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XOOM Accessory Review: Bluetooth Keyboard

So I’ve picked up a handful of Motorola XOOM accessories over the last week and figured it was time to start reviewing them one by one to help early adopters decide if any of them are worth your hard earned money.  The full review of the actual device is still on the way, but to lead up to it, we’re going to work through most of these accessories, starting with the Bluetooth keyboard.  

The keyboard reminds me a lot of a laptop keyboard with it’s soft keys and smallish feel, but it definitely comes in handy when you need a full screen and can’t handle typing with the on-screen keyboard.  And speaking of the on-screen keyboard, I just want to admit up front that I laughed at the original iPad’s keyboard and am laughing equally at this one.  A full-size on-screen keyboard will never produce consistent or speedy results; I don’t care who you are.  Moving on…

The device itself weighs very little, has a slight hump on the back to give it a semi-ergonomic feel and runs on 2 AA batteries.  In the week that I’ve been running it, I haven’t had to replace them, so I’d say that the life seems to be acceptable under fairly-heavy use.  There are rubber grippies on the bottom to stop any slippage and it even sits on your lap nicely while couch surfing.

My favorite feature of the keyboard has to be the built-on Android keys.  You have dedicated buttons that will get you quickly into your contacts, Gmail, browser or back home, plus you also have a series of built-on music controls.  You’ll get a good chuckle out of the Messaging button though, especially since we know they’ve removed it from the XOOM.

Connecting the keyboard is about as simple as it gets.  Pop in the batteries, turn Bluetooth on through the XOOM, “Find nearby devices”, press the 1 button on the back of the keyboard, and then connect it on the XOOM once it appears in the list.  If you are at a place in Honeycomb where you don’t feel like you’ll need the physical keyboard, then press the little keyboard icon in the notification tray, and turn it off.  If you need it, repeat, and turn it back on.  Keyboard switching is one of the best features in Android 3.0.

Overall, this seems like a “must-have” for anyone that plans on doing a ton of typing on their XOOM.  As someone that crushes hundreds of emails a day, it has been a life saver.  There is no way in hell I could have been this productive while using the on-screen keyboard.  For now, I’ll call it my current favorite of all the XOOM accessories, but that title is likely going to change when Swiftkey releases their tablet keyboard that allows for thumb-typing.  The price is also a little steep at $69.99.  If you’ve got cash to blow, then I’d say grab one; if not, sign up for Swiftkey’s beta program and hope they release it soon.

(Thumb Keyboard is a nice option as well, but without multi-touch can be painful at times.)

  • Rmaher67

    Auto correct does not work when keyboard is active. Big negative

  • http://www.androidappsource.com Android Apps

    Very cool. I appreciate the up close pictures of the keyboard. It’s looks like it’s pretty well made.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000656216003 William Bobbitt

    will they ship to Thailand??

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  • Myemial

    that keyboard is a piece of crap…it never pairs and the bluetooth on the xoom stinks. never finds it.

  • gary

    I have the xoom and keyboard. I think a big drawback is that it does not have a space on the keyboard for a mouse action. I still have to navigate to icons with a finger when using the keyboard.

  • GadgetGirl

    I want something like this for the Xoom:

    http://us.kensington.com/html/17835.html

    So I can easily carry and protect and use both the xoom and the keyboard together.

  • Anonymous

    Do you know if its possible to natively change the keyboard layout? I’m about twice as fast with dvorak than I am on qwerty.

  • Rupert

    I have been unable to get this keyboard to connect with my viewsonic tablet (vegan 5.1 rom) despite trying sorts of different bluetooth programs. the keyboard looks nice but will not connect to my tablet. it would be nice to know if anyone with theviewsonic tablet – or better the Notionink Adam tablet– was able to get the keyboard to work. is this a Hid or a spp device ?

    • Xoomnation

      I have had the keyboard since day one and the first thing i realized is that it would take some getting used to. So, I unplugged my desktop Keyboard and dual paired the Xoom keyboard to the desktop and the Xoom so i could get faster acclamation with the board…and when i need to take it with me, its already paired to the Xoom…I have never had any pairing issues with the keyboard…When i am doing creative writing however, i would get some lag at times but that is a function of the Honeycomb system needing an update , not the keyboard..Its my favorite accessory…I think a thumb keyboard about 6inches long would be a good idea too…

  • http://world-most-beautiful-houses.blogspot.com/ house

    i like the keyboard

  • Jdenman03

    I think I might get this.

