Belkin G700 Keyboard for the Sony CLIE T Series Review

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Clié T Series PDAs

I was tremendously excited
about the impending arrival of the
Belkin G700 PDA
Keyboard for my
Sony Clié T615C (Belkin Part Number:
had been following its progress across the US via the UPS tracking
and even left work early the day I learned it had been
delivered to my doorstep.
Finally, I imagined, I could fulfill my
dream of using the T615C as a laptop
replacement, much as I had its
predecessors, the Apple Newton MessagePad 2100
and the Palm Vx —
each of which had an external keyboard added as its first and
essential accessory. When I bought the T615C a few months ago, I was

unaware that none of the third-party manufacturers had yet supplied
a keyboard
for the Sony T-series Palm Powered PDAs. Think Outside promised a
keyboard for the T-series by mid-to-late-August (now,
"fourth quarter 2002"),
but when I read that Belkin had a
keyboard for sale in early July, I leapt at

Well, you
might save yourself the trouble of reading any further if I tell you

that I am NOT writing this review using the G700 keyboard. Despite
some very
clever engineering design and reasonable keyboard feel,
the G700 is unusable,
and I will be returning it to Belkin soon.

The G700 arrived in a blister package with a CD-ROM and
an adaptor to allow you
to charge the Clié while it is
sitting in the keyboard (a nice touch by Belkin).
After opening the
package, I played with the keyboard to see if I could open it

without resorting to the instructions. Soon, I had the keyboard
sitting flat on
the table with the PDA rest/cradle open to a
comfortable angle.

Closed, the keyboard measures 9.5 by
14.8 cm, about twice the overall size of
the T615C, and weighs about
198 gm. I do not find the moderate size too
objectionable, however,
since most often I would carry the keyboard in my
briefcase or
knapsack rather than in a pocket (with the Palm Vx I carried a

GoType keyboard, that was quite a bit larger than the PDA

The keyboard opens and closes with a clever butterfly
pull, reminiscent of some
of IBM’s older Thinkpad designs, almost
doubling in width to 25.2 cm. It took me
a few minutes to understand
how to close the G700, until I realized that the
exact same outward
pull on the keyboard wings that opened the keyboard also
closed it.
That is a very clever and user-friendly feature, and I congratulate

the Belkin engineers on how smoothly it all works.

The keyboard feels slightly smaller than
standard, but purports to be almost
full size (17 mm keyspacing,
about 89% of full length). The keyboard feels
slightly flexible,
even on a hard surface. The individual keys depress smoothly
(2 mm
of key travel, the box says) — in fact, too smoothly for my taste: I

prefer some sort of a click to inform me the key has been depressed.
The driver
software has a setting to add an audible click, but as
you will see later, I
never had a chance to enable that

The CD-ROM contains the keyboard drivers and a
PDF manual, not too badly
translated from Chinese. Thankfully, the
drivers are accessible from my
Macintosh rather than using a
proprietary Windows-only installer (by the way,
the Clié
T615C works like a treat, without third-party drivers, on all my

USB-equipped Macintoshes running either Mac OS 9 or OS X and Palm
Desktop 4.0).
Double-clicking the driver (FoldableKB.prc) queues it
up for installation during
the next HotSynch, which I proceeded to
do. Surprisingly, installation of the
Belkin driver required a
restart of the T615C, which also went without incident.

At this point my excitement was mounting. I was
already planning a trip to the
local coffee shop to work on some
manuscripts in WordSmith on the T615C using my
new keyboard. Hoo,
boy! Alas, this was never to be.

After plugging in the T615C
to the keyboard (the adaptor is hinged and tricky to
plug in
correctly), I typed a few words into a new memo:

"This is a test of the new Belkin keyboard.

"It feels pretty flexible, and the space-bar is not
"Does this even work for longer than one or two
sentences? It seems like the
driver is VERY flaky.
this might not be so good a keyboard, after all.
"Does this
seem to be working more smoothly now? The driver seems to be the

major problem. Hmmm…."

