Metal Keyboard for Galaxy Tab 10.1 review

When I bought my Samsung tablet, the runner up was the Asus Transformer. That tablet’s main appeal was that, at the same price point, came with a cleverly designed keyboard. I convinced myself that I’d still fire up my laptop if I needed to answer a lot of emails, and got the lighter, thinner Galaxy Tab. But now, a couple of months later, I think a tablet keyboard can be a really good idea. I find myself using my tablet for a lot of things that involve text entry, ranging from note-keeping to server administration using SSH.

This is why I jumped at the opportunity when GearZap offered to send me their “Metal Keyboard for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1″. On paper, it looked like the perfect companion for my Samsung, and it’s a lot cheaper than the Transformer’s keyboard.

Docking and connecting

In essence, this is a simple bluetooth keyboard, with a ridge that’s designed to hold the tablet at the perfect angle for typing. There’s no connector inside that ridge, the connection between the two devices relies on bluetooth alone. Mechanically, this solution installs little confidence. It doesn’t really feel like you’re docking the tablet, the ridge just sort-of keeps it from toppling over.

The keyboard is also designed to clip onto your tablet as a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 case. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work reliably either. I was able to get all four corners to clip around the tablet, but found that they pop back off way to easily. If this would happen while the combination is inside your bag, the sharp plastic corners of the keyboard could end up damaging your tablet’s screen. Perhaps a strap or rubber band could fix this, but I’d be really careful.

Tactile feedback

The main reason to get a keyboard like this is the poor feel of on-screen keyboards. If you’re doing a lot of text entry, you need tactile feedback. This keyboard however manages to feel even worse than its on-screen counterpart. When you press a key, you can see all the surrounding ones sink as well. There’s so much flex that you can press keys all the way through the metal sheet that surrounds them. There’s also barely any “click” and I found that the space bar only worked half the times I pressed it. I needed to really pay attention to press it all the way to the bottom. It’s like typing in mud.

Using the keyboard

The keyboard has a built-in battery, but unlike with the Transformer, it just powers itself. There’s also no trackpad, which would have been a welcome addition. The top row has Android-specific and multimedia keys, which are convenient. But the “feature” that ruins the whole experience is the overly aggressive, non-disableable, power saving mode. It kicks in after only fifteen seconds of inactivity, and each time it does, the keyboard needs three seconds or so to reconnect to the tablet. I found that this happens very often, and it’s annoying as hell.

Conclusion

This is a product that looks nice on paper, but has so many serious design flaws that it completely fails in practice. It doesn’t connect well, type well, dock well or protect well. If you’re looking for a Galaxy Tab keyboard, I’d suggest getting a better quality product like Samsung’s own solution, or perhaps a good generic bluetooth keyboard and a stand.

Roy | January 31, 2012 | English,Gadgets | Comments (3)
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3 Comments

  1. LOL – wrong decision. Should have got the Transformer, it’s a better tablet in every way. And the docking keyboard is fabulous. And trhe extended battery life it brings, USB ports, etc etc etc

    Some Geek you are… do your research properly.

    Comment by ben — May 11, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    • The Samsung is lighter, thinner and has a better screen. So while the Transformer has obvious advantages (price, dock) I don’t think the decision is as clear-cut as you present it.

      Comment by Roy — May 24, 2012 @ 11:01 am

  2. I think i have the same keyboard as you. it actually sucks. i bought it online for a good price. it had all the bells and whistles on paper yes, but when you start typing..it’s a pain in the ass. the only problem is the space bar. I type pretty fast. about 80-90 words per minute, and i type notes in class as fast as the teacher talks, so with this faulty space bar.. i can’t keep up. I found that the space bar works when pressed at the center. I guess there is only one push sensor under the space bar and it’s at the center and not at both sides as well as the center.

    oh well..i guess it’s time to buy the real deal keyboards..
    like they say, you get what you pay for

    Comment by jozz — August 19, 2012 @ 10:51 pm