Physical keyboards are a rare occurrence with smartphones these days. Software/touch-screen keyboards rule the roost for the most part. The inherent issue with these is they take up valuable screen space. Enter the Wireless Sliding keyboard for Galaxy S3, an accessory attempting to fill the gap between small screen and keyboard, and bring back the days of slider phones.
Unfortunately it seems to miss the mark in some respects.
Lets start with the positives. It’s got a battery life of 2 days active use, and 45 days standby. This is due to the keyboard hibernating itself to extend battery life, and immediately turning back on when slid out. As well as the standard full QWERTY keyboard layout, it comes with a variety of extra “fn” function keys too, controlling media, screen brightness, screen lock, search, and a web browser shortcut. The keys are back lit, which you can turn off and on through the function keys and is a nice touch.
The sliding mechanism does feel reassuringly robust (unlike on some slider phones), with a good solid thump when opened and closed. The hinged slider is good for holding your S3 upright to watch videos in landscape, but does cut off access to the physical volume controls. The Wireless sliding keyboard adds 130 gram’s in weight, but if you’re looking for a physical keyboard you’re already willing to compromise. It does add some significant size too, almost 2 cm, to the Galaxy S3, turning it quite literally into a brick.Now for the negatives, which as a matter of course don’t really affect performance, but for me personally they were kind of a deal breaker.The keys are horrific, overly clicky, and it’s way too easy to hit nearby keys at the same time, and i don’t have chubby fingers. Coupled with the fact there is pretty much no tactile distinction between the keys and the shell, and it makes blind typing very difficult as well as very noisy.
Looks wise, it has a very “ages 5 and under” feel to it, with a thin plastic shell that would probably break on the first drop. The integrated case is probably the ugliest case ever conceived for a phone, with a completely flat back and horrible edges, it doesn’t offer much protection for the top or bottom of your S3, and has no texture or grip at all.Click to view slideshow.
All in all, I’m sure there are people out there who would be willing to compromise enough to use this device. Personally, I’ll stick with a software keyboard!
Available from most good accessory stores for £27.95 in the U.K and $36.49 in the USA.