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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 14038x
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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

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