Review: Belkin Wireless PDA Keyboard

I wrote this review awhile ago, when I was trying several differnet PDA's and attempting to choose between a PDA and a smart phone. I finally decided on a smart phone (a Blackberry 7520 from Nextel (now Sprint)). The Blackberry is awesome. Now that I think of it, maybe I'll get around to writing a review for it. Anyway, enjoy the review.

Belkin Wireless PDA Keyboard
Review Date: 10/16/04
Price Paid: $59.99
Where: Staples

First Impressions

When I took the keyboard out of its package, I was surprised that the included PDA stand was just clipped onto the keyboard itself. I quickly saw a problem with this because I knew that meant it was going to be impossible to even attempt using it on my lap. Another quick thing I noticed is that it doesn’t come with any kind of carrying case.


The keyboard comes with an installation CD that was very straightforward. Pop in the CD, select Install, and the installation program does the rest. All it really does is add the Wireless Keyboard program to your Hotsync manager for install on the next Hotsync. After the Hotsync, you'll have a cheesy looking icon show up that is called Wireless Keyboard (go figure). Clicking on the icon displays nothing anymore impressive. It’s a single screen with more cheesy icons and two buttons labeled "Enable" and "Disable". Besides the basic features of delay speed and repeat speed there isn’t much else the software offers.

Neither the keyboard nor the software has any way of automatically detecting the wireless keyboard and enabling it. When I left the PDA and keyboard for a few minutes and returned, the PDA had went to sleep and when turning it back on to resume my typing, I was disappointed to find that the keyboard was disabled. I had to go through the entire process of enabling the keyboard and then returning to my text application.

The PDA Stand

The stand is poorly designed to say the least and is the reason I give this wireless keyboard a bad review. Even on my perfectly flat and stable glass desk, the stand did not provide enough support for my T3. Any shaking of the table or movement of the PDA stand would cause the thin metal support leg in the back to collapse, sending the $350 PDA crashing to the desk. There was also nothing to stop the PDA from sliding around while sitting in the stand. No plastic rubbery stuff to help hold it in one place.

Not only was the support of the stand horrible, but it had a strange (at least to me) mirrored arm that redirected the IR beam to wherever you place the keyboard. The only advantage of this was that it allowed you to use a wide range of PDAs and other IR enabled devices because regardless of their size or IR position, you could redirect the beam to wherever the keyboard was. The arm with the metal mirror adjusted in height and position (180 degrees) to allow for both right and left horizontal PDAs as well as the standard vertical position.

Keyboard Usage

When I saw the metal mirror feature that redirects the IR beam to where the keyboard is, I quickly knew there would be extra time required to setup the keyboard before I could start using it. I had to play around with the metal mirror and move the keyboard around so I could get the IR beam in perfect alignment. This is supposed to make typing on a PDA easier, not help me learn geometry!

Once I had the alignment perfect, the typing was fairly smooth. I quickly adjusted to the size of the keyboard once my fingers learned the distances of each key from the other. One nice feature of the keyboard was that it has a dedicated row at the top for the number keys. Although not entirely important to me, someone that types in a lot of numbers would find this feature very useful.

Another feature worth mentioning is that the arrow keys on the keyboard are in a good position: the very end of the keyboard. Moving my fingers to the arrow keys is easy because I just go to the last key and I know that the first three keys to the left is Right, Down and Left. It feels natural, unlike Think Outside’s Stowaway keyboard where they stupidly positioned those four arrow keys with several keys in-between them and the edge.

Because the keyboard is separated from the stand, it does have a tendency to move around when typing, especially if you type with a lot of force. There are tiny rubber pads on the bottom of the keyboard that are supposed to help keep the keyboard from moving, but they did not work as well as they should have and almost felt like they weren’t there.


Although there are a few good features that the Belkin Wireless PDA Keyboard has to offer, it's lack of stability and difficult setup doesn’t make the Belkin worth the $60 I paid for it. In fact, even if they priced this keyboard at half that, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it. For a decent IR keyboard, take a look at Think Outside’s Stowaway Keyboard.

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