I'm loving this thing so far. I take it with me everywhere. I'm surprised to find myself using it often with my iPhone 6s in vertical orientation and treating my iPhone like a miniature PC. It almost makes me want to switch to the Plus. I've also been using it quite a bit with a retina iPad Mini, a retina MacBook Pro 13", and a Windows 10 desktop. I also tried it briefly with an Android LG G4.
One fun configuration is to put my iPhone in the WayTools stand in vertical orientation side-by-side with the iPad Mini in landscape, propped up by the Smart Cover. The angle of both devices is identical, allowing me to use the iPhone as a "second monitor" to the iPad Mini. The heights are about the same, making it look like it was meant to be. With jumps, it's pretty easy to switch between the two.
Another fun configuration is to lay the TextBlade on top of the MacBook Pro keyboard, as shown by wmertens. It works without needing to put anything between the TextBlade and the keys it's resting on (I don't even bother turning off the laptop keyboard), and visually it's a reminder of just how much extra space your hands need to dance over on a standard sized keyboard. The TextBlade is about a third of the surface area of a full size laptop keyboard. That's pretty amazing given that the TextBlade still has full-size spacing between keys.
At work I wear khakis that have a secondary inner pocket inside the right pocket. I use that for my iPhone, and beside it (outside the inner pocket) the TextBlade fits nicely without shifting around much, held in place by the iPhone beside it, and it doesn't look awkward or lumpy from the outside.
When wearing jeans, it's a bit more awkward. The TextBlade does not fit nicely in the small jeans pocket the way it's shown in the demo video. It fits, but it sticks up too far to be practical. Putting it in the main front pocket works, but it keeps wanting to rotate from vertical to horizontal as I walk. Putting it in the same pocket as my phone helps a bit. I'm seriously thinking about attaching magnets or steel dots in my pockets to keep the TextBlade vertically aligned the way I want, without shifting around. Or maybe sewing an inner TextBlade-sized pocket. But magnets would be cooler, and easier to use. Airport security could be an issue though.
Like others, I'm still dealing with my pinkies tending to drifter lower on the keys, most likely due to their familiarity with typing on a straight non-ergonomic keyboard. The physical cues between key areas isn't quite prominent enough to keep me centered.
Even after months of practice on wmertens' Karabiner map, I'm still sending text messages prematurely due to hitting Enter instead of '. Additionally, due to the sagging pinky issue, I'm also sending when I meant to hit backspace which wasn't an issue before.
When I'm aware that I'm starting to drift, or when I want to be extra sure I don't hit the wrong key with my pinkies, I find myself reaching for the upper and lower outer corners of the keys to orient myself (tab, backspace, and shifts) because these are the easiest and most obvious to feel.
The more I use this device, the more impressed I am at the many thoughtful design decisions that went into it. One small example is that the NanoCharger is partially held into its storage slot in the SpaceBlade by a magnet. You notice this when you put it back in and it's automatically pulled part way into the slot. Another example is the way the left and right blades fully align with each other in their packed configuration due to the magnets. I wish the SpaceBlade auto-aligned too, but it's fine. As others noted, you'll want to stack the SpaceBlade with the metal side out since that allows you to separate it from the pack more easily.
I've been working on my quick-draw assembly and disassembly. It's just a bit awkward to pull the blades out of the stand, but not excessively so. Putting it in the stand steel side down helps because it reduces the friction. Fanning the blades is the easiest way to separate them, and lends a dramatic flair to demos. Joining the left and right blades together works best if they're already lying on a flat surface, otherwise the alignment notches can (ironically) keep them from aligning properly. Then slide them down to the SpaceBlade which auto-aligns.
The quickest way to pack it back up again while ensuring all the metal contacts are facing the same direction is to fold the right blade over the left blade, fold these down over the SpaceBlade, and slide to align. Fold, fold, slide. Then insert the end with the contacts into the stand so it protects the contacts. In another thoughtful design touch, this end is also where the NanoCharger is stored, preventing it from coming out of the SpaceBlade when it's in the stand.
However, that technique doesn't result in the quickest unfolding, which matters more to me. So I'm now using the following technique. Using both hands, fold the left and right blades upward to meet in the middle, then rotate them toward you which helps separate them from the SpaceBlade without requiring pulling. Then fold them down to the left across the SpaceBlade, with the lower magetic contacts facing you. Slide to align. The only difference in the result is that the magnetic contacts face toward you instead of away from you. Place the stand to the right and slide it over the ends, protecting the magnetic contacts. Note that this keeps the steel side down, making it easier to slide.
