Nice product, but wouldn't work with my Clie
Written: Dec 17, 2001
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Amazing piece of engineering
Cons:Could not get it to work with my Clie, very expensive.
The Bottom Line: In my own experience, this is not a simple "plug and use" device. If you can get it to work with your PDA, more power to you.
I bought this product because it obviously makes data entry into any PDA much easier. Others have pointed out here that, as far as the base applications like memo and addressbook, you can enter the information into your desktop computer and then synch it over to your PDA. Yes, that is true, but if you use 3rd party applications, you are limited to graffiti or the pop-up keyboard built into the PDA software. So, I decided that, despite the expense, this product would make life with my Clie much easier.
I went to Best Buy and plunked down $108.49 (8.5% sales tax--boy I love living in Chicago...) and excitedly went home to try it out on my Sony Clie S320. The keyboard itself comes folded in four sections that are protected by an outer shell (which appears to be painted aluminum) They fold flat, and then the outer sections kind of slide toward the center to interlock the four sections. As I said, this is really some piece of engineering. When folded up, the keyboard is slightly larger than a 3 x 5 notecard, and it is about 3/4 of an inch thick. Also included in the product packaging are a software CD-ROM, two printed instruction manuals, and some propaganda for other available services and accessories.
I installed the software driver into my Windows 98 desktop as instructed and then synched the driver and keyboard patch over to my PDA. Then I connected my Clie to the port on the keyboard and opened the memo application to test it out. NOTHING. It doesn't work. I disconnect my Clie and try to reseat it on the docking port, and again...Nothing. The instruction manual says to have all other keyboard drivers disabled or the stowaway won't work. Well, I don't have any other drivers as far as I know. I also find out that some software hacks may interfere with the stowaway. Well I do have X-master installed onto my Clie, plus battery hack and Battery log. So I uninstalled these and also uninstalled the keyboard driver and patch from memory. Then I re-installed the keyboard driver and patch to the Clie and tried again to type something using the stowaway. Again, Nothing!
Over the course of the next 3 days, I tried unsuccessfully to get this product to work. I tried soft resetting, hard resetting, deleting other 3rd party applications, futzing around with the docking port and my Clie trying to get a better connection, and nothing worked. I am now resigned to the fact that I must return this thing back to Best Buy for a refund.
What happened? Maybe this keyboard came dead on arrival. Maybe there is still something on my Clie which is still conflicting with the keyboard driver. Maybe my Clie will not connect properly to the keyboard (the connection to the docking port was never that good...it never really seated with a satifying click, it just kind of sat on the alignment pins on the port) Whatever the problem may be, it should not take this much effort to make an accessory work with my Clie.
I cannot comment on the durability of this product since I've only had it for a week, but it should be well protected in it's folded state. When it's unfolded, I would guard it with my life, since one good fall will probably put it out of commission.
I am giving this product a "Not Recommended" since it does not work with my PDA. But as long as you can return it to your place of purchase, I would say that you should at least give it a try, as it's probably a good keyboard when it works.
Read all 98 Reviews
Write a Review