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REVIEW: HP iPAQ Slim Thumb Keyboard Expansion Pack
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 08.05.03 - 13:55:38 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 13699x
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For the iPAQ H5400 series, HP also released a new thumb keyboard which also works with H3800 and H3900 series devices.

Unlike the thumb keyboards before released from HP or other 3rd parties, this keyboard is based on the Compaq jacket concept and idea which means it's part of the whole iPAQ and not a clip-on only.

 However, because of this, it's a jacket so it will not work in conjunction with other jackets even if it doesn't use the jacket connector but the serial connector only.

However, the smart side is, that the serial connector of the iPAQ is still available - via the keyboard which means you can leave it attached to your iPAQ but can still plug your iPAQ into the cradle for charging and synchronization! This makes it even more convenient. It is also delivered with an additional cover like you already know to protect the screen of your iPAQ. So this jacket replaces more or less the original protection cover for the H3800, H3900 and H5400 iPAQs.

Because it was also designed for the H5400, on the backside of the jacket a wide opening is omitted to remove the original battery or even be able to use the extended battery.

On the bottom you have two additional foramen for the headset and reset button.
Also a tribute to the H5400 is the foramen between the the keys which is above the device microphone. Something useful if you use the H5400 for VoIP as well.

Compared to other thumb keyboard, the Slim Thumb Keyboard Expansion Pack is thinner and shorter and as it border the complete device, it's more stable and hasn't to be removed if you put your iPAQ into the pocket.

Typing with the thumb keyboard is like typing on all thumb boards. The keys are small but the pressure point of the keys is a good one. Typing on it feels pretty comfortable. Also all keys has different functions which allows you to enter umlauts or accents without using any software but entering it directly from the keyboard.

Final Conclusion

Entering texts with the keyboard works pretty well, unfortunately the D-Pad is hidden by the keyboard and there is no external D-Pad on the thumb board but cursor keys you have to use instead.
Building a thumb keyboard as a jacket is a great idea, specially because the serial port on the bottom stays available as well as you can use a cover to protect the screen. Also the whole combinations feels more stable, in fact it feels more or less like one device not like a device with attached keyboard. The fact, that you can not use any additional jackets anymore, if the keyboard is attached is absolutely a critical point I can not hide here. This means you can not use any extension packs for CF or PC cards nor a Wireless Pack. Sure you can use Bluetooth instead for communication and the SD card slot for storage but it limits the range of application.

The iPAQ Slim Thumb Keyboard Expansion Pack will cost around US$59.00 and is available soon from HP or MobilePlannet

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information] [Buy Here]


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Posted by Kyle on 09.05.03 - 20:59:41

Are the keys backlit?

Posted by Arne Hess on 09.05.03 - 21:16:27

@Kyle: No, they aren't. At least not on my preproduction unit and I don't expect to be illuminated in the final version but that's a good point. :idea:

Posted by Duff on 11.05.03 - 18:51:19

Hey Arne,

    Thanx for the heads up.  It looks pretty good.  I have one question though, from the pics it looks like the keyboard is not QWERTY.  Do you know if this is a pre-production or language thing?  Thanx for your thoughts.


Posted by Arne Hess on 11.05.03 - 19:08:18

@Duff: Yes, you are right - it's not QWERTY which is a language thing, not because of preproduction (I think - at least I hope they know how their keyboard layout should looks like ;-))

As you can see here, on the US American HP site, the US version will be QWERTY: http://.../

But good point I've missed to highlight in my review!

Posted by Jorge on 03.07.03 - 23:03:43

The sad thing is that this is a MASSIVE step backwards for HP from the F2911A they made available for the Jornada 568 (see: http://.../). Not only was it backlit, but it still allowed access to the expansion slot. I keep my 2911A on all the time. This type of slide on keyboard should be a standard accessory for any PDA. If anyone knows of another manufacturer making one available for their Pocket PC PDA (i.e. Dell, Toshiba, NEC, Casio), let me know since I have to buy several PDA’s for the office and will keep waiting until one is available.

Posted by moorthy cr on 27.07.03 - 06:57:03

Does this ipaqu slim thumb keyboard also work for ipaqu 5555 model ? Please advise.


Posted by Steve on 12.08.03 - 14:10:09

I bought one of these and it works pretty well. I have lost the CD that has the driver and was hoping that someone would be willing to send me the driver. I have caled HP and they tell me it is not avaiable for download you have to call a number to purchase the CD. I call the number and they tell me that the CD in not available.

Talk about frustrating.



Posted by Flash on 25.08.03 - 23:09:05

I needed to be able to dial handsfree, but found it cumbersome to use the onscreen keyboard.  So, I bought one of these micro thumb keyboards to fix my dilemma.  I figured my Bluetooth enabled H5555 would send numbers to my Bluetooth Sony T610 and allow me to talk through my MicroTooth headset using only one thumb.  The unfortunate thing is that you have to still "tap-and-hold" on the screen in order to dial via bluetooth.  I tried pressing every key combination I could come up with, but I guess "tap-and-hold" was not an option on this keyboard.  So, I still have to use the touchscreen - which really sucks since now there is a smoked piece of plastic in the way.  Any idea on how I can fix this (besides throwing away the smoky plastic)?  Is there a special key sequence for tap-and-hold?

Posted by Sue Anderson on 17.02.04 - 04:18:30

I can't get my unit to work.  Didn't get the manual with it.  What settings do you have to do to enable this?  Do you have to turn any other settings off?

Posted by Bob on 13.07.05 - 01:47:48

Would this work with the hp rx3700 ? which series does the RX3700 belong to, im new to these things and dont know if a h3700 is same or similar to rx3700? I will be using mine in the feild with large data inputs all day..I need a better input device !!

Thanx for any help you can offer..

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