iPhone 4 Keyboard Review: WOW-Keys Keyboard for iPhone and iPod Reviewed by Tong Zhang
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4
What's Hot: Unique concept, iPhone 4 controls work great, charge and sync iPhone or iPod while it's in the keyboard dock.
What's Not: Home and Backspace switched places.
A Korean based company Omnio introduced a keyboard that's designed as a two-in-one keyboard for your desktop and iPhone/iPod. In the U.S. Compuexpert is a dealer for this unique keyboard. The WOW Keys is a full size QWERTY keyboard that comes with a dock connector for an iPhone or iPod and an area for your iDevice to dock into the keyboard. The wild-looking keyboard however doesn't have Bluetooth for wireless connection, instead it has an USB out to work with either a PC or a Mac computer (it needs USB power to operate). And it offers 12 iPhone Hotkeys to control the phone with the keyboard.
The WOW Keys keyboard is incredibly easy to set up. When it works with a PC, it requires no action on your part. Just plug the WOW-Keys in a PC?s USB port, voil?, it works after a quick automatic driver installation. When working with a Mac, you are asked to press a couple of keys on the keyboard for the Mac to validate the keyboard, and that?s it. The keyboard works smoothly with both operating systems, and the keyboard comes with a hardware button that lets you switch between using the keyboard with a computer and with your iPhone. The keyboard supports iOS 4.x devices.
Keyboard Size and Layout
The WOW-Keys keyboard measures in at 16 x 4.7 x 1 inches, which is a similar size in width and height to the current Apple keyboard with numeric keys, and is about 1? shorter than the older style Apple USB keyboard with a clear tray. The WOW-Keys weighs 1.4 lbs and comes with a 4.9ft long USB cable. The keys have life cycle of 10 million uses. The WOW-Keys keyboard has more travel than the thin Apple keyboard, and the tactile feedback is very good thanks to the Scissor design under the key caps. The keyboard is also very quiet, making muted sound when typing.
The WOW-Keys keyboard has mostly standard layout with two exceptions: a shortened Shift key on the right side and misplaced Backspace key. The shortened right Shift key is easy to adapt as many notebook keyboards have the same set up, but the Backspace key is hard to adapt. It?s not only half the size of a standard Backspace key, it also switched places with the Home key which will throw you off for a long time until you get used to this oddity. Since the WOW-Keys keyboard has to work with both a PC and a Mac, it includes command keys for both OS?s. As a result, all command keys are a single space key, no special treatment here.
iPhone and iPod Operation
It?s pretty neat to control your iPhone 4 or iPod with a keyboard for typing, playing songs and games and turning on or off the display. There are 12 Hotkeys designed to work with the iPhone and iPod including a dedicated Home key and a search key. There is also a function key to bring up the iPhone 4?s onscreen keyboard when you are in a text entry field or app, and the Escape key brings you to iPhone?s home screen no matter which app you are in currently. There are also volume controls on the keyboard and they work just like the volume buttons on the iPhone 4 or iPod. So for typing and playing audio and video files, the WOW-Keys keyboard handles most of the actions with the Hotkeys.
What if you want to use the keyboard with a mouse for your computer? The WOW-Keys keyboard can also turn your iPhone into a touchpad and mouse with the help from Mobile Mouse Pro, an iOS app. The Mobile Mouse Pro app is designed to turn your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad touch into a remote trackpad and mouse for your computer. But when it combines with the WOW-Keys keyboard, your iPhone 4 becomes a touchpad with multi-touch support and a virtual mouse. Mobile Mouse Pro isn?t free however, you can get it from the iTunes App Store for $1.99.
The slot on the WOW-Keys keyboard where your iPhone or iPod sits isn?t very tight, so if you have a slim case on your iPhone 4, you can plug it in without taking the case off. When your iPhone 4 is docked into the keyboard, the WOW-Keys passes power through and charges the phone. You can also sync to iTunes as the docking port supports data.
Who is the WOW-Keys keyboard for? It?s not for those who are looking for a full sized wireless keyboard for just their iPhone 4 because the WOW-Keys needs a computer to work. If you have an ultra small computer and an iPhone or iPod touch, the WOW-Keys keyboard can be a great solution to provide full-size keyboard typing experience for both. The built-in Hotkeys make controlling the iDevice very easy, and the keyboard worked with all the apps we tried in our tests. If you don?t need a dedicated numeric keypad, the WOW-Keys keyboard can replace your desktop keyboard and has a place to store and charge/sync your iPhone. You can still use a hardware mouse, or if you feel adventurous with Mobile Mouse apps you can turn your iDevice into a virtual mouse. The only real issue with the keyboard is the Home key switched place with Backspace which will throw you off.