  • Rdillz

    You don’t have to wait on swiftkey. Thumb keyboard just released yesterday. Its really awesome. Makes the Bluetooth keyboard a waste.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/113700591326765314538 Techonetwo

    This is a nice keyboard. Works well paired with my Droid X. I also use it with my Media Center PC.

  • Dshudson

    The keyboard is useless. I bought mine and used it once.. Save your money and go to the strip club.

  • Sesawyer3127

    Hey hey! Check it out.

    All Motorola XOOM tablets on the Verizon Wireless network are eligible to receive an upgrade to support 4G LTE. This includes those that have been unlocked; however, those units must be submitted for upgrade with the original factory software reinstalled and the device relocked in order to receive the upgrade.

    For devices that are returned unlocked, Motorola will attempt to complete the upgrade, but may be unable to update the software. In these cases, the device will be returned to the consumer with just the 4G LTE modem installed.

    More details on the process will be available closer to the upgrade availability.

  • Jawshua

    Swiftkey!? Yuck! Ill use ShapeWriter until my phone blows up! I could never go back to a regular keyboard. And I might even consider Swype if they weren’t so stupid and wouldn’t let users who’s phones came with the damn program, actually upgrade to the newest version. But no, that’s only for beta testing, yeah that makes a lot of sense.

  • BigDaddyEllison

    I do a lot of e-mail too and thanks to this keyboard, I no longer need my laptop to do serious amounts of work. I like how sturdy it feels with being metal like the old Apple keyboards. I can throw it in my laptop bag and not worry about it being in pieces when I get to where I am going. My second favorite Xoom accessory is the Kensington stylus/pen. I got it for my wife to try but ended up keeping it. When you are in a meeting and just need to look something up, the stylus helps you be amazingly accurate and unlike others, it is also an ink pen.

  • Silksmooth12

    So do any bluetooth keyboards work? Also, do bluetooth keyboards work with say…OG Droid?

  • http://twitter.com/Crispityyy Chris Spells

    Aww Kellex you never let us down!
    pfft….and here I was thinking you forgot about the XOOM review…..you sly devil you! :P

  • Stephen D

    I saw this at Verizon. It’s a pretty nice keyboard.

  • Anonymous

    How do you like the gel cover? It looks pretty nice… is it worth the $30?

    • Anonymous

      Just got my gel cover today. Its easy to put on and remove yet fits great on the Xoom. I think its definitely worth $30. Plus it can still fit onto the dock if you put the adapter on that comes with the dock.

    • http://www.sieuthisimthe.com.vn sieu thi sim the

       what is it?

  • http://twitter.com/pbolton70 Paul Bolton

    Remember that 25% off coupon from the superbowl still works till 03/15 for accessories

    • Firelight

      Just tried the code – doesn’t work for the keyboard purchase.

      (OCNNSB25)

      • Anonymous

        When I bought my xoom on day one the rep at the verizon store asked if I wanted any accessories and i said that I could get 25% off by ordering from motorola online. He immediately replied that he could match that, so I was able to walk out of the store with all accessories for 25% off. I didn’t even have to show any proof that I had any real discount.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jetsaredim Jared Greenwald

    You should compare this to the Microsoft Mobile 6000 keyboard. I use it on my main daily dev box and it’s actually a little thinner and lighter. I did consider this Moto keyboard, but I got the MS one for like $1 on clearance at Staples, so that won out. This looks like it would be a good keyboard for a laptop, too.

    • Anonymous

      And that works with your XOOM?

  • Firelight

    @Kellex

    Have you paired it with any Android phones to see if it works? Especially interested if it works with the DX?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, it works. In fact, this comment was typed with my keyboard paired to my Droid X.

  • Anonymous

    I just wish it was more convenient to carry the damn thing. I’d love to bring it to class with me (and would love it even more if there was a google docs app… but thats another subject)… but I’m afraid with all my books and stuff it’ll snap in half…

  • DroidzFX

    xoom review?

  • Andrew Hewitt

    This was much needed, thanks! Speaker dock review? :D

  • Andrew Hewitt

    This was much needed, thanks! Speaker dock review? :D

    • Ecffighter7232

      Yeah I think the bluetooth keyboard and the Speaker dock are going to be my first two accessories for the Xoom

    • Anonymous

      Ya at the same point trying to figure out if the speaker dock is worth the $80 more than the standard dock

  • ViggS

    Very artsy photos I like.

  • ViggS

    Very artsy photos I like.