was, I never could quite get it to be “adjusted” to the way I type. It would either skip characters or would duplicate them. I spent too much time in editing mode. It, also, had to be paired everytime I used it. And, I couldn’t use it i the car on my lap — I had to have a flat surface and a light that wasn’t too bright.

What I’m using now, and what I’m LOVING on this trip is an Think Outside Stowaway Bluetooth Wireless keyboard.
It’s awesome. Good, fullsized keyboard, metal construction that takes the abuse my typing (beating) style dishes out, and a firm set of latches which permit me to use it anywhere, even in my lap. It also stays in automatic pairing mode, so I simply go to whatever application I need and press a letter a couple of times to wake it up. Then, off I go, typing like a madwoman as usual.

Since it’s bluetooth, I can hang my treo from anywhere in the car and type on in my lap. I’ve done this by hanging it from the visor when I’m in the passenger seat and I’ve hung it from an extra large hair band (the elastic type) wrapped around the passenger’s side head rest while I was taking my turn in the back on the long road trip. Hey, it may be weird, but I use what I have and it works!

The down side of this keyboard? I’ve not read the manual yet. I’m sure that’s limiting me some — but I got it on my way out the door, and didn’t have time to print off a hard copy and the PDF reader for Palm from Adobe has decided to misbehave.

There isn’t a dedicated keyrow for numbers — you must use a function key to access numbers. Not a huge deal for me, since I don’t use numbers that much.

Some of the special characters are in odd locations I can’t, for instance, use ( or ) without a function key — and I use those alot.

I’ve also hit on this glich (probably user error, since I’ve not read the manual) which throws me into a strange cap and lowercase pattern sometimes. I know I’ve probably TOLD it to do that, unwittingly, and I’ve discvered how to undo it, but I’ve not figured out exactly what combination of caps is causing it — is it the shift, the caps lock, or some strange keystroke combination I do a couple times a day?

Overall, I’m thrilled with the Think Outside Stowaway Bluetooth Wireless keyboard. It’s super thin, incredibly tough, properly sized for real typists and is quickly becoming this writer’s second favorite mobile tool… right behind the Treo 650 itself.

And over the last week, I’ve given it one HECK of a workout.

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