The problem —
that is not reflected in the memo above — is that, after five or six

seconds of inactivity, the keyboard would cease responding, and no
more text
would be transferred to the screen. Only by unplugging the
T615C from the
keyboard, turning it on and off, and replugging it
into the adaptor could I
resume typing. That is, until I paused
again for more than a few seconds. This
effectively made the G700
completely unusable.

More recently I learned that Belkin had
made two new drivers for the G700
available on their

. I am sorry to report that neither driver improved things,
seemed to work for a few minutes.
Sadly and ironically (in light of
its name) though, the new driver was unable to
resume typing after
the T615C awoke from sleep. Sigh.

Sony has recently shipped
own version
of the Think Outside Stowaway
keyboard for the
Clié T series of Palm portables. I have one on order now, and
I look forward to giving it a more favorable
review than Belkin’s
ingenious but failed effort.


Clever butterfly
Good keyboard size
Can recharge while

Tricky adaptor
Off-center space bar can interfere with touch
Buggy driver
Impossible to type more than three or
four words at a time before driver fails
Driver interrupts
Driver fails after sleep


Product Information

  • Clever butterfly
  • design
  • Good keyboard size
  • Can recharge while
  • typing
  • Tricky adaptor
  • plug
  • Off-center space bar can interfere with touch
  • typing
  • Buggy driver
  • Impossible to type more than three or
  • four words at a time before driver fails
  • Driver interrupts
  • HotSynching
  • Driver fails after sleep

About The Author

24 thoughts on “Belkin G700 Keyboard for the Sony CLIE T Series Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Good review. Nice backpack. My previous post in the shoulder strap review talked about the eBags Firewall Laptop brief that I bought. I think I would have test driven this thing before making a decision. My biggest complaint with Backpacks has been the lack of structured storage space. This one seems the same inside the large compartment. After 10 years of using a backpack, I’m pretty happy with the Firewall….

    But I may still test drive this one

  3. I do take my backpacks out in the snow and rain, so my main concern is that the open pockets on the front are exposed to the elements (with little other than the Shell to shield them). The pictures on the Booq website suggest putting things like memory sticks and flash media in the front storage array, and I’m concerned about the effects of moisture, etc. or say I slip on an icy patch and fall into snow or something.

    The other thing is that I’d like to use something like this as carry-on luggage to take on an airplane. With my laptop filling one compartment, it doesn’t sound like too much room left in 2.5″ of depth for lose-your-luggage-emergency change of clothes and toiletry kit.

    I’ve been on the fence about buying the BP3 System for several months now. A test drive of the product here in Canada means importing the product, and that entails shipping, handling, duties imposed by customs, interference from customs brokerage houses, and what-have-you. So, the more info I can get from good reviews like this before I take the plunge, the better.

  4. Tasty,

    If you are carrying your laptop, then space would be a bit limited. But I think you could fit one change of clothes in the main compartment, and you could fit your toiletries into the dome pocket on the front and the two big side pouches/pockets.

    I am not sure how much gear you carry in addition to the emergency change of clothes, but it might work for you.

    I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this bag, but I won’t even get to keep it…my daughter has claimed it. :p

    Judie :0)

  5. Guys:

    This bag seems to be the “ONE.” I have been looking for a back pack for some time. The most important thing is quality and style. I have been using a Brenthaven brief for almost 10 years and I just want something different now. Brenthaven’s backpack’s are pricey and not very stylish. So, I had not switched yet. But you should note that the Brenthaven brief has performed beyond my expectations and has set the standard that I will come to expect for quality.

    I first saw one of Booq’s print ads. Then went to their web site. Not convinced, I forgot about it until I read your review. I then went back to the Booq web site and called Booq. Within hours I ordered the BP3 System (Navy w/ Kahki shell, although my daughter wanted me to get the Orange shell, it was a little bright for business use). When I receive it I will post a review.

    But your great review pushed me over the edge to get the BP3 ! Thanks for the great review !

  6. Brad,

    You are right about Brenthaven’s quality. I will never forget one of my first reviews was on their PDA case. While that thing was fugly – it was built like a tank.

    I don’t think you will be dissapointed in the Booq – keep us posted.

