OK, first up I’ll apologize for the title. Anyone who knows me understands the sick nature of my mind with regards to a play on words and/or puns. Ahem… there, I feel better now.
This blog is about my ongoing adventure in mobile computing, as well as some of the more interesting and/or useful (or not) devices encountered along the way. A few days ago I did a piece on the Actiontec ScreenBeam Pro, which has been in constant use since then.
Today is my second day with two new Bluetooth peripherals, the Microsoft Wedge Mobile keyboard, and the Microsoft Wedge Touch mouse.
I am enamored with the idea of one day pulling my device from my pocket or pouch, plugging it in to a HDMI/USB stand, or just using wireless for the large display/keyboard/mouse for my entire work day. All my messaging, CRM, document creation, web sessions etc in my hand and on my desk is my goal.
I’m a step closer today.
Normally I’d pull my laptop out the minute I got home. I have not used it at home for two days since the purchase of these two peripherals. Partly as a test, and partly because I haven’t needed to. I am now creating this blog and uploading the photos entirely with my BlackBerry Passport along with the Microsoft keyboard and mouse.
Let’s dive in with a first look/overview…
The devices feel very well built. The brushed aluminum looks great, actually classy to be honest. The keyboard is compact to be sure, but the keys are of a reasonably good size so as not to make too many errors. That’s not to say I haven’t made my fair share of mistakes though. My hands and fingers seem to be trained still for the size and spacing of my Lenovo laptop. No worries, just something to get used to. The keys themselves are nice to use (for me). Just the right feedback, very flat, but not illuminated. It feels a lot easier to use than my Playbook keyboard as I found that a bit cramped (although still useable).
The keyboard comes with two AAA Duracell (nice touch) batteries. They are installed in the left side of the wedge that helps the device sit up on your table via a spring-loaded cartridge system. Well done. To pair the keyboard with your BlackBerry you press a button opposite the battery compartment and scan on your phone. The Passport found the keyboard very quickly, named it properly, and easily negotiated the 6 digit numeric pairing key which wisely is randomized each time you wish to pair to a different device.
There are numerous function keys along the top along with a dedicated Windows key. Most of them do not apply to my phone (search, PrtScn, Home, End etc.) but others work well such as the volume up/down keys along with play/pause. Up/down arrow keys work on web pages, and on the Passport many shortcuts work such as I/O for zooming in/out, and T/B for top and bottom.
The mouse is small! I tend to hold it between my thumb and right ring finger as opposed to the large Logitech device I have at the office which fills the whole hand. There’s a strip in the middle of the top of the mouse which not only separates the left/right buttons, but is where you drag your finger to scroll thus indicating its’ namesake “Touch” mouse. It scrolls adequetly, but I still prefer to flick on the phone for anything more than a few lines.
Like the keyboard, the mouse comes with a Duracell battery included, however it is a single AA. There is a sliding button on the bottom of the mouse which opens the battery compartment with a very satisfying “switchblade” action. Drop the battery in and slide the spring-loaded hatch closed. Nice! Pairing the mouse is easy too, just like the keyboard. Using the mouse is nice and smooth. I found myself easily gliding between screens and apps. Gestures are all supported as far as I know, including minimizing and killing apps, and getting to settings.
Oddities on the Passport running 10.3.0 include not being able to click weblinks in emails, or access copy/paste functions. Interestingly, links work on my Z10 running 10.2.1, and my Z30 running 10.3.1 leak, so I expect better performance with an upgraded Bluetooth stack soon.
Overall, I’m liking these well made Bluetooth peripherals. They may be small/compact but they add to my arsenal of versatility in mobility. Not all apps understand the mouse yet, but that should come over time. RDP as an example requires some touch screen intervention.
Oh, BTW… The keyboard cover is a two function device. When covering the keyboard, the device goes to sleep to conserve battery power. When not covering the keyboard, you can fold it into a stand which just happens to hold the Passport rather nicely.
I’m very early in testing these devices. Hit me up over the next few days for more info. I’m hoping they work out well. I’ve been having fun using these whilst conversing with my BBM groups and buddys! And again… this whole blog was created with these tools.