Flexis FX100 Keyboard for Smartphone Â£49.99 from www.orangesp.com
Tested on – HTC Tanager (Smart Amazing OS 220.127.116.11)
Well, here it is – the Flexis FX100 keyboard from Orangesp.com. I’m going to attempt to write this entire review on the keyboard – I guess by the end of it I will either love or hate it! :) As you can see, there is no in-built stand like the Eleksen Orange keyboard, but this is a cool piece of kit. It’s water-proof, pocket sized and durable. What kit is it exactly ? Well, it’s a Flexis FX100, made by Flexis Corp and is distributed by Orangesp.com here in the UK. A little note here – this isn’t a “new product” or one that has just been released to ride on the back of the Smartphone’s success, this keyboard has been available from www.man-machine.com in the States and works with the Palm, Pocket PC and the BlackBerry among others. It’s a solid proven product and has already received lots of awards – check the man-machine.com website out if you don’t believe me!
Orangesp.com will be distributing it here. The plug has been altered specifically for the Smartphone by Orangesp.com and they have done a lot of testing into this kit before distributing it on the Smartphone.
How am I using it? Well, at the moment it is currently sitting on a magazine and it’s a dream to use. A major bonus with this keyboard is the fact that key presses are very definite and solid. For example, I have turned the keypad “bleep” OFF and yet I can still type fine. This entire review is going to be written in an email, then I’ll post it home (I’m in the middle of a field right now).
First impressions ? Small.. Very small – not in a bad way though, it’s about the size of my hand, but it’s very usable. Put it this way – compared to typing with the SmartPhone keypad, it’s bloody brilliant! As you can see, it’s a nice blue and white colour and is delivered folder-up, so you can see how flexible it is from the word go. It’s almost like a rubber glove! :)
OK, the bits I’ve noticed. The Flexis keyboard uses the iPaq driver. This allows you to use nearly every aspect of the phone – yes nearly. Because the keyboard wasn’t specifically designed for the phone there are a few things missing – no soft keys being one, so you have to switch back to the phone. This isn’t major really. Another minor quible is the fact that you have to tell the backlight to stay on permanently. Again this isn’t major.
You will also find that you have to change to “123” mode to type number – having it in “abc” mode won’t do it. These issues can be rectified with a purpose-built driver for the Smartphone – as yet this doesn’t exist, but one will no doubt appear soon.
There is some wicked stuff you can do with this keyboard – aside from the Copy and Paste – which is brilliant for grabbing webpage addresses and putting them in emails etc, you will also find cool shortcuts, such as FN+RIGHT – which acts like EOL / Page down. I’m convinced that somewhere is a shortcut key combo for the soft keys too. You can return to the home screen at any time with the “Menu” button, plus the special “i” button gets you to the web browser in one click. Below you should just be able to see me doing a “copy and paste” in an SMS / Email message. You can see the logo in the top-right that says, “FX100” – this is the driver sitting in the background doing its stuff.
As for that driver – it comes on CD and is installed via ActiveSync or you can copy it across yourself if you’re more hardcore. :) The driver, once executed via your Smartphone, runs in the system tray – similar to programs like IA Caller ID. In this way it’s always ready for you to plug and go. The driver is not App Certified, and after testing it on a Smart Amazing Phone with no special updates I can confirm that the driver works fine.
To sum up ? It’s a tried and tested keyboard – excellent design, very strong and definite key presses and a tough wipe-clean surface. The keys themselves are well spaced out and ergonomic. You can see a comparison in size in the piccy below..
The size of the keyboard is amazing, plus the pouch is extremely funky, so I can see people from all walks of life using it, from rock-climbers sending a note along with some pictures, campers sending a long email home all the way to businessmen quickly making a calendar note or writing a report out whilst on the tube then emailing it to the office.
Also with the keyboard is a case, so you can keep it nice and clean – ready for action. It comes with a velcro fixing so you can rip it open and get typing quickly. It also has a “click hook” which makes it very easy to connect to bags, belts, loops or cords.
So what do I think? Well..
Compact, sleek, no need for a laptop, or even a lap!! Type on one leg if you want!!
Definite key “clicks” – no need to keep checking the screen to see what you typed.
Wipe-down surface, keeps it looking new all the time
Very durable – Bends and rolls into a very tight curl.
Tiny pouch holster – this is of excellent quality.
Easy to install driver – ensure your Smartphone is unlocked. Tested on SPV (HTC Canary) and SPV E100 (Tanager) on Orange / Smart Amazing Phone.
Ideally needs Smartphone-specific driver to enable backlight / shortcut keys
Where do I get one?You can purchase one of these wicked keyboards from www.orangesp.com for a mere Â£49.99 here in the UK ($79.91 US) with FREE delivery (UK) – simply click here to get more info or buy one.
News! Check out this new BLACK version on www.orangesp.com !
Some pics on this page courtesy of www.pdamed.dk