|VisionTek CandyBoard Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 15 January 2011|
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Bluetooth Keyboard Final Thoughts
Wireless devices are a necessity in today's mobile world, and Bluetooth has helped to extend the functionality of these devices. For some users RF wireless is more than enough, but unfortunately this technology does not work with most mobile phones and always requires an add-on receiver. The included USB button receiver upgrades any computer (Linux, Windows, or Apple) to include Bluetooth functionality, while nearly all modern smart phones (Apple, Nokia, and Google Android) already offer Bluetooth pairing for headsets and related devices. Some game consoles, such as the Sony PlayStation 3, have a built in Bluetooth receiver and easily pair to new devices.
The nearly-universal compatibility of Bluetooth devices allows the VisionTek CandyBoard to pair itself with several different platforms without additional hardware receivers. In my own personal scenario, the CandyBoard paired to the Windows 7 HTPC using the USB button receiver while connecting to the internal receivers on my Sony PS3 and Apple iPhone 4. Since I also have a Bluetooth-enabled notebook computer and digital projector, the VisionTek CandyBoard can pair to that device without using it's USB receiver as well. Given that this mini-keyboard has proven to deliver 40-feet or better range, the CandyBoard can easily serve double-duty for work and play.
VisionTek CandyBoard 900335 (Actual Size)
For users interested in the CandyBoard as a PS3 Blu-ray remote control, it's not advisable. The VisionTek CandyBoard has media center playback controls, but these buttons (blue, above function keys) do not correspond to the PS3's playback control. Instead, the actual F1-F8 keys call the Sony PlayStation 3 playback menu. It's possible to use the CandyBoard as a PS3 BD remote, but only with some practice and key memorization. The CandyBoard is really best used for its keyboard functionality with the PS3, and remote control device second.
VisionTek CandyBoard Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
VisionTek's CandyBoard Bluetooth mini-keyboard is specified to work at ranges up to 30 feet, however our own testing proved it could easily transmit and receive Bluetooth signals up to 40 feet line of sight. Beyond this, the signal appeared to fade, however once the CandyBoard was returned within range all previous commands were executed from memory. The embedded laser point function works flawlessly up to and beyond 100 feet, and was clearly visible in a well-lit room. While the mini-keyboard isn't something you'll use to write a book, it's great for short messages and filling out forms. CandyBoard's touchpad worked very well, and finger taps were easily recognized as a double-click.
In terms of appearance, the VisionTek CandyBoard looks like a high-tech miniature keyboard with lots of extra buttons. It's button layout is ergonomic enough for everyone to easily adapt to, and even the novice computer user can quickly make use of the added features. Construction is solid, as I managed to accidentally drop my CandyBoard onto tile flooring twice without damage. Since the hard plastic housing protects all of the sensitive electronics, it seems unlikely that failure will occur from drop damage. From my experience with the device, its only weakness is liquid spills (not tested).
From the functionality perspective, the VisionTek CandyBoard has just replaced two different devices in my entertainment room: the wireless Windows Media Center HTPC keyboard, and the Sony PlayStation 3 remote control. If I choose, the CandyBoard can also make texting to friends much easier when I'm watching movies with my mobile phone nearby. Of course, the embedded red laser pointer makes intermissions more entertaining by annoying the family pets. All things considered, this little mini-keyboard delivers more functionality than most full-sized devices.
The VisionTek CandyBoard VT2012 900335 Bluetooth mini keyboard is available for $64.50 at Amazon or $69.99 at Newegg. This is a fair price for such a feature-packed device, and while the cost is comparable to full-size devices most of them will lack Bluetooth functionality and a touchpad. If you're after a small-sized wireless keyboard for your home theater, presentation system, or mobile phone, I strongly recommend the VisionTek CandyBoard. Excellent range, battery life, and Bluetooth compatibility make this the perfect item for multiple platforms.
+ Up to 40 feet of wireless range
- Price is comparable to full-size devices
Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
What do you think of the VisionTek CandyBoard? Leave your comment below or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.