Focus 40 Blue braille display
Submitted by underdog cheerleader on Monday, January 9, 2012.
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. I would advise purchasing an Executive Products case for the Focus 40 Blue, though, as the standard case that ships with the unit does not allow one to operate the display when one is using the shoulder strap. Texting is vastly easier with the Focus 40 Blue braille display than it is when using only the on-screen keyboard. Answering email messages is quite simple. I find composing email messages and using the calendar to be more difficult with the display than with the touch screen itself. I wouldn't characterize the combination of a bluetooth braille display with an iPhone as as simple to use as a notetaker, but the price tag of the combination, as compared to a notetaker, makes me a happy customer. Besides, the braille display can also be paired with one's computer as well. And, Freedom Scientific's customer support has considerably improved since the early 2000's in terms of friendliness.
Devices Accessory Was Used With
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Long story short, I have ended up with a Focus 40 Blue III. As noted, it is easy to miss type on this keyboard. The first reason is that it is easy to confuse the dots 7 and 8 for the other keys because the keys are all in a single row. The second reason is some sort of glitch whereby the iphone starts typing the same character continously and won't quit until I lock and unlock my phone. It's not clear to me if I am pressing some keys on the front of the display by accident to trigger this bug or if it is just an iphone glitch. Of course it's great to have 40 cells of braille. The Focus 40 Blue III has only the braille keys on the top of the display behind the braille display. So when I want to use a quarty keyboard I am able to prop the keyboard over the back of the display fairly easily. i use the whizz wheels more on the iphone than the PC. I like the thumb operated rocker bars on the front edge of the display I wish the braille cells were at the bam of the display. having the ability to have the cells at the back of the dispay makes reading braille easier when the display is ballanced on my kdees or while standing with the display in the Executive Products carrying case. I would prefer it if Apple used the second row of routing keys as panning buttons as I can never have enough ways to scroll around the screen. Also, Apple neeeds to provide a way ! enter a text field from the braille display without being automatically routed to the beginning or end of the text field. Right now when I leave a document it is necessary to page back to my place. This can be very time consuming in long documents.
I ended up returning the focus 40 blue III. Some final observations. The whizz wheels are handy for moving many lines at a time; however, I found it very easy to accidentally move multiple lines at a that when I only wanted to move one line. The glitch previously mentioned regarding typing repeated characters is an iphone glitch that happens when grade two is turned on. It is worst inthe iphones search screen but I've had the phone get stuck typing multiple keystrokes in other screens as well. The Focus 40 Blue had no trouble switching between USB and bluetooth, which was very nice. It even connected with my iphone then reconnected with my pc again. Though bluetooth is inconsistent for the iphone braille display support. I have other displays from Freedom Scientific and the surface of the Focus 40 Blche did not seem as finished smooth as my other displays. not really a big deal, but for a company that touts having paper like displays, it was odd to see such a big decline in quality control.