From music to movies, downloadable apps to Web surfing, iPhone beats BlackBerry on most counts. But if you’ve ever tried banging out texts to your BFF or frantically typing URLs with one hand while heeling the dog with another, you realize the Apple phone’s virtual keyboard is its Achilles heel. Enter the TK-421, a highly unofficial, highly welcome iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 case that adds a flip-out physical keyboard. Equip it, and your thumbs can idly bang out reams of poignant lyrics or TPS reports on-command.
Simple to attach and use, and sporting tactile keys that make staccato finger taps easy, the TK-421’s QWERTY keyboard can improve typing speed, enhance note-taking or Web surfing, and aid with controlling apps. But some buttons, especially punctuation, symbols and alternate functions, are also awkwardly positioned, and construction, while solid, feels less than elegant. Size is also an issue, as the unit adds considerably to space and bulk, taking up nearly double as much pocket space as Apple’s handset does alone.
Clearly a first-gen solution, the TK-421 solves some of stenographers’ problems, while leaving ample room for improvement. For $50, though, it may be worth the investment just to avoid accidentally careening into oncoming traffic while sending friends vital missives like “See u there at 8, LOL!”
$49.99, Think Geek