Belkin G700 Series Portable PDA Keyboard

Reviewed by: David Coppola, send e-mail
Made by: Belkin Corporation, go to the web site
Requires: Palm series m125, m130, m500 or i705, PC running Palm Desktop in order to HotSync keyboard driver
MSRP: US$79.99

The Belkin G700 Series Portable PDA Keyboard is designed for use with the Palm m125, m130 m500 series or i705 series handhelds. Ours was tested with the color Palm m505 handheld with an extra 64MB SD memory card.

Here are the specs for the G700:

Closed: 3.74x5.83x.55 (95mm x 148mm x 14mm), Opened: 6.85 x 9.77 x 2.75 (174mm x 248mm x 70mm), Weight: 7 ounces (198.4g), Key Spacing: (pitch) 17mm horizontally & vertically, Key Travel: 2mm.

We had no trouble installing the Belkin G700 driver via the HotSync installation tool. There are no printed manuals with the unit, just a PDF, so it is advisable that you print out portions to take with you on the road if you want to customize some of the programmable features.

The keyboard open and close mechanism is the best I've seen to date. (Ed. Note: We compared open/close convenience with a similar PDA keyboard model from Targus which we purchased for use with a Handspring Visor Prism about two years ago. The Belkin mechanism is much smoother, flattens faster and slides into position firmly and positively. The Targus often needs a bit of fiddling before it will close securely and its PDA support and latch seem precarious compared to the Belkin). The G700 is very sturdy and provides great support for the PDA. There is even a built-in power jack which lets you recharged the PDA battery when docked in the keyboard - great on the road. The only drawback to this is that you'll need to bring the power adapter in order to use this feature when you travel - something else to pack and not leave in a hotel room.

The keyboard is comprised of three sections and opens quickly and easily. We also noticed that the size of the keyboard is slightly smaller than the competition's, so those with larger hands might have some difficulty typing. Typing characters was easy and smooth but we found that the off-center Space bar was somewhat annoying as we sometimes hit the Alt key by mistake.

The numeric keys located on the top first row are shared. Using a special function key they provide easy access to Memo, Notepad, Calendar, Calculator, To-Do list, Palm Mail, Search and Address Book.

Overall, it was a pleasure reviewing the keyboard. But with all the gadgets the business professional or computer enthusiast must use and carry with them today, you have to ask how much is enough? Do you really need your laptop, cell phone, PDA, PDA keyboard, modem, pager, various chargers, etc.?

Cons: Those with larger hands may have difficulty using the keyboard. Off-center Space bar can interfere with typing. Need to carry Palm charger with you. No paper manual - PDF only.

Pros: Sturdy, unique design. Very compact when stored. The ability to recharge while typing. 1 year warranty.

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