Price (RRP): $99.95
If you are a Blackberry lover, then the new Tech21 Evo Type is your answer. It adds a full QWERTY replete with Fn and special keys to your Galaxy Note10 or Note10+/5G
Now, the Tech21 Evo Type is crafty – there are no wires, no battery or connectors. Where does it get its power from?
The answer is that Tech21 Evo Type connects via NFC and draws power wirelessly from the phone. No, it is not via the Wireless PowerShare reverse charging feature or Bluetooth either.
So, I set out to investigate the Tech21 Evo Type
- Website here
- Price: $99.95
- Warranty: 1 year
When you attach it for the first time (two different sizes for Note10 or Note10+/5G) and press the power button, the Note10 screen directs you to download the Evo Type app from Google Play.
The case connects via NFC (peer-to-peer mode). NFC enables Samsung and Google Pay’s use of PayWave and MST terminals – it is called Magnetic induction for data transfer.
NFC works up to about 100mm and can transmit and receive up to 15mA of power – similar in concept to Qi charging.
Now NFC is also very slow – 106, 212 or 424kbps, so that is fine to capture keystrokes (perfect for hunt and peck speeds). But go too fast and you may lose some strokes.
It replaces a typical bumper case with a black bumper case and a keyboard flap (looks to be covered by an Alcantara like fabric) with a magnetic clasp. There is a kickstand on the rear to stand the screen at 140°. The keyboard needs to be in landscape mode to work.
It still works with Qi charging pads. It claims to withstand 3-metre drops.
The app has settings for power use, Auto-capitalisation, alter touch sensitivity, a range of spelling corrections and suggestions etc. It needs to run in the background. It appears to require internet connectivity, and there is a setup warning that what you type may not be secure. I suspect that is not an issue.
It does not interfere with the Samsung on-screen keyboard, and you can use it with the S-Pen. Note that the keyboard does not have any keypress throw – there is no haptic feedback. There is also gesture control – swipe left/right or up/down.
GadgetGuy’s take – Tech21 Evo Type if you miss a Blackberry
After a week of use and 110g extra weight, I suspect that it is not for me – at least all the time. I may use it for travels and for writing longer tomes, but I doubt that I would use it daily. But that is just me. Don’t get me wrong – at $99.95 you can afford to buy and try.
Blackberry users are heartily sick of waiting for the Key2 – and it may just suit them. The world’s best phone now has arguably the world’s best (and we suspect only NFC) keyboard.
Or if you are not fussy about such a close integration, many battery-operated Bluetooth keyboards will also work.
Rating this is hard. It is unique, well made, it works as advertised, and Tech21 is an excellent company. All those are positives – it is the ‘use’ case that really sells this.