Cookie settings
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We use cookies
By clicking "Allow all cookies" you agree to our use of cookies for analytics and marketing purposes. You can change your settings anytime in "Cookie Settings" at the the bottom of the website. More info is available in our Privacy policy page.

Hable One vs. Orbit Writer: Which Is the Best?

11
 minutes
Which Braille keyboard is the best? The Hable One or the Orbit Writer? Let's find out!

While there are many assistive technologies out there, braille keyboards have been revolutionary in making phones and computers more accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired.

If you've been searching for the best braille keyboard, you may wonder how the Hable One compares to the Orbit Writer. We're going to give you a detailed breakdown of how the two keyboards differ from each other and the factors that set them apart so that you can decide which braille keyboard meets your needs.

At a Glance: The Hable One and the Orbit Write

The Hable One

It is a braille keyboard that can be paired with any smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It is purposely designed for a smartphone and therefore enjoys a more compact design, sized similar to an iPhone 6. 

The keyboard works like a physical version of the on-screen braille input but with multiple added functionalities and benefits. This is right away one of the major differences between both devices.

You hold the Hable One in the air with two hands and don’t need a surface to use it. Allowing you to use your phone from anywhere, while standing outside, sitting in a car or even in the middle of a busy event. 

The Orbit Writer

It was developed by Orbit Research, is a wireless keyboard that functions like a Perkins Brailler and connects to your smartphone and computer. The Orbit Writer is a similar device to the Hable One, but it is designed to be used on a surface rather than in the air.

The keyboard uses the 8 Braille input key entry methods to allow users to control their phone/computer with various key combinations. The product does compromise on build quality to keep costs low in order to fulfill their objective of making low-cost braille available to all.

Usability

Usability should be one of your key considerations while purchasing an external braille keyboard. Factors like typing speed, availability, and ergonomics play a crucial role in determining the overall experience of the keyboard itself.

The Hable One

It uses the 6-point braille reading system and is compatible with contracted and uncontracted braille (also known as grade 1 and grade 2 braille). You will be able to use this keyboard regardless of the language that you use braille in.

A large group of Hable One users do not know Braille, but they go to the product to learn this. The reason why they are able to do so, is the material next to the product.

Hable has a focus on training and support material. With a tailored starting guide that helps you on your way, as well as dozens of videos for specific tasks and a 30 minute onboarding call, even people with low technical literacy can use the Hable One.

Hable One held up in the air in a horizontal position. It's easy to use.

The Orbit Writer

It functions similar to a Perkins Brailler. It is a small device designed for portability. Orbit uses a similar design to the Perkins layout and other Braille displays. This makes it more suitable for seasoned Braille enthusiasts. We'll explore this in further detail when we discuss the agility of the keyboard's design.

Typing Experience and Text Editing

Text editing is a big part of the overall typing experience, and the differences become quite noticeable if you compare external keyboards to ones that use speech-to-text technology.

The Hable One

It uses a single interaction for all VoiceOver or TalkBack gestures. The keyboard does use some newer interactions for navigation which might be a bit of a learning curve for users who are more familiar with other braille devices.

However, text editing using the Hable One is simple to learn, easy to remember, and fast to work with. The keyboard automatically enters into editing mode when you open a file, and simple interactions are sufficient to perform basic text-editing functions like copy, paste, and cut.

In addition to this, a combination of keys can be used for selecting a letter, word or an entire line.

The Orbit Writer

It uses small arrow keys in the middle of the keyboard for most text editing functions. To speed up the process, users also need to hold a combination of other keys whilst using the arrow keys.

Moreover, you will need to manually enter the editing mode after opening a file while using the Orbit Writer. However, this keyboard allows you to take notes and save them without the need to connect to a device – a feature that is yet to be incorporated within the Hable One.

Comfort and Control

We use our smartphones for about 3 hours every day on average. That is approximately 76,000 hours in a lifetime, which means that during your life, you use your smartphone for nearly 9 years non-stop.

So, saying that comfort and control are integral to the smartphone experience is an understatement.

The Hable One

It is designed for long and intense usage. A vast amount of focus has been given to improving the ergonomics of the device during the development process through extensive iterations.

The Hable One fits right into your palms, and your fingers automatically come to rest on the large, indented buttons. Hable believes that comfort also means that things simply need to work.

Therefore, the Hable One has a battery life of 4 weeks when used intensively. The materials used in the keyboard provide a reliable grip, ensuring that your fingers don't slip off the buttons – inspiring a feeling of being in complete control of your phone. 

