Today, lets wrapup the various input methods available on the N810.
The shiny device offers numerous ways to be controled. From the touchscreen to the keyboard going through writing recognition, there should at least be one way that will fit your prefered way of entering information.
First lets speak of the touchscreen. You can either use it with the stylus or your fingers. If the stylus is of course the most precise way, I found out that you can actually be very precise with your fingertips or nails once you get acquainted with it ! For the GMail interface, I prefer to use the stylus as the lines and buttons are kind of small. However, when in a hurry or just checking the Inbox, fingertips will do just fine. For more easy to use apps like Canola (one of the best media player available), camera or other utils, fingers (even large ones like mine) are just great. One thing I found out a little tricky to manage with this touchscreen is the difference between a short and a long pressure. The short one is used for clicking; whereas the long one is used for sliding the display when its too big for the screen. Unfortunately the screen is sometimes too sensitive and its hard to make simple pressures. For example, on the GMail interface, it takes some learning to efficiently click on the lines or buttons. Another thing which is tough to master is text selection. Double clicking a word works every other times, and line/phrase selection is almost impossible. As a result, the best way to select text is to actually use the stylus and simply select the text like you would do with a mouse. To conclude on this item, I would say that the touchscreen works really great, and with some learning, you almost don’t need to use the stylus. Only thing that really needs enhancement is text selection.
The second input method I want to talk about is of course the sliding keyboard. As you know this keyboard is one of the key difference between the N810 and the N800 or iPhone. As I said in my previous post, even though the keys are kind of small, it is really usable (despite my still large fingers) and gives an efficient typing method. In my particular case, I have an azerty version, and all the accentueted characters are available through the Fn function key (like the numbers). Of course usual shortcuts like ctrl+c/v do work and do make global navigation/usage that much simpler. One funny thing with the keyboard is that characters are inverted … Just tought you’d like to know about this twist ! The left part of the keyboard has a navigation push button. Quite frankly I don’t use this button but for navigating long text articles in MaemoWorldPy … I don’t find this button that precise and efficient … But I may be missing something ! One last great thing about this keyboard, is that it allows for an efficient GReader usage thanks to the shortcut, and even if only for that feature, it’s worth the price. So to conclude on this keyboard, its great and well worth the price difference with other devices.
Next input methods are both based on the virtual keyboard. This keyboard is the one that was also available on previous versions of the tablet and which opens up on the bottom side of the screen. There are actually two ways to use it : either by typping characters by characters on a virtual keyboard, or by hand writing the recognition engine doing its best to understand what you are writing. I’m not a big found of those two methods, the first one being definitely too slow, and the second one being kind of a pain to correct the engine’s mistakes. The only good thing is that this input mode automatically shows up when you’re slidding keyboard is hidden, giving you a quick way to enter some text (if you have gloves on for example 😉 ). To conclude on these methods, they’re only an alternative and definitely not an efficient one.
That’s it for this week post … More on another feature next week ! Don’t hesitate to comment on the ones you’d like to be reviewed !