Yesterday I recieved a new addition to my mobile kit bag - a Think Outside StowAway Sierra BlueTooth Keyboard. I'm already in love with it. Used in conjunction with my BenQ Wireless Travel Mouse and my Motion Computing LS800 my new mobile desktop for trips away would look something like this.
The bump case for the LS800 includes a built in stand - this is what allows the LS800 to be easily propped up.
One of the key reasons I opted for the Sierra over other folding keyboards is the inclusion of the number keys. This additional row, in conjunction with a Fn key that converts many of the keys to a secondary binding, give a full complement of keys including Funtion keys 1-12. This is very useful on a keyboard that is going to be used in conjunction with a PC. Many of the foldable keyboards on the market are designed primarily for use with PDAs such as Windows Mobile and Palm devices and for that reason do not include the full complement of keys.
Setup was very easy. You press a button on the unit to make it discoverable and then tell your PC to search for devices. Once the device is located you specify the pin on the tablet using the TIP and then type the same pin on the keyboard and press enter. Done.
Folded, the Sierra is about the size of a chunky PDA.
To use the keyboard you flick a latch on the right and unfold...
Then you push the red tabs towards the middle to join the three sections of keys together. The Bluetooth is not enabled until the key sections are joined, so there is no risk of the Sierra transmitting keystrokes, and thus wasting battery, when it is folded up and put away.
On the subject of battery the entire unit runs of a single AAA battery, which works well with my mobilisation strategy of standardising on accessories that use a common battery type. Several other device I own use AAA batteries, so a have a number of rechargable AAA batteries and a USB powered charger. Currently I'm using the included alkaline battery but all I can tell you on battery life at this stage is that it is more than one day of light use.