VKB Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard
Editor's note: This review was updated after VKB sent us a new keyboard with the correct driver for Windows Mobile support.
We thought we saw some pretty sleek keyboards when we reviewed these PDA accessories last fall, but nothing compares to VKB's Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard (BTVKB). Sure to turn heads, this ultracool gadget projects a full-size "virtual" keyboard on your desk or any flat surface using lasers, one of which projects the keyboard image, while the other senses the touched keys. We garnered a number of oohs and aahs from passers-by as we used the keyboard while on the go throughout our test period. Sadly, looks and concept alone don't make a good product, and the BTVKB's lack of tactile keys may be a turnoff to some. The BTVKB costs about $150 and works with a handful of Bluetooth-enabled Pocket PCs and Palm devices, as well as some smart phones, PCs, and notebooks (you can check for compatibility here).
One of the advantages of the BTVKB, if not its biggest benefit, is the gadget's compact size. At 3.5 by 1.3 by 0.9 inches and 2.8 ounces, it's about the size of a large pack of gum and easily slips into your bag or even pocket. VKB even includes a protective carrying case so that you don't scratch the keyboard's projection and receiver window on the front. With the exception of some silver trim and the small red projection window in the front, the device is cloaked in black, and there aren't any distinguishing features to clue you into its functionality. The power button is located on the left along with the charging socket that's protected by an attached rubber cover; a Reset button is located on the right side, along with a protective cover. On top of the BTVKB is an LED that blinks blue when it's ready for pairing and red when the battery is low. There is also a microswitch on the bottom that must be depressed in order for the keyboard to work; therefore, if you pick up the device or if it tips over, the keyboard turns off. This is a good thing since it prevents any unnecessary battery drain.