Sunday, 6 March 2011

Review of ThinkGeek's TK-421 iPhone Keyboard Case

I'm a little late at posting this review. But better late then never.

Today I am talking about the good and the bad of the ThinkGeek TK-421 iPhone Keyboard Case for the 3GS and 4G.

I ordered my TK-421 iPhone Case for the 3GS the first day it was available. Shipping to Canada was quick and painless, it arrived about 3 days after I ordered it.

First Looks: The Good, sorry ThinkGeek, I can't really say much here... The bad, the TK-421 is made entirely out of a flat finish plastic. This makes holding the case a little slippery. A rubberized back on the keyboard would have made it more ergonomic. The hinge itself felt a little flimsy right out of the box, and when you slide the keyboard in and out, it slightly rubs up against the back of the case. The case locks open and closes in place using magnets. The weight of the phone is pretty unbalanced when you have the keyboard open. The screen cannot be angled or adjusted to different viewing angles when using the keyboard. The keyboard itself also adds about double the thickness to the phone. Not very comfortable when in your pocket or holding it as a phone.

Functionality: On the good side. It was very easy to setup the keyboard. You turn it on, search for the device using your iPhone, and when pairing,the phone displays the pairing key to type on the keyboard to pair the device. The keyboard is very responsive with no visible lag at all and the phone always picked up the bluetooth keyboard when switched on. Battery life on the keyboard was pretty reliable, I would always charge it the same time I charged the phone. The Bad side, ThinkGeek supplies a very short, mini USB cable to charge the case. There is no wall outlet charger included. Using the keyboard is a bit awkward. It appears the way Apple has designed the bluetooth stack is that if a Bluetooth keyboard is connected, the on-screen keyboard won't be displayed. This can be a problem if you just quickly need to respond to a text message without having to flip out the keyboard and rotate the phone. The power switch on the case is quite stiff and in a hard to reach position. I had to use a pen just to get mine to switch on or off. After a few flicks on and off it loosens up but its still in a hard to reach place. Sometimes when flipping out the keyboard, the iPhone screen does not rotate as expected. My main issue with this keyboard was the layout of the keys. Since the keys are not staggered like a normal keyboard, getting used to typing without looking at the keys will take some time to get used to. In addition to that, there are some keys placed in spots not standard to other keyboards. Example, backspace key next to the space bar?? It would have been much simpler to learn to use if they had used a keyboard with a standard layout. In addition, the hole for the camera is covered up by the keyboard when its closed. You need to flip out the keyboard in order to take photos with your iPhone.

Final Thoughts: If you REALLY need a keyboard for your iPhone 3Gs or 4G, this is pretty much your only option. However, I must say that I was not impressed with this case at all. I gave it a month but still could not get myself to find this as a useful product. It seems like this case was hyped up everywhere. Numerous blogs and newspapers started chattering about this case months before it was available for sale. ThinkGeek really ramped up the marketing on this case, but I believe it's failed to deliver.

Written By: Amardeep Juneja