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Tablet Computer Keyboard

March 19, 2012

Hallelujah.  Rejoice.  Crack open a beer and place a party hat jauntily atop your head.  Good news.  I’ve just realised that I can attach a proper keyboard to the tablet using USB.  Suddenly, I can type long paragraphs as quickly as I want to.  The set-up isn’t exactly elegant, but it works:


The touchscreen keyboard is fine.  It takes a bit of getting used to, but after you’ve got the hang of it, it works pretty well.  But not perfectly.  It’s certainly nowhere near as good as a ‘real’, tactile keyboard.  I think the problem is that the tablet is so small and portable that if you’re sitting anywhere other than at a desk, it moves around.  So if it’s balanced on your knees – on a train for example – then even if the tablet moves just slightly, your finger will aim for ‘a’ and hit ‘s’.  This means that you’re constantly having to correct typos.  Which is really frustrating:

On a PC, if you want to go back through your work to correct a typo, then you can use the mouse to click next to the misspelled word, and change it.  Or you can use the arrow keys to navigate backwards or up on the page to correct the mistake.  The tablet can’t do either of these things.  I find the touchscreen completely inadequate here. It often takes several attempts for the cursor to appear where I touched.  Mostly, the tablet will register a touch on the line below or above the one I’m aiming for.  It’s not like I have huge fat fingers (they are slender and delightful though I say so myself): the tablet just doesn’t seem accurate enough.

Which is why having a USB keyboard has really improved the tablet.  I can now type away without the frustration of having to spend 30 seconds or more correcting every individual typo.  But when you think about it, the fact that adding an external keyboard improves the tablet so much doesn’t really sound like a huge endorsement for the tab.  “Wow, it’s so improvable!” isn’t exactly a winning slogan.

Take the party hat off.  I rejoiced too soon.


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