    Judie :0)

  7. Man if I see a grown person running around at the conference center with one of these I’ll probably think he’s some nerd fresh from college.

    This sh!t is like an army bag, who would carry this unless you were in Iraq fighting the Iraqis.

  8. I think this bag is very cool but will it hold a 15 inch powerbook? I have found that the widescreen can be a problem when finding a good quality bag for it.

  9. Judie:

    I received the BP3 System yesterday. The construction is excellent. However, this bag is BIG, but in the wrong demensions for business use. The side pouches are too big and deep, the velcro releases on th shell are awkward to use to gain access to the underlying pockets; the main compartment is not shaped right for business papers (too wide); and most importantly, although well padded (even without the sleeve) the computer storage section is too difficult to get in and out of.

    The sleeve is nice, but not necessary as there really is ample padding. Finally, I don’t see much use for the phone bag and the PDA bag, as those items need to be easily accessable and messing with another bag to get to them is cumbersome.

    I wanted this bag to work in the worst way, but it just does not work for me. I would love to see a review of the Brenthaven Executive Backpack.

  10. Brad,

    Well that is bad news! Thanks for letting us know about your experience with the Booq, and I will see what we can do about the Brenthaven.

    Judie :0/

  11. Judie:

    Also, if you do contact Brenthaven, your comparison of the Executive Backpack and the Urban Backpack would be valuable.

  12. I feel that I must chime into this discussion on Booqbags. I ordered a Powersleeve 15 a month or so ago and haven’t had an outlet for my frustration with the company. While I have to say that they make an excellent product (with one caveat), their customer service is horrendous.
    I purchase a new Powerbook 15″ recently and followed the chart on their website to determine sizing for the correct booqbag. The PS 15 was supposed to fit all 15″ Powerbooks, so I placed my order. They took my money very quickly and shipped the product. The only problem is that the new Powerbook is slightly larger in dimension than the previous model. I called AND email Booq several times to try and work something out. (I think they sent me an older PS 15 bag!–The dimensions listed on the website conflicted with the attached tag on my PS 15 bag.)
    They have never returned any correspondence. 😡 This is only my experience and should be taken as such.

    Are you planning on returning your backpack? If so, I would really like to know what your experience was like.

    In any case, I wanted you all to know that they were quick to take my $$, but they have POOR/NON-EXISTENT post-sale customer service

    Eddie J.
    [email protected]

  13. Thanks for asking about my experience with Booq. I knew right away the bag was not the one for me. I followed their instructions and sent it back. About a week after they received it I received an e-mail regarding my credit. Can’t ask for more than that except maybe a call to see what went wrong ?

  14. Brad,
    I’m happy to hear that you had a good experience in returning it at least. I couldn’t get a response either way from them. Hopefully you’ll find a bag/backpack that fits your needs both functionally as well as aesthetically! =)


  15. I like the look of the Booq and ordered he BP3, but it came bigger than I expected. Lots of compartments and pockets and solid construction.

    I have previously used the Spire Zoom ( for three years and were very happy with it until my new Dell Latitude D800’s extra length requires a larger bag, and unfortunately Spire’s new models did not look as well designed as the older models.

    I have then purchasrd a Mobile Select backpack from Ebags, returned after one day. Must give Ebags a thumb up for ease of return with no shipping charge and hassle.

    Now onto the Cons of this backpack:

    (1) The handle on the top is flimsy. Even a $30 backpack has better handle nowadays.

    (2) Of all the compartments available, there is no place to clip a few pens. The only possible locations – under the shell all the way to the left and right side of the outer pockets.

    (3) The laptop compartment is too wide. I understand it is designed to hold an extra sleeve, but without it, the fit is not snug. My old Spire came with a sleeve. But my Dell Latitude 800 will not fit after a sleeve is added because as it is now, it is barely fitting in height, but too much room width wise.

    (4) This backpack does not stand up straight. Something about it. Most backpack when fully loaded will stand up straight at least when leaned against the wall, this one will not. I think it is because of the extra wide shoulder straps and the padding at the bottom is not “flat” on the outside. The extra wide shoulder strap is not comfortable either and if you wear an overcoat this shoulder strap may not fit well over heavy layered clothing.

