Hello there! I'm now the proud owner of a brand-new wireless portable keyboard, so I thought I would share my impressions with you folks that are still eagerly waiting. For a bit of background, I'm a college student at Western Washington University, using my devices for note taking and my passion of creative writing. I have a 5-ish year old laptop running Windows 7, a Jide Remix ultratablet (A clone of the Microsoft Surface, with better specs for price and running Android), and a BLU Life 8 XL smartphone. They're all devices that I'm quite happy with and would heartily recommend; the tablet and phone are little-known brands, so they're quite nice and lower price than comparable mainstream devices. I have been typing on the Colemak keyboard since I ordered my TextBlade, since I figured the new keyboard would be a good reason to switch--I was hoping to relearn how to type on Colemak alongside relearning how to type on my TextBlade, but as it is, I've got more than a year's worth of experience on Colemak and none on a TextBlade.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a TREG member, the keyboard I have is NOT a TextBlade (either a testing unit or the one I ordered in February of 2015), and no part of this is sponsored by WayTools. Mainly, I'm doing this as a parody and satire of WayTools and other TREG posts, because I got tired of waiting for my revolutionary new keyboard to descend from the heavens in a beam of light, and simply bought a MoKo folding keyboard off Amazon. I'll be reviewing the MoKo as if it's a shiny new TextBlade. For lack of a real one, I guess I'll have to close my eyes and pretend. I haven't canceled my TextBlade order, I've just decided that it's not worth waiting for--and frankly, I think that I should have taken that jump back at the start of this year. I plan to hand this MoKo keyboard down to my mother when I get my TextBlade, or re-sell the MoKo on eBay. I would suggest a similar approach for anyone else that's been Wayt-ing for a huge boon to their mobile productivity and typing capability.
Well, it finally happened! My new keyboard arrived in the mail after just a few days, so now I can share some of my impressions with you!
Here's what the box looks like--And I know, boring, we'll get on to the good stuff soon--but I was quite excited just to have my keyboard at last!
And here we have the keyboard all nice and pretty in its very high quality, carefully engineered packaging.
Have to block out that offer from WayTools--what a gift for their
Early Adopters! I was absolutely floored and amazed!
Here we have everything that was in the box, the manual, keyboard, and "nanocharger"
Moving on to the keyboard itself, we see that it's very small indeed! Just disappears under my 5.5" phone!
And now some close-ups of the "nanocharger" and "nanostand" (I did find it odd that the stand came separately, but I'm sure that will be worked out by the time of general release)
And I love the way the nanostand fits over and protects the keyboard! That's so cool!
The magnets are very nice, they hold it together very firmly, but not so much that I can't get it open. And once it's set up, it turns itself on and it's ready to go! (This is actually true--it has a magnetic clasp to hold it shut, and turns on or off based on whether it's unfolded or folded)
I also love how it's my first ever keyboard to be printed with a Colemak legend. That really sets it apart as a unique device, as if it weren't already. It also means that I'll be able to lend this to friends and family to have them practice typing on Colemak.
And of course, the app and onscreen display of what keys are where is very helpful and nice too. (No it's not, this doesn't have an app or onscreen display that goes with it)
Alright, it's now a few days since I got my new keyboard, so I'm ready to make some comments about the typing feel. I was quite pleased with how easy it was to get the hang of it, taking me about ten minutes before I could type with decent fluency. My main problem is the spacebar, which I kept missing at the start. Another unusual problem was that this keyboard, for whatever strange reason, has the O key (What would be the : for those of you still plinking away on QWERTY) slightly smaller than its neighbors, which makes it a bit harder to hit consistently.
I do like the feel, very quick and clicky. Not sure how much more I can describe it; I think the keys feel more like those on my tablet cover than my laptop, but that's alright.
there is a slight issue with lapability; really have to have a desk or something underneath this keyboard, though it's a bit more forgiving than I initially expected. It is nice that it takes up less space than my tablet's keyboard cover; means that I can fit it and my tablet on a too-small school desk more easily. (I only went to one class day with this keyboard, since it arrived well after my Wednesday class, I took it to class Thursday, and now it's Friday and I'm taking a weekend for a family vacation to the coast. However, there are some times where it's not worth the hassle of taking my keyboard cover off and using the MoKo--the bus ride home, and in the car with my family, for instance, where I was struggling to find enough stable lapdesk space for the tablet, let alone the tablet and a keyboard that folds in the middle. I was able to make it work by turning the keyboard case around backwards, but face it, that's really reducing the effectiveness of the whole setup. The MoKo isn't enough of a leap in key feel and ergonomics compared to the hassle of taking off the keyboard cover, turning it 180 degrees, snapping it back on (Magnetically), and then putting everything back down. It's just trying hard to make this MoKo prove its usefulness.
