boxwave keyboard buddy case for iPhone 5

Review Category


1 Star


as the title says, this is a review of the keyboard buddy case specifically for the iPhone 5. There is a separate model for other phones, but this one only works with the 5 because of its dimensions. This is a combined keyboard and case where the phone slots into the top, and a keyboard slides out from the bottom. This keyboard holds the iPhone 5 perfectly, and has holes for accessing the mute switch and volume buttons. If I could I would give this item 0 stars but don't have the option to do that. I have two big reasons for disliking this keyboard so much, Firstly the build quality, the keyboard doesn't feel very well put together, the top half isn't fitted well to the bottom half, the fit is so bad that if you press down on the bottom edge of the keyboard that slides towards you when you open it you can actually unlock the phone and you don't have to apply a lot of pressure you only have to press very slightly, I have found that almost every time I go out with the phone and have the keyboard turned on in my pocket the phone is unlocked, so I have to turn the keyboard off to be completely sure of the phone not being unlocked. I should declare at this point, this is the first boxwave I have ever owned, and with my 4s I had a nuu minikey which was very solidly built and didn't have a possibility of accidentally unlocking it. I had read other reviews of the keyboard buddy case designed for the 4s so was aware of the build quality issues, but I went ahead and got this keyboard as nuu hasn't made any announcement about a release date for the iPhone 5 model of there keyboard though they have told me one is under development, I also thought that as this is now the third generation of the boxwave keyboard they should have at least sorted out build quality, but seemingly this is not the case. So anyway back to the boxwave, I have had the phone unlock on me many many times in my pocket because of the keyboard, my next big problem with this keyboard is the actual physical keyboard layout. I fully realise that the boxwave isn't the minikey and that keyboards do take a while to get used to but I will explain about the keyboard layout and let the reader judge what they think. First, the good points about the layout, the keys are raised up well, and they have good spacing between them making it very easy to find each different key. Tactile feedback is also very good and the keys are springy and give good clicks you can really feel you have pressed a key. The paring button is also well placed at the top left and isn't really squashed out of the way and is easy to find. The enter key is also easy to find, its large, but this also causes a problem. This is that the enter key extends to where a semicolon would normally be, resulting in semicolon being located directly below the k key and I find I keep pressing it accidentally instead of an m which is located to the right of it. the next issue is the location of the comma key a fundamental piece of punctuation this key is located to the left of the spacebar, not even remotely close to where it should be on a real qwerty keyboard. the at symbol isn't well designed either, in order to produce it you must hold shift and press the number 2. I guess perhaps this means the keyboard is aiming for more of a US style layout, but this isn't so easy for those of us who are in the UK, this could be a potential innovation for boxwave if they could offer different layouts in one unit that could be changed with a button press, or could offer a keyboard model targeting the UK market. My final punctuation issue relates to the questionmark key, now on a normal pc you do the questionmark by holding shift and tapping the other key on the right side of your keyboard. This isn't even what happens on the boxwave, lets say your typing very quickly then need to put a question mark, the way you do this is press what I think is the shift key, and the key next to the comma on the left side of the keyboard, you have to hold the shift key and press the slash, meaning you have to pretty much totally stop typing just to do this. On the minikey you just had a specific question mark key so it didn't slow typing down at all. My final issue with the keyboard is the way inputting capital letters seems to work, I haven't found an alternative way yet anyway. The keyboard has a dedicated capslock key, so you have to press this when you want to do a capital, press your letter, and then press the capslock key again to turn it off. With the way the minikey works the capslock works in the same way to the iPhone keyboard, you tap it once and press a letter its like doing a single capital at the beginning of a sentence, and you press twice quickly to leave it on capitals for several letters, boxwave doesn't seem to offer similar a similar feature. The keyboard also has a dedicated number row, which does do other characters than numbers, but it doesn't do the standard characters a proper keyboard would do on the number row, for example on an english keyboard shift 3 does a pound sign and shift 4 dollar. So I am not sure if I can see the benefit of this row, when the minikey has a function key which can be used to do numbers. So I really have to question the over all ease of use of this keyboard, I was quite prepared to give it a chance, even though I had read bad reviews of the first version of the keyboard, as second generation reviews were more positive so I thought third is bound to be better. But I have only owned this keyboard a few hours and I am already considering returning it, it cost me $99 plus $36 shipping and I just feel that other keyboards such as the nuu minikey had a much better designed layout, and I only tried this because of the lack of information from nuu. If you want to read reviews that back my findings up I suggest looking on ilounge. The above comments were written after having the keyboard for only a few hours, I went away for 12 days with the keyboard and haven't changed my opinion at all, and am going to return it, I would suggest people avoid this keyboard completely at least the way it is currently designed, both because of keyboard layout, and the unlock problem which has been my biggest issue with the unit, it really isn't worth the price being asked.

