Millions of people are very happy with Apple’s on-screen virtual keyboard, but many still desire a tactile response only a physical keypad can provide. Apple has stated in the past that it sees no point in adding a hardware QWERTY keyboard onto the iPhone, but the company goes back and forth so many times with iOS products that no one knows what to believe.
Knowing this, BoxWave thought of a way to use the iPhone’s Bluetooth technology and build a case that had a physical QWERTY keyboard. It’s great for people who want Apple to add a QWERTY to the iPhone, but will it lure over virtual-keyboard-users over? How is it compared to the other Bluetooth Keyboard Cases for the iPhone? I’ll answer all of these questions and more in my review of the BoxWave KeyboardBuddy case for iPhone 4 & 4S.
Design wise, the Keyboard Buddy is very sleek, especially considering that it adds a full hardware keyboard to the back of the device. The sliding mechanism is very solid, and there’s an enthusiastic click as you open and close it. It’s reminiscent of the slider on a device like the T-Mobile Sidekick – and that’s a good thing!
There’s also more than enough room to hit the top row of number keys, something other sliding cases often have trouble with. It charges via miniUSB, and BoxWave claims you should be able to go a huge 45 days without having to re-charge. The whole kit has a matte white, soft touch finish that adds a nice grip to the all-glass iPhone. Pairing the Keyboard buddy was an uneventful affair; the BoxWave was up and running in about 30 seconds after typing in a passcode. That’s when I could start putting this thing to the test!
The actual keyboard on the Keyboard Buddy is very similar to the one found on the Droid 2 or 3. Keys are laid out edge-to-edge, and there’s a decent amount of give with each click. The space bar is perfectly placed in the center of the keyboard, unlike some of the other Bluetooth keyboards on the market today. There’s a home key on the top left as well as a lock key right below it, two nice touches for sure.
It’s important to point out that when you choose to use a physical keyboard with your iOS devices, you lose all autocorrect functionality. I longed for things like automatic capitalization of “i” for example, and wish that it would automatically add apostrophes to words. Hopefully this is something Apple could enable as an option in a future version of iOS.
Overall, the BoxWave KeyboardBuddy case is an excellent option for BlackBerry users wanting to switch to the iPhone but not wanting to sacrifice their physical keyboards, as well as for older iOS users who have trouble seeing the letters on the iPhone’s virtual keyboard and like the satisfying click of a button when using a physical keyboard. I can type faster on the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, but I do like using the KeyboardBuddy to type out long emails or blog posts when I’m on my iPhone. You can read more about the BoxWave KeyboardBuddy and purchase it here.
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