Saturday, May 1, 2004

The Targus Universal wireless keyboard

PRODUCT REVIEW

By James Booth

I have recently been on a pilgrimage to find a keyboard for my new Palm Tungsten T2. I considered the Palm IR wireless keyboard, shown in Figure A (see http://store.palmone.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1387252) and the Targus Universal wireless keyboard (see http://www.targus.com/us/product_details.asp?sku=pa870u) as my two primary candidates.

FIGURE A

The Palm IR wireless keyboard lacks dedicated number keys. (click for larger image)

I had formerly used a Targus Stowaway keyboard with my Visor Platinum, but really didn't consider this style of keyboard as it runs off of the PDA's battery and I was concerned it would drain the battery too fast. I ended up choosing the Targus wireless model, shown in Figure B because it offered some features that the Palm model didn't, such as dedicated number keys, hard button controls, and an 8-way Navigator button.

FIGURE B

The Targus Universal wireless keyboard seems like a good choice. (click for larger image)

The Targus model is also an inch and a half larger than the Palm, which was very important, as I need a full-size keyboard for touch typing.


"Well, I'm afraid they failed miserably."

Preview

The Targus Universal wireless keyboard is a battery powered, IR connected keyboard for use with most Palm OS PDAs and Pocket PCs. The IR sensor is positioned on a rotating arm to ensure a connection no matter where the IR sensor on your device is located. As stated, it has the four hard buttons located on PDA devices, the 8-way Navigator for cursor movement, and various and sundry other function keys. Targus claims the keyboard also fits the definition parameters of a full-size keyboard.

The good

Would you like to know the best thing about the Targus Universal wireless keyboard? Of course you would, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this. The best thing is how fast it got here. I ordered it at 8:30pm one night and it was here at 10:30am the next day. Now admittedly, I did choose overnight shipping, but I expected a one-day delay because of how late I ordered. So I was impressed with how fast my order was filled.

The rotating arm seems to be a good feature. It allows you to position your device in either a portrait or landscape position without the use of mirrors. I also found the response of the IR connection to be quite acceptable. As far as I could tell, it was instantaneous. I couldn't detect any delay in processing at all.

Another relatively small, but important feature that has a very large effect on the use of the keyboard is the hinge lock. It's amazing how many folding keyboards are lacking this tiny, but vital, feature. But the Targus Universal wireless has a hinge lock.