Refreshabraille 18

Review Category


5 Stars


This is one of the most handy things I use with my iPhone. It is a very small braille display, perfect for mobile privacy. Unlike the other popular mini display at the time (the braille pen 12) this device has routing buttons, something I believe to be necesary. It also has a five-function "joystick" that enables quick use of the functions like swipe right, left, up, down, and double tap. Therefore, navigation is simple. Six-key entry is nice as well, although sometimes (I believe this is the fault of the iPhone, not the display) it will expand single letters to their contractions. For example, sometimes typing the letter P will write people. This is not related to the location in the word. The display is very small, because there is nothing to the side of the display. If you want thumb keys, whiz wheels, etc. this is not the display for you, but it is quite useful for simple reading and writing on the go.

Devices Accessory Was Used With



The article on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information.



Submitted by Scott Davert on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
I would agree with the reviewer on their comments. And, yes, the translation is not any fault of the display, but one found in the Apple braille translation software. Another comment: while I like almost all aspects of this display, it has 2 draw-backs. 1. The way in which it charges is through a USB host port on the bottom of the display. This is also how you would connect it to a USb port on either a Mac or PC running a screen reader to use it that way. The design was intended to help avoid having the USB cable pulled out of the unit if it were stepped on, but it actually is a flaw in my opinion because it is rather difficult to plug USB cables in to the Refreshabraille. One workaround is to keep a small USB cable connected to it at all times. Also, when the battery is considered low (when it has about 3 hours of use left), the display will flash a battery low message for approximatley 10 seconds every few minutes. No matter what you do, the message will not go away for that 10 second interval. However, when working with an iPhone, the controls still monipulated the screen, even though the only thing showing on the display was "battery low". Finally, while most manufacturers include a case with their displays, APH has chose to make the user buy this separately for $32. Other than those 3 things, it's an excellent display, especially for use with iOS devices. It's portable, lightweight, and has all the navigational features I'd like from a display.

Submitted by Brandi on Monday, August 6, 2012

I dearly love this display as I absolutely hate using the touch screen to type large blocks of text. My other caveat is that I cannot get it to pair with my iPad 2. Not sure if it's a Refreshabraille thing or an iPad2 thing, but it is frustrating none the less. Otherwise, I like the display although it took me some time to get used to having the Braille output at the top and the keyboard at the bottom portion. You can reverse that function, but that made it even harder because you had to contend with your spacebar either being a really small button or way at the top of the display. Lol. I honestly feel that APH could've done a better job of designing it, but I love the portability and functionality and I feel that I get enough out of it to say that it is well worth its price tag. I just wish I could get it to pair with the iPad 2.

I am currently using an iPad 3 and a different display, but for the longest time I couldn't get the two devices talking to each other. So one thing to remember/try is to pair in Bluetooth settings, but to actually connect down in VO settings. This will avoid the pesky "Device is not supported" alert that is still around in 5.1.1. hope this helps.

Submitted by Tiflo Manolo on Monday, August 13, 2012

I agree with the USB connection host on the unit and the dificulty to plug the cable on it. Other drawback is that when the unit is on the case, it is not posible to connect the USB cable to use it with a computer. So, if you want to connect the unit via USB to a computer, you must take out the unit from the case. That will be a suggestion to the APH, try to design a case where you do not have to take out the unit when charging or using as a Braille display with a computer.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Hello. I leave the USB cable plugged in while it's in the case, and then put the remaining cable in the belt clip so that it's out of the way. I took a strap from another case I'm no longer using, so carry the RB around that way.

Submitted by Redhead on Friday, May 30, 2014

I was just loaned a refreshabraille. I have only had it for a day. My first impressions are quite good. For starters, I love the physical structure of the device. The keys are quiet and easy to push. The braille display is very easy to read. Believe it or not, connecting the display was very straight forward. to be honest, I can't think of anything I don't like about the display. I would give it a 6 star rating if I could.