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Targus Universal Wireless keyboard review: Targus Universal Wireless keyboard

The Targus wireless keyboard proves bigger isn't always better.

Bonnie Cha Former Editor
Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.
Bonnie Cha
3 min read
Targus Universal Wireless keyboard
There's simply no missing the Targus Universal Wireless keyboard. This input device is plenty big, the trade-off being--of course--that you get a full-size keyboard that's comparable to those found on many notebooks, and there's the bonus of a directional mousepad. Operating via infrared technology, the Targus is compatible with devices running Palm OS 5.0 and Windows Mobile 2003, though it doesn't support Second Edition. And at $60, it's fairly priced. However, if you're constantly on the go, the Targus's cumbersome design and setup may trip you up. We recommend you take a look at the more travel-friendly PalmOne Universal Wireless keyboard and the Belkin model, or if you can afford to spend a few more dollars, check out the Think Outside Stowaway.

At 5.6 by 5.2 by 1.0 inches and 12.3 ounces, the Targus is easily the largest PDA keyboard we've tested. The black and silver housing sports four rubber grips on the bottom to prevent it from slipping on slick surfaces. Despite its simplistic look, opening the keyboard is a multistep affair. First, you lift the cover that houses the PDA stand and the battery case, then a release button on the left side unleashes the keyboard. We like that Targus included a lock mechanism so that you can use the keyboard on your lap without it collapsing--a feature that was noticeably absent on the Belkin. The PDA stand consists of numerous pieces and makes it unnecessarily complicated to set up. There's an easel-type stand on the back that you can lock into several notches, depending on the angle you want to view your handheld, while three wire prongs are present to hold your PDA in place. Finally, there's a 210-degree rotating infrared arm.


Targus Universal Wireless keyboard

The Good

Full-size keyboard; lock mechanism; directional mousepad.

The Bad

Bulky; cumbersome PDA stand; we experienced some troubles with installation.

The Bottom Line

While the full-size keys are nice, the Targus's dimensions and cumbersome installation trip up an otherwise good keyboard.

We matched the Targus keyboard with the PalmOne Zire 72; however, the included software was outdated, so we had to download an updated driver from the company's Web site. It wasn't a huge hassle but still an inconvenient hiccup. Also, after performing a HotSync operation, we noticed two keyboard utilities were installed on our device. From the IR Keybd5 utility, you can set up the keyboard's repeat and delay rates, assign function keys, and adjust mouse speed. And don't forget to disable all incoming beams under Settings and Connections before using the keyboard.

With the Targus's 18mm key spacing and 3mm key travel, we happily tapped away e-mail and notes without experiencing any cramped fingers. However, we had a couple of complaints. While the keyboard has dedicated numeral keys, they're a bit small, so users with bigger fingers should take note. Also, we didn't understand why the space key was split in two on the left half of the keyboard. Why not stick with one roomy bar? Four shortcut keys line the right side to give you quick access to applications, such as Inbox, Notes, Pocket Word, and Excel. The Targus uses two CR2032 lithium batteries (included), which should last 150 hours with continuous use or 1,100 hours in standby time, according to the company.