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Digital Life

Typo Keyboard Case: BlackBerry keyboard for iPhone

Published on Jun 6, 2014 6:00 AM
Typo Keyboard Case

Backed by Ryan Seacrest of American Idol fame, the Typo Keyboard is an iPhone 5/5s case with a BlackBerry lookalike Qwerty keyboard.

Singapore is the first country outside the United States where it is sold.

The case consists of two parts. The bottom bit houses the keyboard. The top just closes up the case to protect your iPhone.

It has openings for the phone's On/Off button (top), Ring/Mute button and volume controls (side), and for the rear camera.

You can plug in the Lightning cable for charging and syncing quite easily without removing the phone from the case.

On the downside, Typo covers the front Home button, so iPhone 5s users must forsake using the convenient Touch ID sensor and it becomes a chore to key in my passcode to access my iPhone 5s. But for iPhone 5 users, this "cover-up" does not matter.

I found it impossible to access the Control Centre of iOS 7, as you need to place your finger below the screen and slide up onto the screen to reveal it. This quirk applies to both the iPhone 5 and 5s.

The Typo case adds 18.5mm to your iPhone's length, 6.4mm to its thickness and nearly 40g to its weight. But the addition does not bulk up or weigh down your pocket.

The rubberised case prevents any accidental slippage and feels good to the touch.

Once the case and your iPhone are paired via Bluetooth, the Typo's Home key (bottom right of the keyboard) can be used to access the phone. Double tap this key to switch apps and hold down the key to access Siri, just as you would have done with the iPhone's Home button.

I have used the BlackBerry 8707 and Palm Treo BlackBerry Curve before. But after six years of using the iPhone, it took me a while to get used to a physical keyboard again.

But for BlackBerry fans, this Typo keyboard should make you feel right at home. The button layout is very similar to that of, say, BlackBerry Bold 9300. Each key has an inward-curving contour for a nice touch with good tactile response.

After using it for a few days, I did get the hang of it. Typing was faster with two hands. Single-handed use was hard. I could not find the keys.

I prefer the iPhone's on-screen keyboard, as each virtual key is bigger and you are less liable to make "fat finger" mistakes as a result.

Another downside is that your iPhone sheds the AutoCorrect function once paired with Typo. And there is no landscape mode support, for obvious reasons.

  • For those who prefer the tactile response of a physical keyboard but love their iPhone 5, the Typo Keyboard might just be the solution.


Background story


Price: $169
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Weight: 39.7g


Design: 3/5
Performance: 3/5
Value for money: 3/5

Overall: 3/5