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iPazzPort – the budget-friendly HTPC keyboard

I blame PayPal. They’ve made it far too easy to order stuff on eBay . When I saw the iPazzPort on Engadget a while ago and read in the comments that they were very cheap on eBay I couldn’t help myself. Two clicks later I’d ordered this little gizmo from a vendor in Hong Kong. It took nearly a month to get here, but I’m glad it did.

The iPazzPort is a small wireless keyboard with a built-in trackpad. It uses RF signals to communicate with the (included) USB receiver, which has a range of about 10 meters. I had been looking for something to replace my aging BTC 9019URF which is big, ugly and doesn’t quite work from my couch.

Value for money

My first impression was that the iPazzPort looks incredibly cheap. But then again, it is. It’s only around $20 (new) on eBay. It’s pretty sturdy, but don’t expect this thing to look nice. When I plugged the USB thingy into my laptop and switched on the keyboard it turned out to work straight away. No drivers needed, so it should work on all OSs (I tested Ubuntu and Windows 7). It also comes with a USB charging cord, which is convenient. The trackpad is actually better than most I’ve worked with and definitely an improvement over the joystick on the BTC.

BS stands for backspace

The keyboard layout needs some getting used to. In fact, it pretty much sucks. The arrows keys are in strange locations, as are most other non-qwerty keys. If you’re going to be typing a lot, this is not the keyboard for you. It’s nowhere near as good as the one on my Nokia E71, which is half the size. There’s also no shift key. You need to enable caps lock, type the capital, and turn it off again. The keys are nearly flush with the device’s top cover, and they’re very ‘clicky’.

So?

At a fraction of the cost, this little thing is a budget alternative to Logitech’s terribly expensive DiNovo Mini. It’s smaller and lighter, but is also much less comfortable to type on. If your typing needs go beyond the occasional URL or search term, look elsewhere. If you, like me, use it to fire up a movie from time to time it may just suit your needs.

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