The Tap Wearable Keyboard - The Most Portable Bluetooth Keyboard you'll ever use

Review Category: 

Review: 

This is the first wearable Bluetooth keyboard to hit the market! This keyboard allows you to control your phone using various tap combinations on any flat surface.

Physical Description

The keyboard itself actually consists of a wrist-strap with five touch-sensitive wrings, one for each of your fingers. It is a comfortable fit, and four of the wrings appear to look the same, except for the thumb, which contains a power button, a vibration motor, and a mouse pointer. Notice that there is no micro usb port; instead the keyboard uses a wireless charging case. This case is a tough plastic case that is secured magnetically. It contains spindles that each of the five wrings is inserted onto, secured magnetically yet again. After you close the case and press the power button on its side, the keyboard will begin charging. The charging case itself doesn't vibrate, rather, the keyboard itself vibrates inside the case. A single vibration will indicate charging has started, and opening the case will make the keyboard vibrate again to tell you it is no longer charging. This being said, there is really no fullproof method of checking the battery of the case itself, other than to listen for the vibrations. Rest assured that the case will likely only need to be charged from time to time. The case charges through micro usb. The keyboard itself lasts roughly 8hours on a single charge if used continuously.

companion apps

First thing First, TapManager

TapManager is the first app you will want to download, as it will allow the keyboard to communicate with your phone. You can use it to update the firmware of your keyboard, load more maps into it, configure it, etc. The app is fully accessible and is the only app that works on 32bit and 64bit devices. I say this because an app I am about to explain does not, and while that is likely not a showstopper, it is a pretty essential app...

What's the learning curve

Not incredibly steep, it would probably take less time than learning the qwerty layout if you ask me. However, that is aided by an interactive tutorial game called TapAloud. This is the app that will unfortunately only work on 64bit devices. So if you're stuck on an older device or can't find a second-hand newer one, you're out of luck. Again, you can still fully use the keyboard, but learning it just got a whole lot more difficult, and even if you're patient, there's nothing quite as awkward as trying to learn it based off qwerty drill patterns on a program like Talking Typer. Yes, that is how I (tried) to learn it before a very nice deal on a second hand iPhone6 came around.

Anyway, the TapAloud app will teach you the Tap alphabet as well as control commands in a way similar to that of Talking Typer, only the lessons are positioned in such a way that the essential tap combinations are shown first before moving onto more complex ones. Each drill starts off with an explanation, then an interactive practice round using only those letters or commands, then starts three rounds of rapidfire word/letter entry. Subtly throughout the levels you are thrown various punctuation symbols, at which point Voiceover will announce, "new punctuation," and explain it to you.

To give you a rough rundown, we start off with the vowels. Each vowel is denoted by a single tap of one of your five fingers, like so:

  • A: 1
  • e: 2
  • i: 3
  • o: 4
  • u: 5

Then we get into two-finger gestures:

  • n: 1 and 2
  • t: 2 and 3
  • l: 3 and 4
  • s: 4 and 5

and so on and so forth. It will make a lot more sense once you get more up close and personal with your keyboard and the app, but rest assured that the more frequently used letters are often associated with the more natural tap combinations.

My Overall Opinion

This keyboard is undoubtedly the best mobile bluetooth keyboard I've ever used. It isn't a full-sized keyboard, so we aren't worrying about extra bulk. It allows seemless control of your phone without dealing with the screen. And for those concerned, it even looks cool when worn (the general sentiment is that it looks cyberpunk; they aren't wrong about that!) Lol.

So with all that, you can't go wrong with this thing.

If you want to order it and get a $10 discount when you do so, use this referral coupon code:

REFOYX4TRGVLM

Devices Accessory Was Used With: 

iPhone
iPad

Rating: 

5 Stars

Disclaimer

The review on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this review.

18 Comments

#1 Speed and accuracy

Hi,

I just read a review of the tap keyboard from back in march saying that the software sometimes can't keep up with the input and that it is necessary to type on hard surfaces so, for example, not on ones thigh. What are your views on that and how does it compare speed wise with a computer keyboard, brail input, or flick type?

Thanks

O

#2 subjective on both counts

The firmware is constantly being updated, so if there were issues with the software now, there aren't anymore. It probably also depends on your device and its bluetooth antenna. As for hard surfaces vs soft surfaces, I'll have to try that again. The only surface I can recall that gave me nothing but trouble was bedding, but that's to be expected. I would say the speed and accuracy is probably, on average, about 2/3 the speed of a computer keyboard, which for mobile is a pretty big deal. Of course FlickType is an option, but the idea here is remote control. Plenty of folks are happy to use their phone without taking it out of their pocket, and this thing delivers in that regard as far as I'm concerned. Plus, remember that FlickType doesn't work on 32bit devices. Then again, TapAloud doesn't either.

#3 A brail version would be better...

I know that not everyone uses brail but a similar set up with three rings on either hand and maybe one on the thumb for space bar would be even faster as we'd be able to use contractions. I realizes that simply typing isn't the only ability of this device, however, I can't imagine any scenario, aside from text entry, where this would be useful to me.

#4 Ewwww! Disgusting!

