Sony has introduced the QWERTY Wireless keypad clip-on. It makes text entry much easier and includes some bonus touchpad functionality too. Ever since I got my PS3 bluetooth headset, the chat pas is not used as much as it did before.
The Wireless Keypad is small, lightweight and attaches itself via spring-loaded clamp onto your wireless controller. Once attached it covers the PS, Start, and Select buttons, which are replicated for your convenience in the same location (just a bit higher). There’s the full QWERTY spread ready for prodding, plus a few extra buttons, including dedicated ones that bring up your messages list and your friends list.
It has a smart, sophisticated look, but those buttons are awfully, awfully tiny — touch-typing here will take a good bit of practice for even the most experienced texters. They also don’t give much feedback when pressed, barely registering any movement at all, leaving you to frequently looking up at the screen and see if your input has been registered (which wouldn’t be a problem if touch-typing were easier).
The Wireless Keypad has a separate battery. In fact, beyond the spring-loaded clamp, it’s completely independent of the gamepad. On one hand this means it won’t put any additional strain on the controller’s power.
While I initially thought I would have plenty of use for it, I realised quite quickly that most of the time I use my headset instead. The chat-pad will be useful for people surfing the web on the PS3 or texting a log (especially if you are in Home). Wheel of Fortune is one of the few games where the use of the chat-pad makes sense – and speeds up your text-input.
Hint: I initially had issues with the pad only to find out that I needed to calibrate it first (RTFM):
1. Activate Touch pad (the hand with index finger pointing)
2. Hold blue and orange shoulder buttons for 2 seconds until the light flashes
3. Now your touch pad should be calibrated. ENJOY!