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Submitted by jldiaz421 on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I will agree with everything you posted here and will add some more things. First they have horrid customer service. Second on the Better Business site, there are loads of complaints filed against boxwave concerning this keyboard. I had one for the 4s and actually liked it. It wasn't all that but it enabled me to text and email long things on the go which is what I wanted. This new one is crap and you are right about the lock and unlock thing. Also after I charged mine for the first time it completely died and I am still fighting to get my money back. They keep taking there sweet time and even wanted me to go buy a new micro usb cord to see if that fixed it which it did not. Stay far far away from this company. By the way, do you know of any other smallish keyboards for my 5?

Submitted by alex wallis on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In reply to by jldiaz421

Hi, I agree totally about the customer service, I would never do business with them again after the way they have treated me. They were extremely slow at replying to e mails, usually taking up to ten days or longer. Though of course before I was a customer of there's they were very quick at replying. I eventually returned my keyboard, and got a full refund including shipping costs for me returning it from the UK. But it took them well over a month to process. I also found that when I had questions relating to the keyboard layout because some keys weren't announced by VoiceOver they didn't answer my questions even when I explained I am blind. I gave customer services the link to this review and told them my main issues with the keyboard biggest being the unlock problem, but they didn't bother to respond to them directly. Unfortunately I don't know of any other keyboards for the iPhone5, I did a bit of googling and came across some which are simply renamed boxwave models. Its a shame that nuu haven't put out there keyboard yet, I may send them another e mail and see if they have any news. Fleksy is good and I use it when I am out for texting but unfortunately of course a keyboard is good for using safari etc, if fleksy could function throughout IOS I wouldn't need a keyboard at all. I still use the minikey from my 4s but of course its annoying to have to carry it separately. If anyone knows of keyboard cases for the iPhone5 I would be very interested in alternatives.

Submitted by jldiaz421 on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You are so right about the fake keyboards that are really boxwave. I searched over the past weekend for something and found a ton of those on It would be obvious to anyone because it has the same exact discription. I used a Thinkgeek Keyboard case for my iPhone 4S before I got the Buddy but they are not making it for the 5 yet they say. That case basically works the same as the boxwave but the keyboard sort of turns and pops up at the bottom of the phone. So if you hold the phone straight up and down imagine right under your home key a small keyboard. I got boxwave because I liked the slide out design better.

Submitted by alex wallis on Thursday, January 31, 2013

In reply to by jldiaz421

Hi, I contacted nuu again about availability of there keyboard for iPhone5 last night, and received the following information this morning, pasted below from there message, I will definitely be placing an order as soon as possible. Information from nuu says "Hi Alex, MiniKey will start Pre-Ordering in February.  Delivery will start at the end of February.  We are offering free shipping during the Pre-Order period. I am sorry we haven't updated our blog lately, but we have been updating everything on Facebook.   Please follow us on Facebook, but we will try to update our blog more frequently!  Thanks for the advice."

Submitted by Bram on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I ordered one of these keyboards somewhere back in may 2014. It worked reasonably well and it seems the quality had improved since this review.

However, last month the sliding mechanism broke and I contacted Boxwave to see if I had any warranty. They sent me a replacement which arrived today. It seems they silently redesigned the whole thing. So what's new:

  1. The whole thing is now made of plastic, including the back which was metal on the previous version.
  2. The quality of the plastic that clicks around the iPhone is pretty bad. The volume and mute buttons are now in plastic holes and not open as in the previous version. This makes them hard to use and I almost broke the plastic while putting the phone in the case.
  3. They used a totally different keyboard. The number row is gone, the space bar has been reduced to a very small key (spanning 2 normal keys), the pair and power switches are now next to the keyboard in the case. There are no tactile markings on the keys anymore and it's much more difficult to feel the keys. The keys are spaced directly next to one and other, where the previous model had a backplate with holes where the keys where placed, creating a bit of space between the keys.

Given the lack of a number row and no idea what the FN key is, I haven't been able to pair this thing. But even before using it I'm not amused. I'm going to contact Boxwave customer support to ask for clarification.

Submitted by alex wallis on Wednesday, February 25, 2015

good luck with that, I wouldn't touch boxwave again after my experience there products are just nasty and cheaply made. I actually don't have a keyboard case for my 6 plus and actually I am getting buy fairly well with a combination of my old nuu minikey when I am at home for my 4s which has a superior layout to the 5 version, then when I am out braille screen input serves me fairly well though it doesn't work in safari. If a case actually comes out for the 6 plus I would think long and hard do I need to get this? please let us know how you get on with boxwave.