With the Optimus Mini Three, Artemy Lebedev has given us a - considering our experiences - promising preview of what to expect from the full-blown keyboard. The mini-keyboard we reviewed here is for sale for 160 dollars, but the large keyboard with more than thirty times as many keys, will not cost 5400 dollars. That version will have smaller keys, resulting in smaller displays, which - apart from some other reasons - will keep the price considerably lower.
It is clear that the Art Lebedev gem has a big x-factor. There are, at the time of writing, not that much applications that would justify spending 160 dollars for three buttons, but fans, especially tweakers, have been known spending more money on crazier things. The projected images are, mostly because of the usage of OLED technology, clear and bright. With a few finishing touches, like getting rid of the high-pitched sound, it looks like this device might have some pretty good prospects once the technology used gets cheaper.
Still not perfect, but even better than the hardware, is the software. On this matter, the Russian developers certainly deserve some credit because of the frequent updates and the quick response to reported problems. If, by the time the 'big' keyboard is launched, the company corrects a few mistakes and gives some more attention to details, the Optimus keyboard might end up in quite a few offices. Whether the Mini Three is worth the money is something everyone has to consider for himself, but Floris hasn't had any regrets about his purchase yet.
The many little dissapointments and disadvantages will give a lot of potential customers good reason to reconsider spending their money on this gem, but there will be quite a few that will ignore these problems because of the most important positive thing: the gadget factor. Gadget quality seems to be the most important, if not the only, trump of the Optimus Mini Three.
Update 6th of october, 2006: One of the Art Lebedev-employees let us know that the 'noise bug' is fixed. The chip that caused the problem is now manufactured by another vendor.