Written on: 22/09/2009 by diablo944 (16 reviews written)
The official PS3 keypad is a nice piece of kit. Using a spring loaded mechanism coupled with a solid mount on its opposite side, it hooks over the ps3 controllers centre and is spring loaded into place. The keypad casing has 'push through' buttons that rest on the select and start buttons, so even though the unit covers the originals, they are still usable by these extension buttons.
The keypad itself is just about big enough to use, whilst being slim and light enough to almost be ignored when it comes to added weight. Its weight is only really noticable when you switch over to a controller without the keypad attached. Charging is done via a usb micro socket the same type as the normal controller charger. The keypad casing has a cut out to allow the cable to be connected to the unit. It doesnt have a pass through cable though as the pad works totally independently of the controller, so charging means either 2 cables or a swap over at some point in the charge of controller and keyboard.
Setup is simplicity itself. Unlike a headset, the keypad only needs to be plugged in via the usb charge cable, then turn on both the ps3 and the keypad (little power switch for keypad is down the right side) at which point the ps3 and pad pair themselves automatically. No adding pairing numbers and the like here. Unlike some other manufacturers keypads for the ps3, the unit actually looks like it belongs to the controller when it is attached. Typing on the pad is something that takes a little getting used to, and for those with a need for glasses whn reading, they will find a similar need with the keypad. the buttons are tiny. Most input ends up being done via thumb presses, a bit like a mobile phone in use. Every button has a reassuring yet subtle click, so no double checking is needed as you type. There are a couple of shortcut buttons to access a direct link to friends messaging rather than have to go through the ps3 menu. The biggest surprise comes when you are browsing the net with the ps3 and keypad. pressing the centre button of the shortcut keys puts the pad into touchpad mode. Whilst in this mode, brushing your finger lightly over the buttons simulates a laptop style touchpad. No buttons are pressed during this action, it is a touch sensitive system. It isnt as good as a true touchpad, but it is infinitely better than the usual control offered by the normal controller.
In use, the pad sits high enough to allow full access to the controllers usual buttons. I had concerns when I bought it about whether it would affect the upper shoulder buttons, but it became apparent almost immediately that no such problems existed there. All inall, the keypad makes for a good addition to the system, especially for people like me who always struggle with text input via the games controller. No longer do I suffer the accidental deletion of entire words. The keypad/textpad is well worth considering as an addition to your PS3 arsenal, even if it only getused occasionally. Just remember to keep it charged.