I wanted to work on my tablet the same way people do on their laptops. This is very important to me as I don’t want to have 2 laptops, one big and one small for travel. While having a tablet with me. This 1000HZ machine (Galaxy tab 2) has to do something except showing me funny videos on YouTube. I know there are office suits for Android and I already tried to blog, using on screen keyboard which was not more than OK for short posts. But 1000 word monsters are another story.
The solution is having a keyboard and a mouse, to speed things up a bit, i found that this is in fact Tablet VS Netbook battle:
How Bluetooth keyboard feels
Luckily I got a 10″ tablet and the compatible keyboard, from a no name Chinese manufacturer (affiliate link), is the same size. Nowadays the keyboards on laptops have square shaped single buttons with no diagonal parts that we had few years back. This is a good thing because we got used for a different feeling in our fingertips. Today I type with my fingers barely leaving the keyboard surface. I tap less aggressively and feel better where one key ends and another one begins. In addition I bought a keyboard with plastic keys and not the silicone ones, apparently silicon is a default choice, luckily, I noticed this in the last minute and bout this model instead.
The feeling is great, although the keys are smaller the tactile feedback is perfect and I’m typing just 20% slower (I write with a timer on) and I think I can speed it up a bit with more experience. There s a chance, that during my Iceland trip I will reach my full potential – 3 weeks with only this keyboard, what can be better?
Just to be clear – they keys are not the same, there are no F buttons on top and there are many Android related controls but generally it feels like net-book keyboard.
The mouse connects very easily, apparently most wireless mouse devices are using Bluetooth but they connect only to their own dongles, this is why you have a range of ~10 meters, which is typical to Bluetooth devices, and no connection delay as there is no actual pairing(End of technical mumbo jumbo). The dongle-less mouse connects after 5 seconds and works pretty smoothly. It has a small delay as Android takes it’s time to show it on screen but this is not the mouse fault, on PC it works perfectly. Still the movement is not as smooth as we see it on PC but enough to manipulate it effectively. The mouse wheel works almost everywhere but the left and right clicks are rarely assigned to different actions, mostly it feels like Apple mouse as they have only one button.
Overall it is a nice compliment to productivity tools.
Android Tablet with keyboard and mouse performance wise
I had to re-teach myself to use the mouse and the keyboard. It is a fast process but you do raise an eyebrow once in a while.
First, the mouse – most of the time you get the same response from left and right clicks, but once there is a different response you get really surprised as those are hard to anticipate. The text selection has to be done with a double click, and once you select a word – drag the blue “Arrow” marker while holding the mouse button if you need to expand the selection. I could not find a place where the normal click and drag approach would work. Once you get used to it – it gets OK, but not great. Very slow, compared to PC. I guess that mac-book users will learn to use the mouse faster.
Second, the keyboard – I chose a plastic key version and it payed off. The tactile feedback is similar to a laptop keyboard and the key size is slightly smaller. I could not understand why the manufacturer chose not to use the whole keyboard width as there is free space on each side.
The keyboard layout is regular, but this is an android keyboard so the controls are not the same. In addition not all of them work – because they mean different things on different android versions. For example there are at least 2 keys that look like menu buttons but they do nothing. There is no DEL key and this is a problem to people, that are, used to it. Apparently the solution is hitting shift + backspace, which is not an android trick but a general one (apparently).
Because the mouse is not that helpful, a lot of navigation and text selection is done via keyboard, which is much faster. Control + arrows to skip words. Shift + arrow to select. Shift + Control + Arrow to select words instead of individual characters. I actually started doing it on my PC too.
The overall experience is not great but a solid OK. I get better every day and I guess that soon the difference will be minimal. The whole experience gives a good indication that tablets can replace net-books but after re-thinking it, I recommend the following:
If you have a tablet and you don’t want to buy additional gear – buy a keyboard and a mouse and they will serve you well.
If you are on a verge of a choice and you know for sure that typing will be part of what you do – try buying a net book with a touch screen, it will cost less and do more.
Actually an android phone and a windows net-book are a very powerful bundle. When the time will come, this is what I’m going to choose.
If you had similar experience or want to know more about mine, comment below to tell me so.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. – there are no page up and down buttons – this means that keyboard is for typing only!