Now to put everything back together, ensure that you start with the stand facing to the right, and slide it off. If you've packed it correctly, this means that the SpaceBlade will already be in the proper orientation. Place the thumb of your right hand near the left end of the bottom edge of the SpaceBlade. With the fingers of your right hand curling over the top, go through a two-phase fanning process, first sliding the top two pieces off the SpaceBlade, and then keep pushing with your thumb to fan the left and right blades apart. Now you can grab the left blade with your left hand, finish unfolding with both hands (the left and right blades will tend to stay together in the middle), drop it to the table, and if you do it right, all three blades come together approximately at once.
I realize my description of this process sounds trivial and a bit obsessive, but it's vital that it can be done quickly and mechanically without thinking or fumbling, otherwise it's not going to get used as much as I'd like. That's part of the reason I'd like it to be easier to pull the stand on and off. It's just enough of a psychological speed bump to make me think twice about pulling out the TextBlade.
I love love love the layers for navigation, selection, media, mod keys, and green layers. It's almost like having Vim with you everywhere you go. I've been using wmertens' Karabiner layout for months, so all of these come naturally to me. If you want a big head start in taking full advantage of TextBlade's power, I highly recommend using the Karabiner mapping.
At first I had issues using jumps consistently. I'd press the jump key-pair and it would sometimes work but often not, typing two characters instead. Eventually I figured out you have to hold the jump key-pairs for a short duration, I think Mark said 300ms. This is to prevent accidental jumps when you're typing quickly. Once I figured this out I haven't had any issues since.
One short-term frustration is the inability to assign different OS navigation layers to different jumps. The TextBlade configuration app makes it look like you should be able to do this, but it's not implemented yet. So when I switch from say iOS to Windows, I need to remember not to use the navigation features, otherwise it will send weird commands that activate random things in the OS. If I reload the keymap into the TextBlade using the configuration app it will ask which OS I want to use it with, allowing me to choose Windows, but that's too much of a hassle to do each time I switch to another OS. It will be great to have the ability to assign different maps and OS configurations to jumps.
As others have noted, even the packaging shows off the WayTools engineering talent. Inside the bubble wrap package used for shipping is a quad triangle truss configuration made from PLA corn-based plastic that supposedly composts in 3 months. The trusses have rails that hold the box and accessories pack in place. It's really quite clever in its simplicity.
The box is rigid (try twisting it) yet light. It has a premium feel. Mark implied it's even better than Apple packaging, both in terms of quality and environmental friendliness. The paper is from Finland and the US and is laminated together. The box texture comes from France. There's no need to wrap the product in plastic that must then be removed. The steel plate (which costs less than the rest of the box materials) holds the TextBlade in place, so you just lift it out of its cradle and it's ready to go.
The initial experience from unboxing to first use went very smoothly and quickly. Open the box, lift the TextBlade out, assemble the blades. Open Bluetooth on my phone, tell it to pair with the TextBlade, type the displayed numeric pairing code, hit enter, and I'm fully up and running. When pairing there's no need to activate the green layer to type numbers, you can just press the numbers directly.
One of the first things that surprised me is that the left and right blades are flexible. You'll notice this right away as you peel them off the SpaceBlade for the first time, because they're attached to the bottom of the SpaceBlade which results in a stronger magnetic force. As others have noted, you'll want to pack the blades back together on the plastic side of the SpaceBlade to make them easier to separate.
You can stick the TextBlade to the fridge and type on it. The left and right blades attach much more strongly than the SpaceBlade. To remove, take the SpaceBlade off first, then pry the left and right blades off starting at the center metal section. If you start from the outer edges, you might pop a key off. Keys don't pull off directly, they twist off.
I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say, but I'm typing this on my second TextBlade. The first one worked, but within 24 hours I started experiencing issues. About a day and a half after I first started reporting issues a second TextBlade arrived here in Alaska and I haven't had any issues since. I shipped the first one back for them to analyze. Yes, mine was the one WayTools described where one of my kids was playing around with docking and undocking with the magnets misaligned in weird configurations. I've loaded the latest OTA update today which contains a fix for that. Not sure I want to turn the kids loose on it again though, I've already come to rely on it too much to risk it.