Unfortunately, my Hims QBrailleXL display suddenly died after practically a year of using it.
There were some issues with display that I didn't like (e.g. work with Bluetooth and Windows screen readers when Ins+Shift key combinations didn't work and support of Russian braille tables in built-in apps) but it was okay in general and it worked fine with iOS.
This Hybrid mode was confusing and I practically never used it.
I heard that Humanware displays are much much better, always get new features like USB Hid support and such really cool stuff.
I use Braille with iOS, Windows and Linux and use it mainly for coding, so I prefer 40 cells braille displays.
I am struggling with what is better to choose, Mantis Q40 or Brailliant BI40X?
The things I know:
1. Mantis has Qwerty keyboard. I heard it's extremely cool. But I couldn't find what Bluetooth version it has. Wi-fi isn't important really, since the only thing it can be used in Russia is to update the firmware only. But if it supports 5 GHZ it's cool.
Mantis has 16 GB of internal storage, SD Card which is a little bit outdated IMHO, it doesn't have speakers, volume controls, headphones support.
2. Brailliant has 32 GB of internal storage, has Perkins keyboard which I always feel nostalgic from school and from Perkins brailler, TTS, an ability to listen to books, headphones, stereo speakers and Microphone, Bluetooth 5 and wi-fi 2.4 and 5 GHZ.
I cannot choose between these 2 because one has qwerty keyboard and other doesn't have SD Card, headphones, speakers and stuff. I am not sure if Perkins keyboard will be fine for writing code.
Are there any issues while using Mantis/Brailliant with iOS devices you can mention that for example appear in 1 device and don't appear in another?
For Mantis users, are there things in iOS that cannot be performed from this display that can be performed on Brailliant because of a Qwerty keyboard?
Do you miss not having things that Brailliant has like speakers and headphones in Mantis?
Thank you all in advance for your answers.
By Vsevolod Popov, 12 October, 2022
The speakers don't even work as far as I know
I don't think the speakers on the Brailliant actually work with IOS.
I have a brailliant BI40X pros and cons
Bluetooth works well
32 GB of internal memory
It can get Bookshare, BARD and NFB newsline (though I seldom use them, so I don't know exactly how they behave...)
It has a long battery life
It has a file manager and document editor that work very similarly to the brailleNoteTouch so at least if you know that it will be easy to get used to.
No trouble switching connections
It has a way of checking the battery etc while connected to a bluetooth device with a command that lets you do local commands.
Needs to be disconnected before the idevice is powered off or has a software update (I know the other display I have doesn't)
And I don't think you can turn off low battery warnings because I've looked everywhere, even if you turn beep off it will beep in the middle of the night if the battery gets low enough.
In my experience with the two different units I've had you can't leave the device on your idevice's channel it could cause issues with bluetooth, specifically the idevice will disconnect, but the BI40 will still think it can connect and so you have to reconnect using the "Reconnect devices" button for to work again.
Note that I've never used a different stand-alone display, in my few years of braille with idevice experience so somebody let me know if other displays share these same bluetooth problems.
Thank you for your user review! It is extremely important since it's difficult to find them about such devices and easy to grab the device that won't suit you at the end like I described with QBrailleXL. As far as speakers and iOS devices, it would be cool if they could be used like that, because it would be better to listen to the device from good speaker and not from phone speaker while using the display. Now it would be interesting to hear review from Mantis users. From what I have read here, there are a lot of things that can't be done on Mantis with iOS device since it has a qwerty keyboard, so I am afraid that I grab it, I will be disappointed in the end.
Why I struggle
The other reason why I am struggling so much is because I want to get a device that will have good support in terms I have any questions etc. It was really frustrating to ask Hims support to fix the bluetooth's key combinations bug, get an answer that it will may be fixed and understand that it will never be done actually. Also the frustrating thing is that I bought a display with my own money, I didn't get it and I get such support. The same thing applies to Russian literal braille tables support. I am not telling that company immediately should apply new changes without priorities, but to take them into a count, like Humanware who listens to clients from Russia, and users have a choice to have Liblouis computer, literal braille table or duxbarry tables if they want. So I am also struggling what to choose between brailliant or Mantis to have longer and better high-quality support. Thank you for all recomendations and tips!
It would be cool if we could…
It would be cool if we could make the speakers on a brail device act like a bluetooth speaker. Never really thought of that.
I completely agree regarding researching these devices. There are some reviews out there, but they are few and cursory.
One thing I'd like to know, is can the Brailliant play M4b files? I'm looking at the smaller X20I, as I find 20 cells better for novel reading, the 40 cell requiring a longer sweep which gets tiring after a while. I'd ideally like an all in one, audio book, ebook reader, allowing me to leave my iPhone somewhere else and have that delicious feeling of disconnection.
Is the mantis the one with the keyboard?
Personally I'd go with that one.
Note: i'mn not a braille user I just prefer keyboards and I think I like the idea of the mantis.
I like my Brailliant
Hi, i had boght my Brailliant 10 month ago and I love this.
I don’t the mantis because I prefer Perkins keybord.
I had some issues with bluetooth but I succeed to solve them.
I am use with iOS, Windows and Jaws.
It works well with I devices and Jaws.
I can control on my computer and done Windows commands without problem.
Brailliant and Mantis
Mantis has qwerty keyboard. Brailliant when you first are new to it bluettoth could be hard to get used to because it works funny. I too prefer perkins keyboard.