An Xperiamental keyboard

What’s that, an even smaller Sony computer than my VAIO P? No! It’s my Sony Xperia S mobile phone paired up with a Elecom TK-FBP029 bluetooth keyboard.

With its 1280 x 720 pixel screen and Android operating system the Xperia S makes for a decent and highly portable computer. However, I find the touch screen keyboards of mobile phones too inaccurate for substantial typing. There are also issues with the on screen keyboard using up a lot of screen space when accessing our corporate Outlook web mail site. So on my last trip to Japan I went in search of small keyboards that I could easily carry around with me.

Naturally there were plentiful iPad/iPhone compatible keyboards, but the Android selections were more limited. The keyboards were either too big or, in the case of the folding keyboards, too flimsy. I fell in love with the TK-FBP029 despite the packaging stating only that it was Apple compatible. Indeed, at first, I couldn’d get it to connect properly to my Xperia. Most of the bluetooth keyboards said they required Android 3.0 rather than the 2.3 the phone ran.

The keyboard did work with my Sony Tablet S running Ice Cream Sandwich, so I had hope that the upcoming rollout of ICS for the Xperia would fix the issue.

And it did! Switch on bluetooth on the phone, switch the keyboard on and wait to be asked to type in a four digit code. It took me a couple of goes, but I got it running pretty quickly.

The keyboard includes a combined cover/phone stand which unfortunately doesn’t stay upright when placed on a table. I suspect that you are supposed to hold it in your hands and type with your thumbs. The phone is not held securely by the cover. I’m not sure it it would work better with an iPhone.

The key action is quite nice, especially when compared with many of the other small keyboards I tried. The major issues are that numbers are only accessible in conjunction with the Alt key and the space bar is very small. But all in all I’m quite impressed and look forward to further real world testing.

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