Sometimes the PS3’s on-screen keyboard can seem slow and cumbersome. If you’re a frequent user of PS:Home or just end up messaging or text chatting your friends frequently you might find yourself in the market for a PS3 keypad.
First it should be noted that almost any USB wired, wireless (with a dongle) – or bluetooth keyboard should work perfectly on the PS3 already. For a lot of people putting a small or even full sized keyboard on your lap while gaming is the best option. These keypads are really for users who want a small solution that wont use up living room space.
Compared to the official Sony keypad the first thing you’ll notice is the buttons are much bigger. Over 2x bigger by my reckoning. The keys feel good, with nice clearance. There is no click to them, just a rubbery feel like some calculators or an old Spectrum. This won’t be to everyone’s taste but i prefer it to the clicky but virtually no clearance of the official keypad.
The keypad runs off two AAA batteries and they last a long time. Months in my case – probably down to the auto-off feature. It’s very easy to forget to turn off the keypad. There’s a small on/off switch on the side anyway.
Quite unique to the logic3 pad is the mounting bracket. It’s clear plastic and grips the centre section of the controller, keyboard accessible above the shoulder buttons. On an official DualShock3 controller there is ample space between the pad and the L1/R1 buttons. Again it’s a little less cramped than the official design. The keypad also comes with a bracket for logic3 DS3 equivalents – if anyone uses them!
Rather than using bluetooth the Logic3 comes with a plain black (quite chunky by modern standards) USB dongle. It syncs instantaneously and is really no problem if you have a hub plugged in to your PS3, or one of the older 4 port models. If on the other hand you’re using the two ported PS3 Slim you could find having to keep a dongle plugged in a problem.
An advantage of the dongle and removable bracket design is that the keyboard can be easily switched between different consoles and PCs. It can be used comfortably as a media centre keypad and actually looks quite nice sitting without its bracket on.
One problem comes from making the buttons so big. There isn’t enough space to fit common keys like backspace as individual buttons. Instead, to do a lot of things.. Backspace, cursor keys – you have to hold down the “symbol” button. This isn’t ideal and can make using the pad without looking a little difficult at first. There is a steeper learning curve with this pad than the official one.
With the keyboard attached the controller does become a bit back-heavy. This can feel slightly odd at first but adding a little heft to the DS3 might not be a bad thing anyway. I’ve not found it uncomfortable during long play sessions.
Although cheaper than the official keypad I only recommend it for certain usage scenarios. It may be superior if you have big fingers, and it’s much better if you intend to use it on more than just one PS3, as it’s easy to switch by just moving the dongle. I’m not convinced they couldn’t have put more of the common functions as separate keys, and the clumsiness of the layout is where the setup loses marks. The design is sturdy and straightforward, but not as attractive as the official keypad. Saying that – it doesn’t have superfluous features like “track-pad” mode.
As an aside, I think the “messenger kit” is completely wasted on the Xbox360. There just aren’t that many opportunities for typing on the 360. That is a beautifully well thought out product with no gimmicks, just good functional design and well sized keys. Sofar I don’t rate any of the PS3 keypads that highly, but each obviously has its strengths, so may suit some users more than others.
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