FIRST IMPRESSIONS FROM A NEW TREGGER
I received my TREG unit today and wanted to leave a few impressions here.
First thing's first. Over my long almost 19 month wait, I would skim these forums and I would looked at each post with a secret agenda: is this thing real? YES. It is a real product with a quality build, innovative concept, and a lot of thought and craftsmanship put into every detail both in terms of hardware and internal algorithms/behavior. Will it ship? I've always appreciated the forum members who analyze the updates (and the silences) far more deeply than I have energy for so I will defer to them, but I have no reason to think it will fail, and ever since TREG began I became into an optimist on that question (and instantly ordered a 2nd). I'll save my opinions on when I think it should or should have shipped, and any business discussions in general, for other posts.
Now on to my impressions. It arrived well packaged and elegantly presented. The two key blades were more flexible/bendable than expected which was disconcerting at first touch. After assembling, pairing was simple.
As soon as I started typing I was instantly sold. Within a couple of sentences I was comfortable with it and within a few minutes my basic typing was close to normal speed. I was able to type comfortably without looking at the keys and my fingers were usually aware of any occasional mistake that I needed to back up and erase. During my call with Mark he mentioned that most people are not so lucky with the learning curve. I don't know whether I'm lucky or have a secret but I'll say that my fingers rely a lot on the key wells and ridges and they seemed perfectly placed & shaped to let you know where you are and should be at all times. Also, if you know what kinds of things that type ahead/autocorrect will take care of you can blast right through those for an additional boost. My only persistent error that survives autocorrect is sometimes hitting "." instead of L which is probably due to the angle.
The mechanical feel of the keys are a joy! The travel distance, sound, and bounce back give it a scrumptious feel, and the big eight-letter keys don't tilt or rock which would have been disconcerting. So my first impression was that this product is even better than I ever expected.
My second impression took it to another level for these reasons:
- Instead of being a hassle to set up or break down which I expected to put up with because of the amazing portability, I found it easier than other portable keyboards. Watch the oragmi video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc503bzuSPg to learn the simple quick technique. I started a previous thread on this forum asking when it's "worth it" to take out your textblade and this ease and fun of set up and breakdown lowers that threshold quite a bit.
- Instead of being a pretty good keyboard that would help me achieve portability and a mobile lifestyle it is a great keyboard that I prefer to use INSTEAD OF my native keyboards, including full size keyboards
- The built-in editing features let you leave your fingers on the keyboard instead of using your touch screen. This is empowering because all of the sudden editing documents/spreadsheets on your iPad or even iPhone becomes comparable or even superior to the laptop/desktop experience. Once again instead of being something pretty good in exchange for portability it is something paradigm changing. I expect that even on my laptop I'll soon switch to using keyboard instead of trackpad for all editing motions except for smoothly scrolling through a document to read and review (hard to beat the two finger trackpad scroll gesture for that)
- Jumps are natural quick and intuitive. Bluetooth is notoriously finicky and I always have the problem of connecting to the wrong device. I thought Textblade would help with that and I was right. But INSTEAD of just being that solution the good implementation became paradigm shifting and empowering. Ever have 2-3 keyboards on your work desk? Or put up with the onscreen keyboards just to save space? Now instead at my home desk I have just the textblade (which sits on top of my unused laptop keyboard) and a bunch of screens. Jumping is so natural it almost feels like whichever way my eyes are looking that is where my input is going. TIP: program your jumps to be physically oriented in the direction of where you typically keep that device. A jump on the right side for a right hand screen, middle for primary, and left for a left hand device.
- This keyboard is a computer. It can take your gestures/commands as "intent" and adapt accordingly based on context. So commands like computer wide search, app switching, big editing gestures that might be different in different environments are things you can learn once and let the Textblade send the proper code no matter what device you are on. Unlike any other keyboard this can improve and adapt through software updates and my own manual configurations. I have one particular work application that will require a lot of custom key mapping and I'm eager to set that up and have it automatically associated with a jump, all as part of the same keyboard that I use for everything else. Being a computer allows some really nice touches such as how it responds contextually to the timing of your key presses (tap, press for a bit, or hold).
- Cross platform macros are a joy. You set it up once and it's with you on every device you use. Combine all of this with the portability and the Textblade becomes an extension of your hand that goes with you everywhere.
- Battery life. I don't expect it to last anywhere near a month of heavy use. More like 2 weeks max, with wanting to charge slightly more often to avoid taking a chance. I haven't tested this. I hope there's a warning at 10% so I can just charge it the next break and never be left in the lurch.
- Durability & MTBF. Unknown. It seems sturdy with a quality build. But how dependent is it on the hardware staying exactly in tune? If the hardware sensitivities drift over time will that throw off the algorithms?
- How much do I need to be concerned about dirt/spills/beating it up? Again I wonder whether there are delicate internal tolerances that must be maintained. It gives the impression of being quite durable so I'll treat it as part of my normal family of devices (which is to say I am not necessarily gentle with any of them).
This arrived at a particularly busy time for me and I don't have time for a long posting. But it turns out I wrote one anyway. The fact that this is paradigm shifting instead of just mobile and convenient is that exciting. Apologies in advance if I don't respond quickly to questions/comments/trolling but I will in general stay part of this community and forum. Finally I know what it's like to be a silent majority WAITer vs a happy TREGger and I will try to be as helpful as I can to keep others informed about my impressions with the product and the company.