Typo iPhone Keyboard Case Preview

January 7, 2014 12:37 AM PST / Updated: January 7, 2014 12:50 PM PST
LAS VEGAS

If an all-touch screen smartphone has never matched the
speed nor dampened the satisfaction of a well-executed QWERTY keyboard
beneath your fingertips, then the Typo Keyboard Case for your
iPhone 5
or
iPhone 5S
might very well be the best $100 you’ve ever spent on a cell phone accessory.

Designed to look just like the
iconic BlackBerry keyboard
with its ridged keys (yes,
Typo’s been sued
) this plastic slip-on case proposes to join the best of both worlds.

All the keyboard trappings are there, and an extra button on the
bottom right helps you navigate the iPhone’s screen while the QWERTY
obstructs the home button. It worked well and is easy to get the hang
of.

Typing, however, wasn’t as easy to get used to right away. I have
fond memories of fingers flying on BlackBerry’s best-in-class keyboard,
but using Typo felt different. That’s partly because the keyboard isn’t
solidly attached to the rest of the phone body, and perhaps partly
because its width extends slightly beyond the iPhone’s narrow borders.

Typo Keyboard Case: Hands-on with case that turns your iPhone…
See full gallery
Typo iPhone Keyboard CaseTypo iPhone Keyboard Case
Typo iPhone Keyboard Case

Total proficiency is something that would probably come after a few

days acquainting yourself with the case’s dimensions. Jonathan Goodrich,
Typo’s chief technology officer, says he rates about 70 words per
minute.

Getting the words to appear on the screen doesn’t happen by magic. A
Bluetooth connection helps translate input from the QWERTY type pad to
the iPhone’s screen. The case was clearly made with some usability
considerations, like the dovetailed top and bottom halves that slide
snugly together, and the generous cutouts that leave ample room for the
phone’s controls, switches, and ports.

The underside of the case looks a little bizarre because of this open
channel leading to the charger; another option would have been to build
in extra ports through the case. At this point, though, there’s no
electrical connection to make the two devices simpatico. In fact, Typo
even has its own Micro-USB charging port, though the device should last
between 7 and 10 days on a single charge.

Typo’s Keyboard Case for iPhone 5 and 5S rips the iconic BlackBerry keyboard.
Sarah Tew/CNET

For my money, $100 is a lot to spend on a case I have to learn to use, but witha dearth of QWERTY alternatives at our collective fingertips, this one
is at least a viable choice.

– CNET

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