By Jared Miniman | May 13, 2002 12:04 AM
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.
Like all iPAQ keyboards, you’ll
need the basic driver before you can begin. See my
for details on the driver software, as nothing has
a few key color changes and the inclusion of an AC
adapter port (nice!), the T302 looks exactly the same
as its predecessor.
of the box.
reminder: here’s what the old keyboard looked like.
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.
aforementioned, now you can charge your iPAQ while
typing, just like with the Stowaway. Something you
note only when it’s missing!
while you type.
before, a plastic clip-on prevents the sync-port male
connector from getting dirty or damaged.
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.
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
from the side with SilverSlider installed.
of iPAQ + SilverSlider + SnapNType.
also have one of those large Nexian
NexiPaks. Even with the huge bulk, I had no problems
using the keyboard.
configuration from a back angle.
now it’s just showing off! The SnapNType T302 even
“does naked” without that annoying gap between
the iPAQ and inside of the keyboard.
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
the layout of the program has changed a little.
you select Edit from the Command Bar, you’ll be asked
to click a key to change its function.
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!
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!
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].
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
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?
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.
IM’ers will love Faceboard
- Supportsall iPAQ sleeve configurations
a bit soft
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!