Review: Sony Wireless Keypad

ps3chatpad

After much soul-searching, and even more searching of store shelves, I was finally able to get my hands on Sony’s ‘magic bullet’ for PS3 text chat and web surfing.

Was it worth the $49.99?

You’ll only know if you look inside.

Anyone who’s ever tried to ‘type’ out a long message on the PS3 using a controller knows it can be frustrating. And surfing the web on your PS3 using the analog sticks as a mouse? It feels like a dog turd rolling down a slight incline, covered in molasses, on a cold January day.

A few other solutions have come from Logitech, Pelican, and Gameshark, but this is the OFFICIAL Sony product, so we should expect more, right? Besides, as far as I can tell, the Pelican/Gameshark keypad are no longer available.

Sadly, if you were looking for the final solution, you may want to look elsewhere.

keypad2The keypad itself snaps easily onto your DualShock/Sixaxis, and feels well integrated; the balance of the controller doesn’t seem to be changed much. Synching the device to your PS3 is as easy as attaching it with a USB cable and turning it on.

The buttons themselves are a little… shallow? There’s not much feedback in the way of a ‘click’ to let you know you’ve actually typed a character. That being said, if you’ve used a wireless phone with a decent QWERTY keyboard, you should be used to the sensation, and if not, the learning curve isn’t that bad.

What IS bad is the touchpad integration. By clicking a small button, the device instantly converts in a one big INSANELY SENSITIVE touchpad. The entire keyboard face becomes a twitchy mess, essentially unusable for any type of control. Although the keypad comes with a calibration mode built in, it just made the glitches and jumps move in a slightly less random fashion.

Having fingers the size of bratwursts, I ran into a second problem with the touchpad mode: while typing, I frequently activated the touchpad mode by accident. This would cause characters to stop registering, and depending on what I was doing at the time, sometimes I would be thrown to completely different screens.

Supposedly you can ‘click’ using the touchpad by double-tapping… I never got it to work.

Thinking that maybe it was just my inept use of the thing that was causing the problem, I had several other people try it, with identical results.

keypad3

Although it is nice that the keypad has a rechargeable battery (unlike other keyboard or mouse solutions for the PS3), it has to be charged separately from your controller, and has a separate ON/OFF switch.

Why doesn’t someone make a keypad that includes a battery extender for your controller, that uses a single USB port to charge both devices? Just saying… I’d buy one.

The Sony Wireless Keypad is serviceable as a text input device, but fails miserably as a pointing method. If Sony were to release a version that was $10-$15 cheaper, and did not include the touchpad ‘feature’, I’d be tempted.

As it stands now, it’s an epic failure, deserving of your ridicule. I’ll be going back to my Logitech Wireless Keyboard… it works.

Brian has borrowed the keypad, maybe he’ll have better luck.

MATT SAYS – DODGE IT

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