TT Tech SnapNType T302 for HP iPAQ 3800

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The only other company of late that has really broken

with accepted design and produced something truly

innovative is Think

Outsidewith their Stowaway.

This fold-up and fit-into-your-pocket design has won

the hearts of many editors here at pocketnow, and

it goes without saying that the friendly California-based

company deserves all of the recognition they’ve received

in recent years. The make keyboards for everything

from Palms to cell phones.

   

Back to the task at hand, this is not a story about

the full-size keyboard; rather, it’s about yet another

attempt by an accessory company to make good on the

Blackberry keyboard idea. TT Tech, makers of SnapNType,

told me just days after my original

review went up, that they would soon be coming

out with a 3800-happy version with improved type feedback

(one of my major complaints with the first design

was the “mushy” feel of the keys). Even

more significant was TT Tech’s promise that the new

keyboard could be used with the naked iPAQ or with

any expansion pack. About two weeks ago I finally

received the T302 with much anticipation. Please note

that this is the first time I’ve been forced to refer

to the iPAQ as the Hewlett Packard iPAQ Pocket PC!

We’ll all get acclimated to this, with time.


SETUP

Like all iPAQ keyboards, you’ll

need the basic driver before you can begin. See my

original review

for details on the driver software, as nothing has

changed there.


DEVICE OPERATION

Aside from

a few key color changes and the inclusion of an AC

adapter port (nice!), the T302 looks exactly the same

as its predecessor.

Shot

of the box.

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Quick

reminder: here’s what the old keyboard looked like.

So

here’s the new keyboard. Same layout, but with orange

instead of red and a reprinting of the quick application

launch keys to mirror what the 3800 series has.

As

aforementioned, now you can charge your iPAQ while

typing, just like with the Stowaway. Something you

note only when it’s missing!

Charge

while you type.

Like

before, a plastic clip-on prevents the sync-port male

connector from getting dirty or damaged.

And,

unlike before, you can now use the SnapNType with

any iPAQ configuration! I find myself using

the George Mosquerra SilverSlider

5NAmost often, but I have an arsenal of fatter

sleeves as well, so if I’m going to use a keyboard,

it needs to have flexibility.

Once

you have the driver enabled, you can begin typing

from any application that is ready to accept user

input. One of my favorite aspects of the SnapNType

line is the huge, angled keys. For the size of the

keyboard, you really feel like you’re using a reasonably-proportioned

keyboard.

 

SnapNType

from the side with SilverSlider installed.

Back

of iPAQ + SilverSlider + SnapNType.

I

also have one of those large Nexian

NexiPaks. Even with the huge bulk, I had no problems

using the keyboard.

Same

configuration from a back angle.

Oh,

now it’s just showing off! The SnapNType T302 even

“does naked” without that annoying gap between

the iPAQ and inside of the keyboard.


FACEBOARD

   

Though I never found this little application particularly

useful, some people who engage in a lot of instant

messaging like to use a lot of emoticons. For whatever

reason, I tend to use emoticons only on the desktop,

and not on my Pocket PC, as the more characters you

have to put out, the longer it will take to express

your sentiments.

Regardless,

the layout of the program has changed a little.

If

you select Edit from the Command Bar, you’ll be asked

to click a key to change its function.

Just

type in the silly emoticon that interests you and

you’re all set. Now if MSN Messenger for Pocket PC

supported emoticons, we’d be all set. But for me,

a lot of these faces don’t have a lot of meaning,

so I’d be pretty unlikely to ever use most of them.

Perhaps I’m just an unrefined user!


EVERYDAY USE

I complained throughout

the T301 review about how “sticky” the keys

were; things have improved considerably, but I still

would like even more “springiness” in the

keys. When you click a key, it does spring back with

a subdued clicking sensation, but it’s nothing as

bouncy as the iPAQ Micro Keyboard. Clearly, you wouldn’t

want such responsiveness from keys of this magnitude

because they would likely make loud noise, but a little

less key softness would be ideal.

   

Of course, key feel is a very subjective matter, and

many of you will fall in love with this keyboard.

It is, after all, very well built and hugs all iPAQ

configurations with great finesse. Build construction

is very high, and I’m confident the T302 will handle

a lot of abuse, which I intend to give it!


HELP SUPPORT

TT Tech is really good

with getting regular driver updates out there. You

can download updates for your T302 from their support

page. Need direct technical support? E-mail TT

Tech at [email protected].


SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

size=2>From a software requirements

perspective, you’ll need a meager 300 kb of storage

space and about 50 kb of free program memory to run

this. Hardware-wise, any iPAQ H3800 series device

will work perfectly. This includes the 3835, 3850,

3870, and 3875.


BUGS AND WISHES

   

Key

feel is still not perfect to me, but I like complaining,

and for most people, responsiveness will be just fine.

The key size only is a terrific selling point for

this product. I like the new Faceboard application,

and the main driver has always been acceptable. However,

my design side coughs whenever I see the SnapNType

application icon–it’s hideous! Could someone over

at TT Tech make a new icon and round of this otherwise

very professional product?


PURCHASING

   

None

of the online retailers seem to be stocking the T302

yet, but it’s only a matter of time. When it does

hit the shelves, I’d recommend grabbing one from Stylus

Central. No, that wasn’t an affiliate link, but

they’re very quick to get out my orders, so they come

well recommended by the folk at pocketnow. Prices

have yet to be determined. I’d assume $40 USD.


PROS


  • Huge keys!


  • Improved

    tactile response


  • Regular

    IM’ers will love Faceboard

  • Supportsall iPAQ sleeve configurations


CONS


  • Keys still

    a bit soft


  • That damn

    icon!


OVERALL

IMPRESSION

I couldn’t fill the cons section,

so that just goes to show that I’m very pleased with

the new SnapNType. Apparently TT Tech really took

my review to heart because they addressed every minor

and major issue that I brought up. I’m wondering if

at this point they could do something even more clever

with Faceboard, like perhaps integrate into it Pocket

PC 2002’s “My Text” feature, available in

Pocket Inbox and MSN Messenger, which allows you to

drop a line of text with a single click. I’m not sure

if any interface with My Text has been exposed by

Microsoft, but I leave it up to TT Tech to try out

something creative. So Instant Messaging fiends rejoice:

you now have a great keyboard for your iPAQ 3800 series!

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About The Author
Jared Miniman