With messaging, chat, and other social elements making their way into gaming consoles, we've seen a rise in QWERTY-based accessories for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Though the online component of the Nintendo Wii isn't fleshed-out, there are times you could use a keyboard.
The $30 Nyko TypePad Pro is the first QWERTY Wii accessory we've seen. It works well, but we're just not sure there are enough uses for it to justify its purchase. Also, to take advantage of TypePad Pro fully, you need to use it with Nyko's Wand controller.
The TypePad Pro is a large Wii controller add-on; its size reminds us of a Sega Dreamcast controller. It has two handles on the rear that have left and right trigger buttons. On its back is a sync button that you'll need to use to bind the TypePad with your system. On its front, you'll find a complete QWERTY keyboard split in half to accommodate a Wii controller down its center. It also has ".com" and "@" symbols along the bottom of the device for easy Web browsing.
Setting up the TypePad is easy. Nyko includes a small USB dongle that you plug into the rear USB port on the Wii. This is how the TypePad communicates with the console. After pairing the TypePad with a Wii, you don't have to do it again.
You won't use your Wii remote much while the TypePad is attached, but it still needs to be connected so that it can provide a power to the keyboard. For this, either a standard Wii remote or Nyko Wand will work. However, if you want to use the TypePad's left and right triggers to act as A and B buttons, you need to use a Nyko Wand since it is the only Wii controller able to receive those commands via its Transport interface. You can arrange the A and B buttons either way you'd like using the toggle switch at the bottom of the TypePad.