CELLMACS iPhone 4/4S Sliding Bluetooth Keyboard Case and Stand Combo Review

Sometimes when I’m being nostalgic and remembering how much I loved the Palm Treo smartphone, I start wishing my iPhone had a physical keyboard. Real keys beat touchscreen keyboard keys any day right? I decided to find out by trying the iPhone 4/4S Sliding Bluetooth Keyboard Case and Stand Combo from CELLMACS, which adds a slide out keyboard to your iPhone.

Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.

The keyboard case is comprised of two parts. The top part is a snap on plastic case that is made specifically for the iPhone 4 or 4S.

It provides a cutout for the camera lens and LED flash.

It also allows access to the mute and volume buttons.

The speakers and docking port are easily accessible. You’ll also notice a 2nd docking port connector and a power switch on the lower half of the keyboard case. This is how you charge the keyboard. Since it’s Bluetooth and does not have a physical connection to the iPhone, it requires its own battery. You can you use your iPhone cables to charge this keyboard.

When the keyboard is charging, the status LED will light up in Red and will turn off when charging is completed. Next to the LED is a small button that is used to initiate pairing mode.

To use the keyboard, you slide the power switch to the On position, pair it with the iPhone and then slide out the keyboard. It has a nice spring loaded sliding mechanism that feels sturdy.

The QWERTY keyboard is flat, but the keys have good physical and audible feedback when pressed.

The keys are are also backlit, which is a nice feature.

The layout is ok. It’s obviously not a full sized keyboard that you can touch type on, so it’s hard to criticize it for being small. I do like that there’s a row of dedicated number keys and that access to punctuation symbols isn’t too difficult. What I don’t particularly like is the location of the space bar. I’d rather it was in the bottom center instead of off to the right.

The only iOS specific key is a home button in the upper left corner.

A feature which adds a little pizzaz to this case is the fact that keyboard case doubles as a stand. It is on a hinge that you can tilt up to make your iPhone look like a tiny laptop.

 

You can angle the iPhone like you see above or lift it all the way to 90 degrees.

I like the stand feature, but the keyboard, not so much. I’ve been using it off and on for a week or so and my nostalgic feelings for a physical keyboard wore off really quickly. For me, it felt harder to use this physical keyboard than the onscreen version. There are three main reasons, why I would not personally use this product. First of all, it’s too bulky for my taste. It doubles the thickness of the iPhone. Secondly, double tapping the space bar does not automatically insert a period and then auto capitalize the next word like when you use the onscreen keyboard. And lastly, words do not auto correct when spelled incorrectly. These last two complaints are probably not the fault of this particular keyboard. It’s been awhile since I’ve used one, but I’m guessing all Bluetooth keyboards perform the same. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. Regardless, it still annoys me. I never really hated the iPhone’s onscreen keyboard in the first place, but now I appreciate it even more than I did before. That said, I still wouldn’t mind having the ability to switch the onscreen keyboard with Swype or Swiftkey replacements. Oh yeah, that’s only for Android. Drats 😉

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15 thoughts on “CELLMACS iPhone 4/4S Sliding Bluetooth Keyboard Case and Stand Combo Review”

    1. @Fred I’ve not seen any… Since there are so many different Android phones, it is probably difficult to decide which phone to create a special keyboard / case.

  1. Hi, I would like to use the keyboard with my Blackberry Torch 9860. Unlike most BBs, this one does not have a keyboard. I realize I’d have to modify the phone holding part of this to hold the BB, but do you know of any reason why the bluetooth keyboard would not pair with my torch? I know that the torch can pair with standard bluetooth keyboards. thanks! Van

  2. Thanks, Julie. I’m an engineer and like to tinker with things. I compared my BB Torch to a friend’s iPhone 4 last night and they are very close in size. The BB Torch is just slightly longer and rounder on each end, but it might work, since the cellmacs case is open on both ends. I may need to widen the opening just a little. The camera lens cutout will not line up, but it should be an easy mod to the case backing to allow pictures while the keyboard is slid out of the way. I get a free BB Torch/service plan through my employer, but they don’t offer the iPhone. I’ll give this a try and let you know how it goes. take care, Van

  3. @van- doesn’t the torch already have a slide out portrait keyboard?? It’s the older BB-Storm that doesn’t…

  4. @anson – some Torch models do have a slide out keyboard, but my company only offers the Torch 9860 (for our company phones) which does not have a keyboard. The Torch 9800 does have a slide out portrait keyboard as you described. I can’t get used to the virtual keyboard on the 9860, maybe iPhones are better. My typing speed has been cut to about 1/10 of what it was by the time I fix all the typos.

  5. Just to follow up – this keyboard will not work with a Blackberry Torch. The Torch uses SPP serial port profile, while the iPhone uses HID human interface device protocol for bluetooth keyboards. The two protocols are incompatible. The are some larger bluetooth keyboards have a switch to select either of these protocols. Too bad, this would have been nice.

  6. i bought it
    theres 2 “t”s onthe keyboard
    one of which being where the “y” should be though the y still works as a y without the key saying it
    still gonna return and get a new one

  7. I just bought this case, and the phone says make sure it’s in range, and switched on, which it is.. Can you help me?

  8. hannah4skywalker

    i just bought this case and a whole row of keys arent working as well as the fn key so i think im going to return it and get a new one

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