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Tablet Keyboard Review: HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard Review
      #40950 - 07/08/11 09:36 AM

Tablet Keyboard Review: HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard Review

Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4

What's Hot: Great looking keyboard, TouchPad specific keys and long battery life.

What's Not: Keys could use a bit more travel, directional keys should work in more places.

With the launch of the HP TouchPad webOS tablet, HP also released a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and a Touchstone dock for the tablet. The HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard is specifically designed for the TouchPad tablet with keys launching and controlling TouchPad's apps and multimedia playback. The keyboard is easy to pair, comfortable to use and it can last you for months on two AA batteries.



Design

The HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard is incredibly slim and weighs 13.4 ounces. The back of the keyboard rises up to create a better ergonomic angle for typing and also makes the keyboard more stable. The keyboard has chiclet style keys in a standard US format. So you should have no trouble finding key positions while touch-typing. Above the standard layout, the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard has a row of TouchPad-specific control keys that make using the tablet a lot easier with the keyboard. Among these keys, you will find screen on/off, multimedia controls, screen brightness controls, notifications, Just Type and on-screen keyboard switch. You will still need to use the touchscreen occasionally, but the TouchPad keys keep the number of touches to a minimum. Beyond that, the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard also had a dedicated 2X sized button to launch the webOS? unique Card View home screen.

The design of the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard is clean and modern. The keyboard?s body is thin yet very sturdy. The surface of the keys is matted so that they are not slippery and it feels nice to type on them. It has four rubber feet on the bottom to prevent the keyboard from slipping on a smooth surface, and the bottom of the keyboard on the back has a tube that houses 2 AA battery that powers the keyboard and the Bluetooth radio. Also under the keyboard, you will find a handy power button that also functions as Bluetooth button. You can slide it to turn on or off the keyboard, and to put the keyboard in pairing mode. There is a small LED light hiding under the button, and when the button is at ?on? position, the LED flashes to let you know the keyboard is on and in pairing mode.



Typing Experience

The portable keyboard has about the same width and length as 13? notebook keyboards, and it?s comfy to type on. The key locations are standard and the chiclet keys are easy to use. The keys could use a little more travel, as it has less travel than the keyboard on a MacBook Air 13.3? notebook, but we made very few mistakes typing on the keyboard from the start. We were thrill to see both Shift keys are 2X sized and there is a 2X sized Delete key on the top right corner. We also love the Card View key that can get you in and out of an application in a jiffy as well as two Control keys and a symbol key. One thing that?s amiss about this keyboard: the 4 directional keys don?t control navigation in the home screen or application screens. So you can?t launch new applications using the keyboard easily since you can?t select them with the directional keys. This increases the number of touches on the screen when you are using the tablet. The four directional keys also don?t navigate on web pages, but they do work in applications that you are typing in, like a note or document.

The Bluetooth keyboard had some occasional lags in several apps we tested including the built-in web browser, Calendar, email and TapNote Lite. The lags don?t happen all the time, but once in a while the keyboard has trouble keeping up in real time.



Features

The HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard has built-in Bluetooth and will work with tablets and phones that support HID profile. When you turn on the wireless keyboard, it puts itself in pairing mode for 1 minute. Use your tablet or phone to find and pair with the keyboard. If you need to pair with additional devices, you will need to turn off Bluetooth on the last device you paired the keyboard with, then turn the keyboard power off and on to put it in pairing mode. We tested the keyboard with other tablets such as the iPad 2 and it worked with them smoothly. In fact, we didn?t experience the lag on the iPad 2 with the keyboard as we did with the HP TouchPad, and we suspect that the TouchPad might need an update to smooth things out on the Bluetooth keyboard front. If you are using the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard with other devices, you loose the special keys designed to work with the TouchPad.

Battery

As with other Bluetooth keyboard, the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard has long battery life. The keyboard comes with two AA batteries that should you last you at least for 6 months. It?s also convenient to have that power button for you to turn off the keyboard when you are done for the day.



Conclusion

If you have the HP TouchPad webOS tablet and need a keyboard, the HP TouchPad Wireless Keyboard is the way to go. The keyboard looks sleek and it?s thin and light. It?s easy to type on it thanks to the standard layout and you will love the TouchPad control keys especially that screen power on/off key and Card View key. The chiclet style keyboard is large enough to match 13.3? notebook keyboard, and the keys have matted surface for better typing, though travel on these keys could be better. The keyboard has great battery life and should be a great travel companion to your tablet without having to worry about charging one more thing. The keyboard has some lags with the TouchPad but we suspect it will get smoothed out with future updates. We really wish that the 4 directional keys functioned in more app as navigation.





Price: $69.99
Web site: HP


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Buy it from Amazon

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Check out our video review of the HP TouchPad webOS tablet:
http://www.mobiletechreview.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Number=40926
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Edited by LisaG (07/08/11 09:48 AM)


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