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Hands-On: Typo 2 Keyboard

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Jan 6, 2015, 10:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Typo was forced to redesign its iPhone accessory keyboard thanks to some legal trouble. The result isn't all that pretty.

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Typo, the Ryan Seacrest-backed company, is at CES this year with a new version of its Bluetooth keyboard for the iPhone 6. Like the original model, the Typo 2 is a case that envelopes the iPhone 6 and places a physical QWERTY keyboard along the bottom of the phone. The point is to give key-lovers real plastic on which to type. Personally, I say stick with the software keyboard.

The Typo 2's design is somewhat more appealing than the original. Where the original was rather slick and cheap feeling, the Typo 2 has a soft-touch finish that feels much better in the hand. It wraps around the iPhone 6 tightly, and forms a protective shell around much of the device. The case portion of the keyboard accessory is actually pretty decent.

The keyboard portion covers the entire bottom bezel of the iPhone — including the home button — and juts out below the bottom edge a little bit. Typo made sure users can still insert their lightning cables and headphones into the ports along the bottom. The speaker grill and microphone are unobstructed, too. This is where any sort of superlatives run out.

Typo 2  

The keyboard itself is a hot mess. The original device borrowed too heavily from BlackBerry's vaunted designs. BlackBerry sued and forced Typo to go back to the drawing board. The new buttons have minimal shape to them. They are slanted slightly and lose completely the scalloped shape of the original. This makes the individual keys a lot harder to tell apart, which meant I tapped the wrong buttons a lot. The action of the buttons is miserable. Typo tried to pitch the mushiness as a benefit, but it's clear they had to change the feel of the buttons to get around their legal troubles. They keys flat out stink, which negates the entire purpose of using the keyboard in my mind

I will say, however, that the addition of a lock button is nice, and the keyboard backlight is an attractive feature. There are good-sized buttons for accessing special characters, and the home button is a lot bigger. Typo says the battery lasts about a week. I suspect most people won't use it that long before returning to the iPhone's original software keyboard.

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