Seriously Samsung...Why Did You Make This Keyboard?

By Gareth Beavis on at

There's something a bit odd here. Something I'm not really sure about. Something that, despite making no sense at all, has happened.

Well, perhaps that's unfair. Maybe it does make sense when it's conceived in a design meeting somewhere. But then what happened since then is the confusing part.

I'm talking about Samsung's decision to imbue its handsets with a clip-on keyboard. Yes, that monster was real. Both the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and the Note 5 have an accessory that clips onto the front of the phone and lets you eschew the virtual key tapping we're all used to, and instead let you press actual keys to enter your missives.

I guess it kind of makes sense when you think about how many people still have a hankering for the clicky keys from BlackBerrys of yore, but in reality we're well past that.

It's like desperately wanting to get your hands on a NES controller because you remember it being so slim, so lightweight and easy to use, but then trying one out again and realising those glorious memories made sense when your hands were a fifth the size they are now.

It just doesn't work. The keys feel too cramped, the muscle memory accuracy I get when pulling out a BlackBerry again nowhere to be seen.

And on top of that, it's a chunky old accessory too, adding some considerable heft to both phones, which isn't great when these phablets are already rather large.

Samsung's trying to tell us that it'll clip on the back of the phone when not in use, but that's hardly going to conceal it day to day. It'd be like James Bond trying to smuggle one of his girls into another country using a large-bustled skirt.

The only nice thing about the keyboard accessory is the fact it shoves the rest of the screen above it - given it connects wirelessly you're still getting that ace 'futuristic' feel when gadgets talk to each other without any prompting from you.

I get that people still feel nostalgic for tactile keys, and given Samsung likes to push its phablets as productivity devices anything that can speed up typing makes sense.

But ask anyone that saw rumour of this accessory what they think and they'll all recoil. And it's not like Samsung hasn't spent years crafting its onscreen keyboard to work really well - it's very accurate these days (partly due to the tie-in with Swiftkey), arguably one of the best inbuilt options out there.

Samsung loves a bonkers accessory. I'm just not sure anyone else will love this one.