With my phone, though, it's a very different story. I haven't done it very much, since I like the screen size of my tablet, but realized that I could use my phone plus the keyboard and stand to make a small mobile office that I could keep entirely powered by my USB power banks and solar charger, so that's nice to know. The MoKo is MILES better than my onscreen keyboard, especially since 1, it doesn't cover that precious screen real estate on my phone, and 2, it doesn't try to second guess what I'm typing and change it AFTER I hit send on my texts and such. (My phone's auto "correct" has a nasty habit of doing that--it will show the message that I want to send, I hit "send", and a different and screwed up message sends to my friend. Being able to touchtype with two hands is also, obviously, a huge boon. And of course, Jumps makes it easy to switch back and forth between my tablet and my phone, that was a real treat to use.
(and by "Jumps" I mean having to turn off the keyboard, go into the menu on one device and turn off its bluetooth, turn on bluetooth on the other device, turn on the keyboard, and tell the second device to connect to it, taking about 30 to 45 seconds each way. And by "treat" I mean oh heck no, I'll just use the keyboard cover for my tablet and MoKo for my phone if I have to switch back and forth between which I'm using.)
Sadly, I wasn't able to get this keyboard to connect to my Win 7 laptop, since it doesn't have native Bluetooth support, and can't seem to find the drivers for the dongle that I have. It's doubly peculiar that my laptop can't seem to connect to bluetooth devices via the dongle, since I have not only installed software via the CD that came with the dongle, but I've also used another BT keyboard with the same laptop and same dongle and it worked just fine. I've even managed to connect my BT mouse and headphones to the laptop via the dongle at one point, and they worked fine. Then I suppose my computer installed updates, forgot how to use BT, and reinstalling from the CD hasn't helped. I was hoping that I would be able to put my laptop on an elevated stand for better ergonomics, while typing and mousing about wirelessly from a comfortable height for my arms. Seems that's not to be. I did briefly connect the MoKo to my mother's Win 10 laptop, which has built in bluetooth and the drivers for it. She didn't much care for the MoKo and didn't spend the time to get used to it, though she did muse about possibly switching to a different (I read "more sensible") keyboard layout at some point, and I assured her that I would provide her all the support and resources she might need to switch over to Colemak. (Frankly, I think that they should give every schoolkid a Colemak keyboard and lessons on how to use it. This layout is so much more efficient and comfortable, it should have become the standard as soon as it was invented and the concept proven.)
Not sure what more to say for now. I'll update this as events warrant.
10/20, entry 2
Hmm. How do I take pictures of my setup with my phone and tablet next to each other when those two devices are the only cameras I have? Perhaps I'll have to get clever with mirrors and such.
I had an idea strike last night as I was settling in to sleep, the way they do, and I was able to grab my phone and MoKo, set them up, and quickly jot down what the idea was before it fled. That was pure pleasure, being able to quickly get my thoughts written down without having to boot up my laptop or tablet, or fighting pencil and paper. (I'm left handed, which makes writing a chore, and I can never move my pencil as fast as my thoughts, making a frustrating bottleneck.)
I'm currently typing on the MoKo and phone, which is a nice combo. Still need something for lapability that's better than using a pillow or my tablet for a lapdesk. Will probably end up tucking a piece of cardboard or corrugated plastic into my everyday satchel. I do like how small the phone and keyboard combo is on my lap or table surface. I might have to use this setup more often, for class notes and writing.
10/25 back from vacation, and after two tries I was able to get this thing to connect to my laptop! This is a game changer, it means that I'll be able to work more ergonomically than ever before! This is great news! It also means that I'll be able to use the same keyboard on all my devices, which is great because it means consistency rather than shifting from keyboard to keyboard when I switch from device to device.