Hable One held comfortably due to its ergonomic keyboard design.

The Orbit Writer

It is built to realize a low-price possibility of utilizing braille. Due to the compact nature of its design, using this keyboard for long periods of time might pose a problem for users who might experience their fingers feeling cramped.

The arrows buttons in the middle of the device are by no means ergonomic, instead, several of the navigation combinations might require you to maneuver your fingers in unnatural ways. If used intensively, you can expect the Orbit Writer to have a battery life of about 3 days.

Agility and Design

Braille keyboards work as an alternative input method for people who are blind and visually impaired. This makes it crucial for such devices to be agile and have exceptional design to be able to cater to the needs of their users.

The Hable One

It is the first braille keyboard that can be used anywhere and anytime. Since the keyboard is handheld, you don't require a desk, stand, or tabletop to be able to use it.

This degree of portability is a huge advantage for users who are always on the go. Whether you're on a walk, traveling to work on public transport or at a party, the Hable One gives you full control of your phone at all times.

The keyboard's small design allows it to fit in your pocket or purse easily so that you never lose access to your smartphone ever again. Additionally, the Hable has a high quality haptic motor that gives additional feedback when using your phone. Giving you more control and clarity, while using the device. 

Hable One is smaller than a phone. The user is placing the Hable One in his pants pocket.

The Orbit Writer

It has a very slender design, which allows you to carry it easily inside your bag. However, due to the typing limitation, similar to the ones you would experience while using a Perkins Brailler, you might need a stand or desk to place your device.

In addition to this, the keyboard sometimes requires users to navigate directly on their smartphone before they start typing using the Orbit Writer. While the device allows for mobility, it falls short of providing a seamless user experience.

Integration With Apple VoiceOVer and Android TalkBack

VoiceOver and TalkBack control are essential features for people who are looking for solutions that allow them to fully access their phone. Typing functionality is important, but having to continuously hold a device takes away from the ease of experience and defeats the purpose of using an external keyboard.

The Hable One

It allows you to have full access to your smartphone through VoiceOver and TalkBack. The keyboard automatically detects the right stance (iOS/Android) when connected to your device.

The Hable One is recognized as a Bluetooth keyboard by the phone. This means that with software updates on the phone, you never run into scenarios of certain functions not working. Your Hable One will always work.

This also helps with connecting and setting up the first time. A final highlight is that you have no delay when using the Hable. Next to this, all VoiceOver gestures geared towards movement follow one simple guideline.

Moreover, users receive a comprehensive start-guide with their keyboard, which provides detailed information on navigating with the Hable One, ensuring that they can start using VoiceOver or TalkBack within no time.

The Orbit Writer

It uses similar navigation as other braille computers, augmented by the navigation arrows in the middle of the device. The Orbit writer has the software running on the phone and is recognized as a braille keyboard.

This means you can run into issues with software updates on the phone or with certain android phones that don’t support all functions. Additionally, where you can use a Hable One and a braille display at the same time, this is not possible with the Orbit Writer.

While this keyboard supports customizable hotkeys, the interactions are not designed to be easily memorable or to be used quickly, instead, it is based on the very old concept of the first braille computers.

Updates

Software updates are crucial for ensuring ease of use and functionality. Assistive technologies, in particular, must undergo continuous improvement, necessitating regular updates to meet evolving needs and enhance user experience.

The Hable One

Software updates on the Hable One happen directly over the phone. Just download the Hable App, make sure your Hable One is connected and click update. The updating process is seamless, easy and this makes sure your Hable One is always compatible for the latest iOS or Android updates.

The Orbit Writer

For the Orbit Writer, you need to have a windows pc to complete your updates. Via a more technical program you can do software updates. Unfortunately, this is not available for mac right now. 

Build Quality

When you are choosing a new companion for your smartphone, you want it to last for a while. In order for this to be possible, the product needs to be durable and made of high-quality materials that will be able to keep up with the wear and tear of your everyday life.

The Hable One

It is co-developed by a company that produces products that match the quality level of Philips. This means that the materials used for the Hable One are of high quality to ensure that this keyboard will last you a long time.

In addition to this, the keyboard uses the latest Bluetooth Low Energy module to ensure that you never lose connectivity and are always in control of your smartphone.

The production and assembly of the Hable One are carried out in the Netherlands, making it easy to ensure that each and every keyboard meets the highest standard of quality.

As a company, Hable believes that everyone is responsible for the future of our world, and for this reason, the Hable One is built using recycled plastics without compromising on the quality of the product.

