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Reviews

Spb Full Screen Keyboard v4.0

By Legacy November 11, 2008, 6:03 pm

Anyone who has used a Windows Mobile phone for any reasonable period of time has quickly learned the soft keyboard was never designed to be finger-friendly. For users who would like an alternative, Spb Software House provides a full screen keyboard replacement. How does it perform? Let's find out!

WHAT'S HOT

Here are the key features:

  • Full-screen keyboard

  • Multi-language support

  • Skinable keyboard

SETUP

Spb Full Screen Keyboard (FSK) can be set up on your desktop computer and installed on your mobile device using Active Sync or a stand-alone CAB file can be installed directly on your mobile device.

PRODUCT FEATURES

Spb FSK replaces the soft keyboard that is a standard part of Windows Mobile.

POCKETNOW VIDEO OF THE DAY

Microsoft's keyboard is small, requiring a stylus to accurately hit the keys.

Spb offers a replacement keyboard with larger keys, spaced far enough apart to allow for typing with your fingers.

Tapping a key will pop up a larger image as a way of confirming the key you've pressed.

If the Spb keyboard is too tall and you need to see more of your application, tapping and holding the keyboard key will shorten the keyboard.

On the other hand, when you need thumb-size keys, you can tap the keyboard button and go full-screen. When you click the keyboard button again, your text is entered into your application (or you can configure the keyboard to automatically return when you tap the Enter key).

Spb Full Screen Keyboard provides support for multiple languages.

A simple tap on the keyboard will switch between languages. This would be very useful for anyone who regularly works in multiple languages.

Dictionary support for non-English languages is also provided.

HELP SUPPORT

Spb Software House provides a number of support options on their website, including community forums and e-mail.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Spb Full Screen Keyboard requires Windows Mobile Professional or Classic. It uses less than 0.5 MB of program memory and just over 1 MB of storage memory. Additional storage space will be required if you download any keyboard skins.

BUGS AND WISHES

Because Spb Full Screen Keyboard is a soft keyboard, you don't get the click of a hardware keyboard with each key press. As an alternative, it might be helpful to have an option for the keyboard to produce a soft, audible click with each key press.

The keyboard layout follows the typical QWERTY format. To speed up text entry, it could be helpful to add a few shortcut or macro keys. For example, a single key press could then enter your full name.

It could also be possible to setup some kind of text replacement. An option for replacing "n.s." with "Neal Stublen" or "fsk" with "full screen keyboard" would provide some added functionality beyond the standard Windows Mobile soft keyboard.

PURCHASING

Spb Full Screen Keyboard 4.0 is available on the Spb Software House web site for $14.95, or $4.95 if you're upgrading. A trial download is also available before committing to a purchase.

Pros

  • Large full-screen keyboard for easy thumb typing
  • Full-screen or partial-screen keyboard options
  • Multi-language support
  • Skinable interface

Cons

  • Lacks the tactile response of a hardware keyboard
  • No shortcut keys or other enhancements

OVERALL IMPRESSION

Spb Full Screen Keyboard sets out to provide a better soft keyboard for Windows Mobile devices and it accomplishes that goal well. Anyone who already has a full slide-out keyboard may not find much added value in Spb Full Screen Keyboard. However, if you spend a lot of time responding to e-mail or jotting down notes on your phone and find your hardware keyboard awkward or too small, a full-screen soft keyboard may be just the improvement you've been seeking. I'm fairly pleased with the keyboard on my T-Mobile Wing and will continue to use it for anything more than a couple of short sentences; a soft keyboard will just never provide the same tactile response I enjoy with real buttons. But I will likely keep the Spb keyboard installed for those times when I use the soft keyboard for short notes or when I already have stylus in hand.

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