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Review of the Freedom Keyboard Bluetotoh keyboard

Review by Michael Oryl on Friday July 08, 2005.

bluetooth / wireless reviews · bluetooth / wireless news · michael oryl

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The Freedom Keyboard from Freedom Input is the most unique of the 3 keyboards in our test for a number of reasons. For one, it is the only keyboard that sports 5 rows of keys, meaning that no special function key is required to access numbers. The Freedom Keyboard looks something like a very large clamshell phone when closed, and when opened requires that the left half of the keyboard be manually slid over to the right in order to join up with the rest of the keys. There is another sliding mechanism that is used to lock the keyboard into its open position, but it is not effective enough to keep the keyboard straight if you try to use it on your lap or while resting on a book. The pull-out device stand is almost centered on the keyboard, which is good, but is otherwise of a relatively poor design. Its rubber ridges proved incapable to holding some of the test phones, which basically resulted in a single viewing angle being available with those devices.

The Freedom Keyboard is both the heaviest keyboard in our test at 205g (7.22oz) with batteries, and the largest of the three keyboards. It measures 143mm x 96mm x 21mm (5.63" x 3.78" x .83") when closed, and measures a full 280mm (11") wide when opened. Considering its physical size, it seems a bit odd that it also wastes the most space in its design: nearly 53mm (2.1") of combined space on either side of the keys goes unused while using keys that are narrower than those of the Stowaway keyboard or a standard PC keyboard. The only thing that is located in this otherwise unused space is a real sliding power switch and the status LED that accompanies it.

In order to get the fifth row of keys into the keyboard, a compromise had to be made when it came to the height of the keys. So while the alphabetic keys are 16mm wide, they are only 13mm tall. While this would seem to be a real problem, it is less so than you might imagine after a minute or two of using the keyboard. For me, at least, it seemed easier to adapt to shorter keys than it was to adapt to narrow keys (such as those on the Nokia SU-8W). What I did not adapt to as well, though, were the small auxiliary keys on the keyboard, such as enter, backspace, and the shift keys.

I ran the supplied drivers on two Series 60 devices; a Nokia 6682 that runs S60 Second Edition, and a NGage QD running the original version of S60. The keyboard functioned fine with both devices, with no differences in operation between the two handsets that I could see.


About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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