While the spigot isn’t gushing just yet it’s clear there is a trickle of MMOs to the latest generation of consoles. With built in voice chat becoming a standard feature for most of the titles the communication barrier is starting to fall. This was always a hang up for me in the past. With the limited sets of abilities that most games are moving to using a controller isn’t the limiting factor it once was. However, there is the still the problem of text input when you may need to communicate with the larger chat channels that are not voice based. Guild chat, world chat, trade chat, you get the idea. Using a control stick to navigate around a QWERTY keyboard entering text is quite cumbersome. That’s where the Nyko Type Pad comes into play.
First I’d like to go over the list of features that Nyko touts on the box.
- Full QWERTY keyboard. Even has numbers and a .com button.
- Easy to read glow in the dark buttons.
- Mini Directional Stick for quick menu navigation.
- Connects to the PS4 via Bluetooth.
- Built in Rechargeable Battery
- Dedicated ON/OFF switch to conserve battery life.
- Pass through headphone jack.
- Hear chat audio from built in speaker without the need for a headset.
It does have a full QWERTY keyboard the the .com button is a nice touch. You’ll have to hold down shift to use the numbers and some of the special keys but it’s a small sacrifice to make. Without it you’d have to make the buttons even smaller.
I don’t think NYKO and I have the same definition of the word easy. The Type Pad used to have neon orange buttons that you would think were luminous. They were not. These new buttons do glow a little bit in the dark but not enough to clearly make out what they say to these old eyes. Hopefully a future iteration will have a light in the pad that does in fact light up the buttons. That would lead to a shorter battery life though and it is a balancing act.
You can take or leave the mini directional stick. I didn’t get much use out of it but it was a nice touch that it was there. Maybe someone will love it.
The BlueTooth connection to the PS4 was a smart idea. It’s quick and painless to set up. Took less than 2 minutes.
The Type Pad having its own built in power supply was a smart move. Sure it adds an ounce or two to the overall weight of the device but the PS4 controllers have a notoriously short battery life. No need to add further strain on the controller’s built in battery. Also it’s a no duh to have a on/off switch.
If this didn’t have a dedicated passthrough for the headset it would be worthless.
The built in speaker is a nice touch. I don’t think you’ll get much use out of it though. It’s doesn’t also have a built in microphone.
The Type Pad has a nice form too it. It fits snuggly into the bottom of the controller. At first you might think you are going to break the headphone input for the passthrough but you won’t. It has some wiggle so it can fit into place correctly. Once the Type Pad is attached it adds minimal weight to the controller so you don’t have to worry about excess fatigue from holding it. It feels rugged and well constructed. It doesn’t feel flimsy or like it will break if you accidentally drop it or it gets knocked off a counter top / table.
A nice touch that I like is the texture on the back of the Type Pad. The front is slick and matches the controller nicely but the texture on the back gives your fingers a little extra grip. You might be concerned about the Type Pad taking up the space where your finger used to be. If you are used to holding a tablet or a phone for long periods of time you’ll quickly get used to this attachment. It does make the PS4 controller feel a little bigger than it used to (because it is) but I would compare it to the feel you get when holding a XBox One controller.
The keys themselves are a little tough to push. It’s not like using a keypad on your iPhone or Android device. But it’s an adjustment that is quickly made. My two biggest complaints about the Type Pad are the lack of backlit keys and the indicator light at the bottom. The port at the bottom needs to emit light better. It doesn’t need to be the bat signal but as it stands it’s only a pin prick. This is supposed to light up when you are low on battery but you can barely see it.
While the Nyko Type Pad can’t replace a keyboard and mouse it’s a decent stand in. It lists for $34.99 and comes with its own micro USB cable to charge the device with.
A review copy of this device was provided by NYKO’s PR team.