Sony PS3 Keypad – Review

Rating - 9.0/10.0 - 9

Since network play is an important part of the PS3 experience, having a keyboard to chat with is almost essential, but who wants a hulking great USB keyboard sat by the side of them when gaming just to chat quickly… not to mention the USB cables dragging around the place. Enter the official PS3 wireless keypad.

Now, I’m not the chattiest of people when I’m gaming, but I am developing various levels for LBP and so I want to be able to name stuff and provide descriptions… using the on-screen keypad is, to put it mildly, like pulling teeth. It’s slow, cumbersome and just downright annoying and for the reasons I mentioned, a fullsize USB keyboard is just not an option so I was mightily pleased when I saw these little babies on the PS3 website.

The CECHZX1GB (UK Model) as it’s known is a small, lightweight Bluetooth keypad that clips onto official PS3 controllers. It provides quick access buttons to get at your messages, and also doubles as a pointing device by way of a touch sensitive area on the keypad. Whilst it’s small and the buttons seem tiny, operating it isn’t as bad as you might first imagine. I’ve made only a few typos courtesy of my sausage fingers, and well, compared to the on-screen keyboard it is infinitely better.

So are there any downsides? Well, I’ve only been using it a few days. Being rechargeable there is obviously the issue of battery life, but it does go into standby to conserve power. The only downside to this is of course it has to reconnect to the PS3 when you want to type some more, but that doesn’t take too long (a few seconds, if that). The unit itself was charged when it arrived last week and has yet to require a refill. It obviously goes without saying that the more you type, the shorter the recharge interval will be, and I suspect using the pointer mode will drain the juice substantially quicker. The upside however is that, like the controllers themselves, it can be used whilst charging by simply connect it using a USB cable.

One of the questions I had when I purchased them (notice plural) was how they connected to the PS3 and whether you could use multiple units at the same time. The answer is they have their own Bluetooth capabilities (which incidentally you can use with other Bluetooth capable devices – I can state that they work with the O2 XDA Orbit) so they connect to the PS3 with no regard for which controller they are attached to. So whilst you can use multiple units at the same time, they will all type into whichever message box has focus. It would have been better, IMHO, if they worked like the controllers… first on is number 1 etc. and were then paired with the corresponding controller number.

So in conclusion, these are a great little addition to anyone’s PS3 setup, but because they don’t pair like the controllers, I’m only going to give them a rating of 9.

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2 Comments

  • jacki says:

    Can you tell me how you ended up pairing this device? I have one, have lost the instructions, and cannot remember which buttons to hold down to pair it with my new ps3. Any advice?

    • Sure can jacki… if memory serves, you have to turn it off… connect it to the PS3 with a standard cable, then turn it on…. possibly press and hold the blue button to start pairing mode. But, you must have it connected to the PS3 the first time you pair it with the base unit. If that doesn’t work, you may want to have a look at the user manual on-line here.

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