Club AppleVis Member

OK, perhaps my comment title is way too strong in nature. Maybe I should consider toning it down a bit. To some's defense, I'll grantcha that. But, come on, really, seriously? They say this is logical, but, realisticly, the vowels, OK, that I could kind of see making sense, but T, N, and L? Gawod! My poor little brain hurts just thinking about that! I don't even see the slightest bit of logic. Am I really just that patheticly stupid? I must be! LOL! I totally totally 100% agree with the poster who said a braille keyboard would be better, but alas, this is a mainstream product, I gather, so therefore, I guess Mr. Dotty is out the window.

#5 I think something like that is in the works

Right now, if you buy two taps, they will both function as two separate keyboards. They are not yet able to communicate with each other the way bluetooth speakers do to do true stereo audio. Once such a thing is possible, however, a braille keyboard map is on the wire from what I hear. I'm sure that they'll probably have a buy one get one (insert offer here) if such is that case and when there's an actual need for multiple taps. At this point, buying multiple taps doesn't hold much benefit for end-users unless you're giving it to someone, or you're testing it with I wouldn't know what.

#6 The Tap Alphabet

I will say it makes a whole lot more sense when you have the TapAloud app to help learn the keyboard. Trying to learn without it when i had not much choice was doable, but it was a drag to say the least. And it absolutely wasn't Tap's fault either, rather mine for not having a 64bit device hence why I jumped at the chance to get one when I could.

#7 update on not-so-flat surfaces

Not sure if this is either the result of an under the hood improvement in the recent firmware update, or if the stars aligned completely tonight (lol), but the tap keyboard now works very well with surfaces that aren't so flat.

#8 What about letters from foreign non-english languages?

Sounds very interesting! But how about letters from non-english alphabeths? I live in Norway, and as in all 3 scandinavian countries, we have 3 extra vouls at the end of the default latin alphabeth, that english speaking countries don’t use. The letters æ, ø and å. Do you think I will be able to type those letters as well with this keyboard? I realise that you probably don't know the answer to this, but I'm hoping that you might have heard something about foreign letters while dealing with this keyboard :) This is pretty crusial to me if I at all should be planning to order one from the US, and also have to pay for shipment and taxes on top of an already somewhat expensive keyboard. If I'm not able to type our 3 extra letters, that would unfortunately probably make this keyboard rather useless for dayly use here in Norway

#9 let me look at the maps

I'm seeing about 15 languages on here but unfortunately it doesn't seem like we have a Latin keymap.

#10 Norwegian?

Oh, sorry, latin is more like the basis for all western alphabeths. Try looking for norwegian specificly, if you could. Or if norwegian isn't available, perhaps swedish or danish is there as a second option? Thanks a lot for your help! :)

#11 unfortunately not

So the verdict is that there is no Danish or Swedish as of yet. However, they are always adding new maps, and you can create your own custom maps.

#12 What sort of commands?

Club AppleVis Member

Hi. Thank you for bringing this new technology to our attention. It sounds much better for entering text than laboriously typing on a touch screen keyboard.

Maybe this has already been asked and answered, and if it has, I apologize for asking again, but what can it do other than text entry? For example, does it give you the full range of commands that you have at your disposal when you are holding and touching your iPhone? Can it be used to answer phone calls? Skip songs? Switch to a different app, etc.? Or is it limited to text entry?

Thank you,

Bruce

#13 there are many different maps available

There are maps for text entry, generic ios commands, windows accessibility commands, android layout, and voiceover controls. Yes, I said it, voiceover support is built right in. To give you a rough example, the simplest of gestures include:
move right (left arrow): tap fingers three and four
move left (left arrow): 1 and 2
double tap: finger 2 double tap, completely natural as it is just a double tap after all
and several other commands. This is going to be a near complete controller for the phone, so you could be wearing your keyboard and your Aftershokz and never taking your phone out to use it. How bout that?

#14 Switching Maps

Club AppleVis Member

Now I'm really interested. If you don't mind, what are the "keystrokes" on the wearable keyboard for switching from the voiceover command map to the generic iOS command map, and from there to the text entry map and back to the generic iOS command map?

Any you mentioned the main app. The Touch App? Is it available in the Apple App Store? And what are the other available apps, or could you post a link to a list, perhaps with their own links to the App Store?

I am going back to your original post. I seem to remember a link or two there.

Thanks!

Bruce

#15 switching maps

Some of the shortcuts in the text entry map are iPad only, but to switch between number and letter mode, press 3-4-5. Number mode is also where certain commands can be entered. Voiceover mode, after first enabling it in tapManager, can be toggled by double tapping f (1-2-4.)

#16 To let you know: they‘ve got a nice Black Friday Deal

Club AppleVis Member

Just saw this and thought you should know: If you order within the next day and apply promo code „BlackFriday“, they‘ll knock off $50 and and the shipping cost for expedited delivery. So one pays $129 for one new tap.

#17 Good find, René

I doubt you can double dip, but the coupon code mentioned in this review, the referral coupon, will always be $10 off. But I personally would take advantage of this awesome black Friday deal if you're only able to pick one.

#18 tap as a gaming mouse

Since this feature holds little to no value on IOS, I will say that on any other platform Tap makes for a pretty decent mouse as well while in mouse mode, though don't expect it to be a good gaming mouse. The scrolling is finicky and the left click doesn't hold down - tried it with Judgement Day and learned that the hard way. Hoping that this can all be fixed in a firmware update or configuration change. A lot of the problems addressed in earlier reviews have since been corrected in firmware updates, so this team is good about getting things under control. I will also point out that as far as wireless hargingcc s concerned, they definitely know what they're doing. A co-developer of the Tap keyboard is also known for his work with PowerMat.