The Braille Sense u2 Mini is a note taker with an 18 cell braille display which has a large set of features outside of being used as a braille terminal with Apple products. These include a 32 GB internal flashdisk, software to handle such things as spreadsheets, an FM radio, daisy player, and many more. It's very lightweight to carry around both as a device, and you'll also find your wallet is much more lightweight after purchasing this product at $3995.
You can read more about all of the features in the u2 Mini here
Now for the iDevice portion of this review. Pairing the Braille Sense product line with an iDevice is quite unique. You must first turn bluetooth on with the u2 Mini and then go in to terminal mode, which is standard. However, when asking the iDevice to pair with the Braille Sense, you'll enter whatever pin code you wish in to the iDevice, and then be prompted to do the same on the u2 Mini in computer braille. This is good, because you will not need to remember a unique pin code for more than a few seconds.
Once paired, and this is only with iOS 6.0 and later, as well as Mac OSX 10.8 and later, you can do all of the standard functions that you'd use on a braille display. All commands, panning, and inputting text is the same as any other braille device. However, there are some unique things about the u2 Mini which are nice.
As anyone who attempts to input contracted braille in to an iDevice knows, if you're a slow typer, this can be a very painful and frustrating process. Fortunately, with the sense line of products, there is a function called Terminal Clipboard. Terminal Clipboard allows you to use the u2 Mini's internal word processor to compose things. Once you press enter, the text you have typed in to the u2 Mini will then be sent to the iDevice, assuming you're in a text field. To activate Terminal Clipboard, pres space, enter, and I all at once. The Braille Sense will then say "terminal clipboard". Begin typing and press enter when done. Another great thing about the Braille Sense products is their ability to go out of terminal mode to get info from elsewhere within the operating system, and to then be able to reenter Terminal Mode and pick up right where one left off with the iDevice. This is also a function of the Braille Edge, and one I use regularly.
The one draw-back to this note taker is the battery life. Most displays now have a 20 or 30 hour battery life, and this display only offers about 8 or 9 hours from my testing. To help compensate for this, HIMS includes a second battery, along with a charger, so that you can swap batteries on the go.
While you certainly can pay less for a unit of 18 cells that has only the ability to function as a braille display for external devices, the Braille Sense u2 Mini offers a portable solution which packs a lot of other functions and features along with the ability to connect to an iDevice or Mac computer. For someone who requires a small note taker and who also wants to regularly work with an iDevice, this is certainly a good option
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