    (5) Need to find a way to tuck away the waist straps so it does not dangle when not in use. To this day I have yet to see people use the waist strap, most do not go hiking and camping with this.

    (6) Ah the side pockets – I like to see some variations. Would be nice to have this construction on one side but the other side have a half height one, or one with a horizontal zipper across the could be opened and a water bottle pushed in? A mesh fitter pocket somewhere on the outside will be nice.

    (7) Zippers – I think this is the biggest letdown on this for me. The zippers do not zip well. Both the Spire and Mobile Select have bigger and better zipper, it makes a difference when the zipper is hard to use. I tried each of the compartments and I have to hold one side with one hand and then zip/unzip with the other. Most high end bags I have used you can zip/unzip with one hand.

    (8) The interior clip is located incorrectly. If hangs over a zipper opening so you must move whatever you are hanging out of the way.

    I am searching for the ultimate backpack and the search continues…

    What is Booq’s return policy like?


  16. After three days of consideration I decided to return the backpack and go with Tom Bihn’s SmartAlec.

    Visited Boog’s website and there is a form you fill out to file a return / claim. I filled it in and await notification – did not hear from them in 2 days.

    Visited the web site again and noticed it says you do not need to file a claim to return, simply mail the bag back and they will be refunded. I did precisely that and three weeks have gone by – no notification of receipt, no refund credit. Not a word.

    I filed another claim form asking for status – no reply for two days.

    Just emailed theiir customer service asking for status, will post my experience. FWIW, a backpack I ordered from eBags was returned and credited within a week, and with free return shipment.


  17. Email them about the returned merchandise. Got an automated reply saying they got my email. Now 5 days later, not a word.

    Customer Service – two thumbs down.


  18. Nothing like resurrecting a dead thread for some info.

    I got my BP3 system with PowerSleeve 15 today and the bag is too freaking small! The PowerSleeve will * NOT* fit in the bag. Is this normal? I can almost understand the zippers being a little stiff, but the PowerSleeve is supposed to fit in the bag — right? It’s like they made mine 2″ too short.

  19. Hey all of you, I tried the Booq and had similar complaints. I really wanted it to work but to no avail. I searched and found SpireUSA. I bought the new FUSE bag. This bag is FANTANSTIC ! It will hold just about any computer, it is very well made (I know since I was previously using a Brenthaven bag), and it is stylish and easy to travel with. I get stopped in my building almost daily by people admiring the bag ! Sure it could have a pocket or two extra, but it really does the job ! Go to their website and check it out !

  20. Judie –

    I am trying to decide between buying the Booqbag PS3, or the Spire ‘Fuse’/’Meta’ or Samsonite Laptop Sports Backpack. Any plans to review the latter ones?

    I am a student with a long commute on public transit, so I need a bag that can carry plenty of textbooks and binders, along with my laptop/PDA/mobile, and yet be comfortable to walk around with. I’m also looking for a bag that will accomodate a thermos with dimensions of 9 3/4″ height with a 2 3/4″ base diameter, and it doesn’t sound like the PS 3 side pockets will do the trick based on the dimensions listed in your review. Is there any other spot in the PS3 where I could fit my thermos?


  21. akapur, I wish I could answer your question, but it has been almost 3 years since I did the review and I no longer have the bag. 🙁

    I don’t really think that there is a better place to put your thermos than the side pockets of the Booq bag, but you are right that they don’t sound like a good match based on the measurements we have both given.

    I have some other laptop backpack reviews coming up, maybe something else will be a better match for you. :0)

  22. I’m right now looking for a backpack to house a macbook pro 15.4″. That being said i really can’t choose between the spire Fuse and this BP3. I’m a college student so space for books is a must and i’ll probably be biking a lot to and from college. Backpacks seem more safe for a labtop than a messenger bag, and the reviews for both bags put them ahead of the rest. any advice between the two or even any up-to-date newer backpack models would be great, price for me doesn’t really matter since to me spending $200 to protect a $2k investment is worth it. Thanks!

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