Solidtek Ultra-Mini Keyboard – First Impressions and Pictures
As mentioned earlier, the Solidtek keyboard is an alternative USB keyboard for UMPCs and other slate Tablet PCs. I haven’t been able to really play around with this keyboard that much yet, just a little bit near the end of the work day yesterday. But my first impression is that it’s going to be kind of difficult to use over an extended amount of time. Firstly, the keys are quite small, even for me, so I expect that a lot of people would have trouble typing on this. Secondly, the keyboard layout was changed around in order to fit everything into a small footprint; most notably, there is no right-hand shift key. Already that makes things more difficult for touch-typists. The apostrophe key was also moved a couple keys right of the space bar instead of being to the left of the enter key on a normal QWERTY keyboard. Those two particular changes often tripped me up during my short test.
Of course, with a keyboard this small, thin, and light, you can’t really expect to have the same experience that you would with a larger keyboard. It does offer a slightly better way to input larger amounts of text — like a short e-mail or blog post — than DialKeys, but I wouldn’t whip out this keyboard just to enter a URL or password. DialKeys or the TIP would be sufficient. So it boils down to what your preferences and needs are — a super small keyboard that is very easy to transport with your UMPC, or a slightly larger keyboard that is more usable for extended “desktop computing” sessions. JKOntheRun posted about a Logitech USB keyboard for the Playstation2 that’s probably a better option for users who prefer the slightly larger keyboard option. It’s also at least $10 – $12 cheaper than the Solidtek keyboard. I just picked it up today from Fry’s, so I’ll try to get some comparison pictures up soon. In the meantime, here are pictures of the Solidtek keyboard itself: