Whether you like it or not, mobile phones aren't just for making calls anymore. Nowadays, sending text messages and emails from your mobile are increasingly popular ways of keeping in touch with family and friends. Yet, it's not a particularly easy or pleasant experience if you must repeatedly peck at just nine keys and cope with the frustration of predictive text. Now Nokia is offering a friendlier alternative -- the Nokia Wireless Keyboard. Working via Bluetooth technology, the £69 keyboard is compatible with the Nokia N-series, the Nokia 3230, the Nokia 6600 series and the Nokia 7610. Although the keys are a bit cramped compared with some of the other accessory keyboards we've tested, the Nokia Wireless Keyboard is still a good tool for those who want to get more out of their phone.
The Nokia Wireless Keyboard is one of the sharpest accessory keyboards we've seen to date. With a sexy silver and cream colour scheme, it has a polished and modern style. In addition, it should have no problem slipping into your bag, since it's a compact 132 by 86 by 13mm when closed, but the sturdy aluminum casing does make the device a little heavy at 190g.
There is a spring-loaded release latch on the right side that easily pops open the accordion-style keyboard, which also shuts with a secure snap. Unfortunately there is no lock mechanism, so you should keep the keyboard on a flat surface at all times, however there are two rubber strips on the outer covers to prevent the device from slipping. We also weren't thrilled with the phone cradle. The cradle extension slides out from the top left, but it suffers from a plastic construction and didn't hold our test phone, the Nokia 6680, very securely.
Installation and setup was a breeze. Nokia packages the keyboard with a mini MMC card that includes the wireless-keyboard application, so we simply loaded the card into our phone and instantly found the Install Kb application as part of the menu selection. Once you open the driver, you'll be asked a series of quick questions, such as where to save the app (your phone's memory or to a memory card) -- then you're ready to pair the device to your phone. It's really a painless process. If you need assistance, there is a Help section under the Options menu, and you can check the included user guide or Nokia's Web site. There aren't too many customisation features, but you can change the keyboard layout, turn autorestart on or off and choose notification alerts for incoming connections.
There is a small power button in the upper-right corner of the keyboard -- once it's on a small Bluetooth icon will blink blue when it's ready for pairing. We're happy to report that we had no problems pairing our test phone to the Nokia Wireless Keyboard and were ready to fire off text messages within minutes. Unlike with some keyboards, such as the Palm Universal Wireless keyboard and the HP Bluetooth Foldable Keyboard, there is no dedicated row of numeral keys, instead they share space with the top row of letters. This will take some adjustment, as will the keyboard's 16mm key pitch and 2mm key travel, which makes it a bit difficult to type comfortably. We often found ourselves overstretching to reach for keys that weren't there. On the upside, the Nokia includes dedicated shortcut keys to the phone's menu and messaging application. The Nokia Wireless Keyboard operates on two AAA batteries (included) and is rated for up to 50 hours of use.
Edited by Kent German
Additional editing by Kate Macefield