Monday, June 13, 2011
Reviewed by K.C. Kim
I am always looking for new and innovative products to review. The Alpha Grip caught my eye immediately, as it was completely different from any keyboard Ive seen before it.
Alpha Grip is actually the 5th version of this product but the first model available for purchase. This is a good thing as too many times we see products that are underdeveloped and not well thought out released too early. With this product the makers obviously put in a lot of work into it. And there is plenty of documentation to help you along the way. On that note this device is not something you pick up and use. I would recommend going online and checking their helpfiles to get started.
Thoughts – When I first open the box the AlphaGrip AG-5 it looked a lot like a game controller (kinda like a xbox controller) with a whole heck of a lot of buttons. Yes at first look you think this would be complicated. But for me personally I have found this easier than a lot of gadgets I’ve used in the past. I simply took it out of the box. Connected the usb cable to the device and laptop (IBM ThinkPad T41 running Windows XP Professional) and off I went. The sticker decals are real helpful so you don’t have look at the back all time. Nice cheat sheet for sure. The Alpha Grip fit nicely in my hands I had no issues with clicking the wrong button. The keypad layout definitely takes some getting used to if you want to type fast. But after a while I was typing almost as fast as I would type on my laptop.
Design – First thing you will notice is how solidly built it is. It’s made of hard plastic that doesn’t creak at all when I try to bend it. The usb cable is long enough so you could be on the sofa and have the laptop on the table in front of you. The AlphaGrip also comes with a stand so you can put this on your desk without clutter.
A UMPC BEST FRIEND – With the Alpha Grip being so portable it would make sense to pair it with another portable device. With Microsoft announcing the UMPC platform there have been several product released as well as other manufactures that make ultra portable PC’s such as the OQO or Sony U Series line. I personally have a Sony U70P original ultraportable PC so I thought I try the Alpha Grip on it. First I plugged the usb cable in and waited and hope no further drivers were needed. Since it was running Windows XP Professional it indeed recognize the Alpha Grip in a couple of seconds. The trackball is deadly accurate and web browsing was a breeze using the AlphaGrip on the U70p. I actually prefer the AlphaGrip over the vaio keyboard it comes with.
Gaming - So I download a demo of Halo Combat Evolved for the PC and check how well it works with the AlphaGrip. First thing I did is remapped the buttons for optimum gaming experience. After that the gameplay was great. Walking around and shooting anything in sight works great. Only hitch I had was when driving a vehicle the trackball wasn’t responsive enough.
Conclusion – I have been using the AlphaGrip AG-5 on a regular basis and feel it is great product for laptops as well PCs and UMPC. For $99 bucks it a steal for everything it does. And hearing from the manufacture that there is a concept of a UMPC AlphaGrip possibly in the future that gets me excited on what we will see next from the AlphaGrip crew. Stay Tuned…
Rating 8 out of 10
For more information on this product as well as purchasing the item please head over to AlphaGrip's website found HERE