Hi, I, too, am a new TREG tester, quite late into the game compared to other TREG participants. I put in my order for a TextBlade on Jan. 24, 2015, and received my TREG TextBlade about a week ago. I wasn’t able to do much practice over the weekend, but have tried to get a good feel for the device over the last few days.
A little bit about me: I’m 71, a retired newspaper reporter who started using keyboards for work in the early 1970s, when my primary work tool was a manual Royal typewriter. Since then, in addition to journalism, I’ve written novels and biographies. I’ve never been a blazingly fast typist, except when I was facing a daily deadline.
Since I’m a bit of a gadget freak, over the years I tried a number of portable keyboards, but never found one that satisfied me. Now I have.
My experiences with the TextBlade, not surprisingly, do not differ much from what other testers have written. Yes, the diminutive size of the keyboard is incredible, yes, the key feel is fabulous, yes, the construction is first rate. No surprises there for me. After a few great reviews from TREG testers, I was sure this was a remarkable device and that I would love it. My only real concern was how difficult it would be to transition from a regular keyboard to touch typing on the TextBlade.
Here’s what I found. Out of the box, speed and accuracy weren’t awful, but I could tell that it would be a bit of a challenge to achieve the proficiency I had on a regular keyboard.
I’m not there quite yet, but the learning has been progressing faster than I thought it would. As I have practiced, I have focused on using learning shortcuts, most gleaned from other testers.
Tip No. 1: Make sure your fingers are placed correctly in the home-row wells. If the typing is not up to snuff, refocus on this. Tip No. 2: Watch your fingers as they strike the keys to see if they are striking correctly. Tip No. 3: Think to yourself that the key reaches will be short, compared to what you are used to.
Overall, the idea of this learning process is to start with conscious, focused strokes that will transition into automatic strokes.
This is already started working for me, though I still have to go back and forth from focused to automatic.
Specific issues: Yes, the P key is a problem. The reach to that seems to be significantly different from the reach I am used to. So I focus on that reach to make sure it is correct. As some other testers noted, the A key can also be a problem. The solution is to make sure the pinky is correctly placed in the “A” finger well.
A general comment: Several testers have said they do not want to go back to regular keyboards having used the TextBlade. I probably will get to that point, too. But for now, I am comforted by those who say that transitioning back to a regular keyboard—or switching between a regular keyboard and a TextBlade—isn’t that difficult. I actually ordered spare TextBlades a long time ago, for a number of reasons. I wanted to give some as gifts, for instance. But I also didn’t want to get caught in a situation where I lost or damaged my TextBlade and was stuck with an old keyboard on which I had “forgotten” how to type.
Finally, there has been a recent thread about how each user stows the TextBlade. When I ordered mine—yes, more than 3 years ago—I ordered a Waterfield Designs Finn wallet, Compact Size (4.5-X- 3). While it isn’t as sleek as some other cases for the device, I like the wallet, which gives me room to stow a folded 3-X-5 card for notes on what devices I have assigned to my jump slots, as well as a spare nanocharger, which I can keep charged up for use when my in-use nanocharger runs down. The wallet isn’t cheap at $59, but it is elegant.
In sum: Great keyboard. Like all of you, I hope General Release comes soon.