Hable One Electrical keyboard and high quality building product

The Orbit Writer

It is produced with the goal of keeping the price as low as possible. This inevitably translates to the quality of the materials used in the production of the keyboard. As a result of this, keys can often feel wobbly, and the battery life is considerably short.

Orbit has done exceedingly well in making braille computers accessible at a low price point, but that doesn't come without its own shortcomings and compromises. The Orbit Writer is definitely a viable low-cost option for typing in braille on your smartphone.

However, the overall quality of the materials and interactions might leave you unimpressed. The cost-cutting measure also goes on to affect the device's connectivity as several users report problems with interruptions when connecting via Bluetooth.

Pricing

Braille computers tend to be expensive due to the technology they leverage. A variation in prices often has a direct correlation to product quality, as we've seen before. It all comes down to choosing a keyboard that fulfills your needs but also fits within your budget.

The Hable One

The pricing is a bit higher than the Orbit Writer. It's around twice that of the Orbit Writer. It is mostly due to a cumulation of the overall production costs and high-end materials produced in the Netherlands.

The Hable One is built to last you multiple years. This keyboard might cause a dent in your pocket, but the Hable one makes up for it by aiming to offer the best solution to its audience at all times through its unique and custom-made software.

Considering the amount of time you use your phone every day, it might be best to invest in using it in the best way possible. Many people decided to not take the newest phone, but instead invest in the Hable One, which they did not regret.

5 stars review from Tim Dixon on Google. He says: I absolutely love my Hable One. It has helped me with my grade one braille entry skills. But more importantly made it easier to navigate and use my phone. I would highly recommend an Hable one for its ease of use, long battery life and amazing community.

Important Note: In many regions you are eligible for funding for your Hable One. In most countries, you have the opportunity to get the Hable One via a reimbursement.

The Orbit Writer

It costs $99,00 US dollars. In order to get a hold of this keyboard in other parts of the world, you might incur additional shipping costs and customs duty. That said, The Orbit Writer is the cheapest device in its segment.

The design is centered around producing a cost-effective braille device and it is successful in doing so.

So, which one is better?

When deciding which of the two devices you should purchase, it all comes down to choosing the Braille keyboard that will fulfill your needs, fit into your life, and always leave you feeling that you are in complete control – quite simply, the keyboard that is the one.

The Hable One is the keyboard for you if you are:

  • hoping for seamless connectivity with your device
  • looking for a solution that allows you to operate your smartphone anywhere
  • excited by a bit of a learning curve, and okay with a little splurging
  • looking for a durable device
  • committed to sustainability

{{blog-cta}}

On the other hand, the Orbit Writer might suit you better if you are:

  • comfortable with Perkins Brailler devices
  • happy with a device that allows for short typing
  • on a tighter budget, and not looking to use the product for longer periods of time

Still not sure? Want more information? You can always contact us at support@iamhable.com or take the quiz to discover if the Hable One is the best solution for you!

More comparisons

Are you interested in more comparisons between the Hable One and Orbit writer? You can find more comparisons and opinions about them at the Vision Ireland’s article and also Apple Vis article

They wrote a complete comparison between the two devices and what you can expect from each. This can bring more information to help you on making the best decision according to your needs and what is important to you.

In conclusion, the quest for the ideal assistive technology, particularly a braille keyboard, is a journey towards finding a tool that not only enhances accessibility but also enriches the daily life experiences of those who are blind or visually impaired.

The Hable One stands out as a revolutionary device in this landscape, offering unparalleled usability, comfort, and integration with mainstream technology. Its thoughtful design, focused on portability and ease of use, makes it a compelling choice for anyone looking to navigate their digital world with confidence and independence.

By prioritizing user experience, continuous improvement through seamless updates, and a commitment to sustainability, the Hable One embodies the future of assistive technology.

It is more than just a braille keyboard; it is a gateway to a world of possibilities, enabling users to connect, explore, and thrive in the digital age. Whether you're embracing technology for the first time or seeking to upgrade your experience, the Hable One offers a blend of innovation, reliability, and support that sets it apart as a leader in its field.

Did you enjoy this article? Don't forget to share it! Below, you can find more suggested articles to read next.

As seen in
Buy Hable One now

Order Hable One today and experience the difference.

Buy Hable One
Freek van Welsenis
Freek van Welsenis
CEO, Mitbegründer

Hable wurde durch persönliche Inspiration geprägt. Als jemand mit Geschwistern, die eine Behinderung haben, und Eltern, die in diesem Sektor arbeiten, liegt mein Fokus darauf. Meine Leidenschaft gilt der Nutzung von Technologie zur Förderu