The following review is an adapted version of this evaluation to suit the AppleVis website. You can read the full review on the Technology, Research and Innovation Center's web page. This expanded evaluation includes a comprehensive review of the internal applications and how well the Active Braille works with other screen readers not within the Apple ecosystem.
I previously reviewedthe Brailliant BI 40X. In that evaluation, I mentioned there was a 20-cell model as well. Unlike when I reviewed the Focus Blue Fifth Generation displays, which are the same display other than the amount of cells, the two models of Brailliants sport some differences. Physical differences aside, the software functions the same. This includes how these devices behave with working with screen readers.
The following review is an adapted version of this evaluation to suit the AppleVis website. It was originally written in April 2021. You can read the full review on the Technology, Research and Innovation Center's web page. This expanded evaluation includes a comprehensive review of the internal applications and how well the Brailliant BI 40X works with other screen readers not within the Apple ecosystem.
The Braille Connect 40 is no longer being sold.
The Braille Connect 40 has the keys in a letter v shape which forces the elbows out slightly. I couldn't type on my unit the first day I received it, but somehow I became accustomed to the layout by the next day. I understand the new modells have a horizontal layout.
I thought that I would not like the 3 buttons to either side of the braille display. However, Apple uses the six buttons just like the braille key plus spacebar combinations. It makes using them very simple. I rarely use the joy stick accept when selecting items on the rotar.
The Braille Edge 40 is a braille display that I'd like to call a smart display. This is because, while it is a braille display, it also has the ability to take notes independently, has a calendar, time and date, and calculator. It also has the ability to load and save files on an SD card, which can then obviously be used to transfer files from one platform to another. It supports SDHC up to 32GB. The display is crisp like all the other HIMS products, and it is as stable as all the others as well. While the Edge does not work with iOS 5, it is compatible with iOS 6 and later.
The mobile market has exploded within the past few years and has really changed the way blind people work and play. With a big enfises on iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad, many people are wondering if dedicated devices for the blind are even relevant anymore. When I say dedicated devices I mean anything from GPS devices to note taking devices with braille displays attached. In this article I want to give you my opinion on why I still choose to use a dedicated device.
Let me clarify one thing really fast from the beginning. I use and own an iPhone and iPad.
The Braille Sense OnHand is a note taker with an 18 cell braille display which has a large set of features outside of being used as a braille terminal with Apple products. It's very lightweight to cary around both as a device, and you'll also find your wallet is much more lightweight after purchasing this product at $3995.
You can read more about all of the features in the onHand here
Now for the iDevice portion of this review. Pairing the Braille Sense product line with an iDevice is quite unique.
The Brailliant 32, which is the smallest in a line of 3 new displays from Humanware works well with iDevices running iOS 5.1 and later. This review pertains specifically to the 32 cell model, though the operation on the 40 and 80 cell models should be similar. It's a very sleek design for a 32 cell model display, but the sleeve it comes with for carrying around does not seem to work well for portable use.
Pairing the new Brailliant displays with your iDevice is very simple. Unlike some other models on the market, the Brailliant displays do not require a pin code for authentication.
I've only tested the Focus 40 Blue braille display from Freedom Scientific on an iPhone 4. Almost all on-screen gestures have key combinations to execute the same commands on the braille display. Though the display's keys are rather noisy, the display is very responsive. I find that I have to retype braille more often than I have had to with other displays. However, the display is light and compact. The display is comfortable to use, and the braille is crisp.
The Actilino, a Braille display sold by Handy Tech and sold in the U.S. by Triumph Technologies, is the latest portable Braille display to hit the market with first shipments in the U.S. received in June 2017. The Actilino falls in the “smart Braille display” category as along with being a display it has some built in features such as notetaking, a calculator, a calendar and Handy Tech’s music Braille feature.
The Handy Tech Braille Star 40 is a portable, rechargeable 40 cell braille display with serial, USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Its physical dimensions are 331 x 227 x 24 mm (width x depth x height). The tactile surface of the Braille elements are concavely shaped. Each cell has exactly one cursor routing key located above. Below the cells you find 8 braille dot keys separated by two space keys. To the left and right of the reading area are the so-called tripple action keys which you can press on the top, bottom and in the middle position.
The Brailliant BI 14 from Humanware refreshes instantly, silently, and reliably. Those three words should be kept in mind in what follows, because they may well overshadow every other quibble and criticism I feel obligated to mention in this review, and they in fact set it apart from the Orbit Reader 20, which was my other serious contender for purchase.
The Perkins mini is a 16 cell display that works with Windows screen readers and mac OSX 10.7 and later. It's also compatible with iOS from 6.0 on. It has both USB and bluetooth capabilities, and also has very similar functions to the Braille Edge. It can take notes, read books, has a calendar, a calculator and supports the reading of brf and txt files. That's where the similarities end though.
This is one of the most handy things I use with my iPhone. It is a very small braille display, perfect for mobile privacy. Unlike the other popular mini display at the time (the braille pen 12) this device has routing buttons, something I believe to be necesary. It also has a five-function "joystick" that enables quick use of the functions like swipe right, left, up, down, and double tap. Therefore, navigation is simple. Six-key entry is nice as well, although sometimes (I believe this is the fault of the iPhone, not the display) it will expand single letters to their contractions.
Hello Applevis community!
It’s my first review, so I apologize if there are any formatting issues or other inconsistencies. I’ve been browsing the Applevis website but didn’t find much information related to these Braille displays here or on the web, so maybe my experience will be somehow helpful for those who are picking a Braille display for their I-OS devices and would like to use their display as a standalone notetaker.
The Braille Sense u2 Mini is a note taker with an 18 cell braille display which has a large set of features outside of being used as a braille terminal with Apple products. These include a 32 GB internal flashdisk, software to handle such things as spreadsheets, an FM radio, daisy player, and many more.
The Focus 14 is a very portable display, about the size of a Braille Pen, but it sports 2 more cells than the Pen, along with a slightly higher price tag than the Braille Pen, but that won't be the case for long.
Instead of wizwheels, you have a rocker button located at each end of the display that you can press up to move up or down to move down.
The Refreshabraille 18, 3rd generation, is now available from APH. It's an 18-cell display which offers many connectivity options, the ability to flip the Refreshabraille to have the display closer to you instead of the keyboard, and the ability to connect in unsecure or secure mode via Bluetooth.
A Familiar Feeling Device: