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Tablet PC2.com Accessory of the Month

October 2003 - November 2003

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The "WOW Factor Continues......

Motion Computing
M-Series Hardtop Keyboard

  Motion Hardtop keyboard

Review by Linda A. Epstein

The "WOW" factor continues as once again Motion Computing gives us the perfect combination of simple elegance, innovative design and function in the M Series Hardtop Keyboard.

From the moment I saw the Motion M1200 at the Tablet PC launch last November there wasn't a doubt in my mind that Motion Computing was going to give the big boys a run for their money, and they have.  They gave us the M1200 Tablet PC followed by the M1300 Tablet PC with the Centrino processor, and now they are offering one of the most impressive accessories I have seen to date. The M Series Hardtop Keyboard.

 

hardtop keyboard

The hardtop Keyboard is convenience at It's best. you have a19mm key-pitch keyboard, right and left click mouse buttons, pointer, and an adjustable easel all contained in a sleek 1.25 pound package that snaps over the face of the Motion Tablet PC and doubles as a protective cover.    It's The perfect combination form and function in one small package. You also have the additional convenience of snapping it onto the back of the Tablet while working and not using the keyboard.

Motion Hardtop keyboard

When you're ready to use the keyboard you simply rise the built in easel, connect the attached USB 1.1 cable and you're ready to work in landscape mode. For those who prefer to work in portrait mode a extension cable is provided.  When you disconnect the keyboard from the tablet you simply lift up on the sliding panel at the back of the keyboard and the easel folds back into the keyboard.

Convenience at it's best, the hardtop Keyboard is a take anywhere, use anywhere accessory that you can't imagine being without once you've used it.  From the boardroom, airplane, the bleachers at a little league game, sitting on a pillow in bed or even under the dryer at the beauty salon, the Motion Hardtop Keyboard maintains its stability and performs flawlessly.    While I'm fairly certain Motion didn't design the Hardtop Keyboard with the idea that it would be used under the hair dryer at the beauty salon, I can tell you from personal experience that it works just fine in that situation and stability isn't a problem.    

The answer to the Question Why isn't the Motion Hardtop Keyboard wireless?

  • USB connection requires the least power consumption
  • At the present time not all airlines allow the use of wireless products while in flight.
  • Cost, USB is less expensive to implement than wireless.
  • Reliability, USB is currently the most reliable connection
  • USB solution was chosen to provide full backward compatibility with all Motion Tablets - thus protecting our customers' past investments.


Will we see a wireless version in the future?
I don't work for Motion Computing and I don't happen to have a crystal ball handy, but my guess is if and when the airlines allow the use of wireless devices in flight people would be willing to pay the price for a wireless version of the Hardtop Keyboard, so don't count it out

Is it worth the Price?
Now that I have been using it for a few weeks, I can't imagine being without it so my answer is yes. The Motion M Series hardtop Keyboard works anywhere you want it to making it well worth the $99.00 upgrade or $129.99 price tag

The Pros:
Convenience, Convenience, Convenience.   It's a a keyboard, a desktop stand and a protective cover all rolled into one product that snaps on and off in seconds.   The Motion Hardtop Keyboard gives you everything you need in a sleek lightweight package that you can use anywhere.  All of my favorite Ziplinq accessories work with the Hardtop Keyboard.

The Cons:
None that I can find.  The previously reported problem with access to the primary ports was resolved by adding right-angle" USB connector to the hardtop keyboard.

In Conclusion:
This innovative keyboard can be used as a replacement for the traditional hardtop cover that comes with Motions M1200 and M1300 Tablet PC's. Since Tablet PC's have pen and ink capabilities you don't always need access to a keyboard so you don't necessarily need one attached at all times, but It's nice to have one for those time when you do want to use one.

No doubt, once again Motion's intuition and innovation have left other hardware manufacturers scratching their heads wondering why they didn't think of it first...

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