Dell Streak meets Logitech diNovo Mini, keyboard and touchpad fun ensues
One of the best things I've ever done with my Dell Streak so far is to introduce it to my Logitech diNovo Mini keyboard. The keyboard is designed for use with an HTPC/media center but since it's equipped with Bluetooth 2.0 and the Streak (unlike other Android devices) supports Bluetooth keyboards, I figured the two devices would get along.
I knew they would be compatible so I was unfazed when they paired and connected almost instantly, but I was stunned to discover that they just might be soul mates. First of all, just look at them. The Streak sits perfectly on the diNovo Mini's cover; you'd almost think they were made for each other, even though the diNovo is a few years old. Second, not only does the keyboard itself work with the Streak but so does the dual-mode touchpad! And third, some of the other keys work too (e.g., OK/mouse button, volume controls).
Photos and video below.
Here's a quick look at the diNovo Mini:
An ambient light sensor automatically controls the keyboard's backlighting.
The keys always glow orange, but the ClickPad (Logitech's name for the round touchpad) displays a green directional pad in "media remote mode" and glows orange in "cursor mode." A sliding switch to the left of the pad makes switching between modes quick and easy.
The diNovo Mini is powered by a rechargeable 930mAh li-ion battery. A full charge takes about 4 hours and is reportedly good for up to one month of use. A 10-minute quick charge will supposedly provide enough power for about one day of use.
When the Streak and diNovo Mini are connected, keyboard shortcuts appear in the standard menus of the Streak. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any of them to work because there isn't a Menu key or anything equivalent to it on the keyboard.
So yes, the two devices aren't the truly perfect couple. Other flaws of the relationship include:
1. The keyboard base isn't heavy enough to support the Streak, so it will fall over backwards when on a flat surface. An easy fix is to add weights to the bottom of the diNovo or just rest it against something to keep it propped up if you want to use it on a table.
2. The Streak doesn't fit into the keyboard's cover, so there's nothing holding it securely in place. I'm using some pieces of electrical tape in the video below, but I've used it without anything before just fine. The Streak will occasionally slip down when you're thumb typing, though, so be careful.
There are countless ways to keep the device in place, depending on how much you want to modify the keyboard and/or whether you want to attach things to the Streak, so let your imagination be your guide.
3. Because the Streak isn't nestled inside the cover, you can't close it for easy transportation. You need to carry the two units separately.
4. The ClickPad in cursor mode is inconsistent. Sometimes you have to move left on the pad to move up on the screen or up on the pad to move down on the screen. Sometimes moving all over the pad does nothing, while other times a light touch moves things on screen too quickly. There's no on-screen pointer/cursor either, so using the ClickPad in cursor mode definitely takes some getting used to.
5. The volume keys, while they do work, are backwards. You have to hit volume up to lower the volume and volume down to increase it. Odd.
Having said that, though, I'm still very pleased with the way the diNovo Mini and Streak work together.
The diNovo Mini isn't the best thumb-board ever, but it's fairly easy to type on (you can see a quick demo in the video) and I love that the touchpad and some of the other buttons work too. You can even long press the OK key or the middle of the touchpad to simulate a right-click and bring up context menus from links.
Although you won't be able to input text as quickly as on a full-size Bluetooth keyboard, a hardware keyboard like this is a useful accessory for the Streak because it doesn't use any screen space (most soft keyboards cover at least a third of the screen). Some people may also feel more comfortable with a hardware keyboard for some tasks and let's face it, the Streak and diNovo Mini look amazing together.
Watch them in action below.
The Logitech diNovo Mini keyboard retails for $149.99 but can be purchased for less on Amazon.