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Review: Warming Up to Tablets with Keyboard Covers

Review: Warming Up to Tablets with Keyboard Covers
By Anick Jesdanun

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Tablets like Nokia's Lumia 2520 (seen here) and Microsoft's Surface Pro come with keyboards and are billed as laptop replacements, but one reviewer says both devices are good tablets on their own, but fall short of being laptop replacements. Still, the Lumia has a better price and a better keyboard cover for carrying and typing.
 


It took some travels across the country for me to appreciate a tablet with a keyboard cover. I've long asked, "Why not just get a laptop?" I didn't see any benefits in turning a tablet into something it is not.

The device I warmed up to isn't Microsoft's Surface tablet, although I'll have more to say on the new model that comes out Friday. Rather, it's the first tablet from Nokia, whose phone and tablet business Microsoft just bought in April.

The Lumia 2520 came across as just another Windows tablet when it was released last fall. My attitude changed once I attached its optional, $150 keyboard cover. The tablet itself starts at about $600 and includes 4G LTE cellular capabilities.

Open the cover to reveal a keyboard with six rows of real, movable keys. The bottom of the tablet goes into a slot just above the top row. The top of the tablet is secured with a plastic grip built into the cover. Unfold the cover all the way to get the touch pad for mouse controls.

The cover is bulky and feels like a hardcover book when folded because it incorporates a spare battery. The cover also nearly doubles the weight to about 2.6 pounds. But that battery offers a hard surface underneath the keys and makes it feel as though you're typing on a real laptop. The hard surface also makes it possible to hold the setup with one hand, just like a real laptop.

I appreciated having the Lumia's keyboard cover to look up driving directions from the cramped back seat during a drive down California's Pacific Coast. Typing on a tablet's touch-screen keyboard would have been awkward, and pulling out a full-fledged laptop would have been uncomfortable.

On the flight to California, my 13-inch MacBook laptop was too big when the jerk -- I mean passenger -- in front of me reclined all the way back. The 10-inch Lumia was just the right size. And on a train from California to Colorado, the tablet with the cover was easier to carry to the car with the snack bar.

I was able to type fast and well with the Lumia's keyboard cover.

Unfortunately, the touch pad itself doesn't sit on a hard surface, making the cursor hard to control, especially on a lap. And the keyboard is sometimes unresponsive after being idle, requiring me to remove the cover and reconnect it.

The touch pad for Microsoft's new 12-inch Surface Pro 3 is better than Lumia's. The new Surface starts at $799 and needs the $130 cover to be useful for heavy typing. The models that start shipping Friday are mid-range configurations that cost a few hundred dollars more. There's no cellular version available. (continued...)

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© 2014 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
 

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ulrich krauskopf:

Posted: 2014-06-30 @ 1:50pm PT
mostly agree. windows 8.1 upgrade would be perfect, more than 1 viewing angle is a must and either change to a usual charger port like micro usb or at least offer international prongs for the one they have.



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