If you’ve yearned for a physical keyboard on your smartphone akin to those that Blackberry made in the day but are lamenting the fact that practically every phone in the market relies solely on a touchscreen, well, you’re in luck this time around as Samsung has an officially issued keyboard cover specifically designed for the Galaxy S7 Edge. Similar models exist for their highest end flagships – the Galaxy Note 5, the S7, the S6, the S6 Edge and the S6 Edge+ though they’re not interchangeable as the size of each phone is sufficiently different to preclude swapping.
The keyboard cover for the S7 Edge consists of a textured flexible polycarbonate casing that snaps onto the phone with reinforced bumpers for each corner along with a detachable QWERTY keyboard.
The front, top and bottom of the S7 Edge are unprotected though the corners and the back are sufficiently reinforced to survive a ding or two. A face-down impact may damage the phone unless the snap-on keyboard has already been applied to the front of the phone to mitigate the impact . The polycarbonate used here is flexible and while it looks like it has a grippy surface, it’s fairly slippery so a firm grip is needed.
Performance & Conclusion
The main draw to the phone, the keyboard cover, is a surprisingly well thought out example of engineering. It’s unpowered, so you needn’t drain precious juice to keep it running and snaps on to the back of the phone when not in use. The buttons are flat with a smidgen of key travel to provide tactility with the keyboard offering a full QWERTY line up along with physical keys for the home, back and menu button on the S7 Edge.
It even has a numeric keypad overlaid on part of the keyboard. Seeing the compact nature of the keyboard, almost all of the keys perform double duty with the aforementioned numbers as well as emoji and punctuation accessed by holding down the Alt key. The nature of the design means that the keyboard isn’t designed for one-handed use; you’ll need both paws to hammer text out. Once attached, the keyboard takes up a good two or three inches of the bottom of the screen though the display crops itself accordingly. Taking the keyboard off makes the touchscreen revert back to its original format.
Typing texts out takes a bit of a learning curve to get used to the key positioning but it required little more than a few tries to get used to the layout. The S7’s camera shortcut key still works by pressing the physical home button on the keyboard though you’ll get best results with the keyboard detached. If you’re using the camera when the keyboard is attached, it will end up inadverdently cropping the photo from whatever your original aspect ratio was to a squarish looking 1:1 ratio.
It’s also incompatible with the S7 Edge’s dual window mode so you can’t open up a web browser and type notes in at the same time though, there isn’t much space to do open up two windows simultaneously anyway. That aside, it works just fine with one app at a time and while you can’t navigate solely with it on a web browser, it does a superb bang-up job when you have to crunch through a 500 word article on your phone. When tested with Google Docs, the built-in Memo app and WPS Office, it parsed everything correctly with minimal typos and sufficient responsiveness.
If you’re focused on an accessory that expands the functionality of your S7 Edge in regards to writing large amounts of text in a more efficient manner, this is it. For roving wordsmiths and those dealing with large amounts of the written word, this is an indispensable accessory that expands your productivity significantly. Those who are just texting or casually web browsing will likely not gain as much utility from it.
Price Galaxy S7 Edge Keyboard cover RM245, Galaxy Note 5 Keyboard cover RM279, Galaxy S7 Keyboard cover RM215, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge and S6 Edge+ Keyboard cover RM279
We We Liked Responsive and well built keyboard, doesn’t drain the battery, works with wireless charging
What We Didn’t Keyboard is not backlit, casing could offer more protection, incompatible with multi window mode on the S7 Edge
What We Say If you need to type out long e-mails, texts and otherwise rely on your Galaxy S7 Edge as a heavy duty paper crunching device, you’ll find this a highly appealing option that’s worth a look.
*Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia