Ever wish your iPhone 4 had a slider keyboard? The QWERTY Case will help you with that. It is a case for iPhone 4, but also a slide-out QWERTY keyboard which easily pairs over Bluetooth using wireless connectivity. Although We are not physical keyboard fans, but when we put our iPhone into this QWERTY case, the next thing we know there’s a real life, tactile QWERTY keyboard under our thumbs as we’re typing, texting, and maybe even sexting to our heart’s content. Read on to see what we like, and don’t like about this little keyboard case.
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Why It Matters
People with sausage fingers, women with longer fingernails, legacy Blackberry users, and people who prefer something tactile, would be amazed with the QWERTY Case. Virtual/On-screen keyboard may not be the quickest texting tool for iPhone users, the QWERTY Case essentially brings back the satisfying ‘click’ of a button under your thumb to let you know the iPhone is actually responding. And, at the size of an iPhone case, it’s one of the first to seriously test how well a physical keyboard really works with an iPhone. There’s a lot riding on this thing.
It works just like its introduction. It pairs with the iPhone over Bluetooth, making use of wireless connectivity. We thought it might take some time to connect the keyboard to the iPhone for our first try without reading any intructions, but everything turns out to be real easy… First step? Put the iPhone into the QWERTY Case, with a small push with your thumb. Next, swtich on the keyboard. There’s a button on the bottom of the QWERTY Case, just slide it to the right, and the thing is ready to roll out. And you MUST press another button once before going to the next step.
How to connect with the iPhone? On your iPhone, navigate to Settings > General > Bluetooth. At this step, our keyboard is on and discoverable. While the iPhone is looking for Bluetooth device, we are prompted to type in a “secret number” on our keyboard to finish the sync. We got the keyboard synced, and start typing.
There is no way to not feel like a total dorkface while typing on this thing. Maybe it’s just us, but we fail to see how a bunch of tiny physical keys on a keyboard are any better than the software keyboard on the iPhone. We like the idea of slide-out, the low-profile keyboard just slides out smoothly, allowing you to easily transition between the iPhone’s touch screen and a physical keyboard. The QWERTY case runs off its own lithium battery (and charges via its own mini-USB port), and has a separate on-off switch so you can conserve power when you’re actually, y’know, touching the screen for a reason. And, it works on any iPhone 4 (Verizon or AT&T).
It’s finished with a high-quality smooth coating making the case smooth to the touch, no glossy surface and fingerprints! The case just feels good in the hand and the rubberized exterior provides much needed grip. With the on/off switch, we can turn it on and off independently to help conserve battery power. Speaking of its weight, it is very light. While we are using this thing, we have two questions, does the iPhone still show the virtual keyboard on the screen when using the Bluetooth keyboard? Well, the on-screen keyboard disappears, and we gain more space on the screen!
And we wonder if the QWERTY case covers the iPhone’s camera lens. No! The device does not cover the camera lens, and we do not need to slide the keyboard to take pics! The best thing we like? Battery life. It is outstanding (the manufacturer claims 45 days; ours has been going for a week so far on a single charge).
This thing has a few drawbacks like additional depth that the keyboard would cast on your iPhone. Putting on the QWERTY Case to our iPhone triples the thickness of the phone, no kidding. It is significantly thicker than most modern sliders! Next, the mini-USB port. We are sad to see that the QWERTY case uses a mini-USB port for charging instead of a micro-USB port, which is essentially an industry standard at this point. It’s not a huge deal on the surface, but it means users now have to carry yet another charger instead of having an existing charger pull double duty. At this point, our gadget charger list consists of 13 different chargers…
And here’s the thing we dislike most — the layout of the keyboard. The QWERTY case sports a Nokia-like layout that positions keys in aligned columns rather than staggering them as a keyboard should. It also positions the space key off to the right instead of in the center of the board, which is something that should never, ever be done. The awkward space bar placement caused us to type multiple words without spaces… Maybe there are some people who won’t mind the peculiar placement of the space key, however, so this is hardly a deal breaker in many cases. The tiny physical keys are irritaing too. Our fingers sometimes hit two of the tiny keys at once, we could barely make it through a word on the QWERTY Case without mistakes, so the idea of trying to compose complete sentences became daunting, and writing even a single paragraph efficiently was all but impossible. While we thought of reproducing the sample text we typed using the keyboard, it was so indecipherable that there would be no point; the iPhone’s integrated auto-correction system was all that saved the input from being completely unusable. One more thing, the top row of the keyboard is a bit close to the edge of the phone, so we need to enter those digits with caution. Damn.
One of our friends said, “The texting is just so much quicker for me with one!”. Okay, we think the slide-out is a great idea for those who love their iPhones and also want a physical keyboard. With the keyboard, typing may be easier for e-mails, blogging, web browsing, calendar or notes on the iPhone. However, we wish the physical keys could be bigger, and iOS dedicated function keys should be included, maybe a control key for cutting and pasting? Anyway, with this QWERTY case, our iPhone 4 could pretend as a Droid, a Blackberry, or any other slider phones out there. For just $25.90, it’s worth a try to type and text on your iPhone with a mini size real keyboard attached to the phone as a case.
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