Brailliant 14 versus Orbit 20 for use mostly with Apple products and as my first braille display

Braille on Apple Products

Has anyone had the opportunity to compare the Orbit 20 and the new Brailliant 14 braille displays? I am looking for a first braille display, mostly to use with my Apple products like my iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It would be nice if it worked with Windows 10 too but not necessary. I know the Brailliants are popular and the Orbit is new. Any thoughts would be appreciated for a newbie braille display user. I would prefer not to pay more than $1000 for a first display, so why I'm looking at these. I have been learning contracted braille for the past few months so I see it also as a learning tool. Thanks!



Submitted by peter on Monday, November 19, 2018

I haven't tried either braille display but I've heard a bit about both. It would be nice to hear from someone who has actually used both displays.

Anyway, here are two issues I would consider:

1. The Brailliant display seems to be fairly light in weight (0.6 lb.). I don't know what the weight of the Orbit display is, but that could be a concern depending on your use.
2. From what I hear (and know of the Orbit technology), the Orbit display does not refresh instantaneously as do most braille displays. It might take about half a second to refresh from left to right. Again, depending on your aplication and comfort level with this that might make a difference.


Thanks, Pete. I think for me at this point, the slower refresh or weight is not too much of an issue. I'm not the fastest braille reader but hopefully that will change down the road.

Here is the other thing I always wonder about. I am used to QWERTY keyboards. This probably should be an entirely different question. But I have seen braille displays or notebooks that have QWERTY keyboards. If you're used to writing not in braille, it would be easier for me to type on a QWERTY than use the Perkins keyboard. Although I do use a Perkins Brailler to make myself notes. So it's not foreign to me. I'm just thinking about the pros/cons of having a display that has a Perkins keyboard versus QWERTY. None of these less expensive braille displays have QWERTY as an option of course. And the QWERTY definitely makes the device a whole lot bigger. I like the small compact size of the Orbit and the smaller Brailliant.


Submitted by Justin Philips on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

I had a chance to learn Orbit and teach it to another person. iPhone and Orbit work well. The dots on the Orbit are also high quality. go for it if you want to. No experience with any other braille display.

Submitted by Travis Roth on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

You're correct most Braille displays don't have a QWERTY keyboard. The size would be a lot. But two things: 1) you can connect a separate keyboard if you want. And 2) there is a VoiceOver setting that can be enabled that keeps the on-screen keyboar visible. So if you're accustomed to the touchscreen keyboard you can continue to use it.

Submitted by peter on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Yes, I too am most used to a QWERTY keyboard - After all, what are most of our computers using? Too bad these braille displays don't have a QWERTY option.


Submitted by Pigwidgin on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thank you all for your replies on this. All input helps and I appreciate it!