We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Keyboards Reviews
15,670 Reviews

itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard review

£69 inc VAT

Manufacturer: itablet

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

The itablet is a lightweight Bluetooth keyboard designed to pair up with a variety of tech devices, including iPhones and games consoles.

The itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard is a lightweight wireless keyboard designed to pair up with a variety of tech devices: iPads and other tablets, iPhones, the PS3 games console (and the Xbox 360, if you buy a Bluetooth dongle), and IPTVs.

Testing out the Bluetooth connection with an iMac, we found it easy to hook up the itablet. There's a dedicated button that puts the device on the look-out for nearby Bluetooth devices, and the two promptly found each other with a minimum of fuss. The itablet's unorthodox Shift-key positioning gave the Mac some confusion, incidentally - more on the layout shortly - but once we'd manually selected the default European layout everything worked fine.

Other OSes require varying degrees of tinkering, but generally you'll just have to go into the Bluetooth settings and either search for or add a device.

itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard: Keyboard komplaints

The design of the tablet is a little like a gaming joypad, with curved handgrips on the left and right of the back (although these are flatter than the equivalent grips on an Xbox controller, for example). There are small fold-out legs on the back, which can be used to slightly prop up the keyboard on a desk.

A soft, rubbery keyboard takes up the front of the device. There's not much space, though, so the keys are crowded in quite closely, and there are no familiar gaps to assist uncertain fingers.

And it takes considerable time to get used to the positions - and correct use - of Shift, Alt and the function key. Shift is a righthand shoulder key, and needs to be held down as you'd expect while you type capitals, percentage signs and so on. Fair enough. But Alt and Fn (lower-left shoulder and above the number 0, respectively) act like Caps Lock - staying pressed until you switch them off. (There's a light to remind you that Fn is on, but we still frequently forgot.)

itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard

All of which would be forgivable if you rarely used these keys but, ludicrously, you need to use Fn for delete. You can get locked into horrible, repetitive loops where you'll make an error, delete it, forget to take off Fn and therefore type a load more gibberish (you'll probably not be looking at the screen, since the key layout is unfamiliar), have to delete that, and so on.

The itablet, then, is not suitable for prolonged typing; this review was started on the device but the exhausted reviewer gave up partway through. For simply tapping in email addresses, gamertags and brief emails, however, it may be better than the alternatives (a tiny smartphone keypad, for example, or an onscreen keyboard navigated with a PS3 joypad). Nevertheless, we can't imagine the benefits will be game-changing.

itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard

itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard: Touchpad

In a nice bit of lateral thinking, the designers came up with the idea of installing a touchpad on the rear of the tablet. You don't have to flip it over, either - the directions have been reversed, so you can move the cursor around on a desktop PC by swiping with the free middle finger of either hand while grasping the tablet two-handed. There are left- and right-click mouse button substitutes on the front of the device, but you can also tap the trackpad to click.

Unfortunately the trackpad is a little sluggish in its movement perception, a problem that's exacerbated by the awkwardness of blindly mousing from behind. It feels a bit like trying to find the right socket on the back of your TV while reaching around it. And when you're trying to type, you'll find you occasionally brush the pad and end up typing chunks of text in the wrong part of the document. Luckily there's a switch to turn off the touchpad - a thoughtful inclusion, but perhaps an admission that this feature isn't a total success.

Lateral thinking is great, but the convenience of input devices is heavily dependent on practised movements, familiarity and shared conventions - that, after all, is why we're all still using arguably less efficient qwerty keyboard layouts. So the benefits of having a reversed, unseen trackpad and weirdly placed function keys have to be pretty phenomenal to make up for the irritation factor caused by having to get used to a new system.

Xbox 360 support: a warning

A final complaint is the itablet's bold claim that it works with the Xbox 360. The 360 doesn't have built-in Bluetooth, of course, so (as I mentioned above) you need to shell out for a dongle. But that fact isn't mentioned until page 21 of the 24-page instruction booklet (the front and back of our review sample's box proudly, and simply, say it supports the Xbox 360, although the brochure pdf seems to have had all Xbox references removed).

We trust that this is not intended to catch out well-meaning grannies on the hunt for Christmas presents.

itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard Expert Verdict »
Bluetooth keyboard
Bluetooth 2.0 specification compliant
Bluetooth HID 1.0 profile compliant
built-in rear-facing 52x40mm trackpad
built-in 4.2V 400mAh battery, recharged using miniUSB-to-USB cable (included)
147x85x24mm
100g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 6 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 6 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 5 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 5 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

The itablet Bluetooth Thumb Keyboard has some interesting design ideas, such as the built-in, rear-facing trackpad, and it looks pretty sharp, but usability isn't impressive. It works with a good range of Bluetooth-compatible devices, but we're struggling to think of one that would substantially benefit from the addition of this awkward-to-use keyboard and trackpad combo unit. iTablet told us that the keyboard is available via email only for £69.95. Contact [email protected] for more details.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Apple Magic Trackpad review

    Apple Magic Trackpad

    The Apple Magic Trackpad is a Bluetooth trackpad that uses the same glass surface as the trackpad on Apple's current laptop line and supports the same Multi-Touch gestures, thus bringing Apple's Multi-Touch technology to any Mac running Apple Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later.

  • PS4 vs Xbox One review: Next-gen games console comparison

    PS4 vs Xbox One: Next-gen games console comparison

    Sony and Microsoft have both launched their next-gen games consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One. Here's where we put the two up against one another in our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison review.

  • x360ce review

    x360ce

    x360ce is a free piece of software that lets you use old controllers for newer PC games. Read our review to find out more.

  • PlayStation 3 review

    PlayStation 3

    Sony is pushing the PS3 as an all-round entertainment console, with a remit that goes well beyond the realm of gaming.

  • Xbox SmartGlass for iPhone and iPad review

    Xbox SmartGlass for iPhone and iPad

    Use your iPhone to play with your Xbox's Dashboard. Read our Xbox SmartGlass for iPhone and iPad to find out more.


IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy S5 mini vs HTC One mini 2 comparison review: Design and price beats additional...

IDG UK Sites

Why local multiplayer gaming is rapidly vanishing: we look at the demise of split-screen and LAN...

IDG UK Sites

Colour-depth not resolution is what will make 4K a success or failure

IDG UK Sites

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus: Which new iPhone 6 model should I buy?