Re: Braille Displays


Hello Joe,
I’m going to have to see how the 80 cell display I bought holds up, if I’m comfortable with it, I might just stick with the beast sitting on my desk and the 40 cell
Brailliant to use with my laptop and iPhone.
To answer your question though, the reason I narrowed my choices to the Mantis and Orbit is while I'm a good enough Braille reader and indeed, am literate in both grade 2 English and Spanish is that I never really learned or at least learned young enough to type with the Perkins style keyboard (I'm actually more comfortable with the slate and stylus). Much less all the cords and especially when working on the PC with all the special commands for using control, shift, alt, tab, the F keys and so on.
This is why I was drawn to the Mantis and my guess is why it's become a huge hit for Braille readers who just aren't as proficient with the Perkins typing aspect or just prefer the qwerty keyboard. That and again, when needing to use the keys mentioned above, it's just not as fluid and feels like it takes more steps just to punch in a control+shift+whatever command. Multiply that by God knows how many keystroke commands throughout the day and yeah, no thanks.
The reason I was also considering the Orbit 40 cell display was among other reasons, it seems like it offers over all more than the Mantis and yes, it's cheaper.
That and while I mentioned that I'm not really a Perkins keyboard typist, that's not a make or break issue since I mostly use my displays on my computers and not as much with my iPhone at least for right now.
Also, I like my desktop's cherry brown MX mechanical keyboard. So replacing it with something like the Mantis or even for my laptop seems rather superfluous That and the Mantis doesn't have a numpad. Yes, you can simply buy a wireless numpad, but then that would just be something else to carry around or keep track of and connect.
So there you go, plusses and minuses for both displays and all that.
Again, the other displays really don't call my attention. Either way too expensive, not keen on Android OS longevity or absolutely don't want anything smaller than 40 cells.


-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Joe Orozco
Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 6:58 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Braille Displays


What factors are you considering when deciding between the Orbit 40 and the Mantis 40? I mean, other than one is Perkins keyboard and the other QWERTY? I'm sitting on a Braille Sense U2 at the moment. It is a fully functional notetaker but is no longer being supported by HIMS.
I'm actually satisfied with what it does. I'm drawn to the Mantis, because although I don't mind typing in Braille, the Braille translation on iOS, in my personal opinion, leaves something to be desired. The Mantis would eliminate that issue and provide me Braille.
The Orbit, on the other hand, is $1,100 cheaper, and based on my observation of the 20-cell model, has excellent Braille quality. I'm not the biggest fan of the space bar located below the Braille display, which, I know, is probably shallow of me and likely something I could get used to. Anyway, thanks in advance for your response.


On 4/6/21, Cristóbal <cristobalmuli@...> wrote:
I am reluctant to invest so much money on any Android based display or
note taker. When you start talking about five or six thousand dollar
devices, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to be able to use
such a device for many many years. Being Android based as some of
these newer devices are, that's just simply not going to be the case.
I made a similar argument to Brian Hartgen over Twitter when he was
touting the Polaris a a business friendly device. He dismissed me at
first saying that he was speaking as a business owner and that the
price tag hesitancy thing was lazy thinking or some such thing and
when I informed him that I too was a business owner and still wasn't
sold on the price tag, he blocked me. Talk about thin skinned.... But
hey, at least he had the "manners" to tell me that he was going to block me before he did so... What a swell guy.
Some people.
Back in 2011, I was debating whether to get an Apex that was almost
$6000 but instead opted for a 40 cell Brailliant BI and iPad and
iPhone. That Brailliant lasted me over ten years and hung around
outlasting something like 5 iPhone models and three iPads. Granted,
the iOS and Braille experience wasn't always the best, but combining
the display with various iOS devices over the years at least in my
mind, gave me way more productivity and more bang for my buck than a
display where the OS traditionally isn't supported for maybe more than three or four years.
Even then, the Apex would've lasted way longer than some of these
newer Smart note taker/display hybrids.
I recently scored a Freedom Scientific F80 Braille display on eBay for $305.
I first wrote the seller asking if everything worked, and they replied
that yes, all cells, connectors and buttons were functional. I had my
sighted wife look at the pictures and she was able to read me the
serial number off of the display. I called Vispero and asked about its
history and if it had ever been serviced and I was informed that it
was serviced and cleaned back in 2016. The 80 cell display was from
back in 2006. This thing is huge. I'm talking a beast of a display,
but so far, so good. I've got it set up at my desktop workstation and
now I've got a fully functional 80 cell display that back in the day
went for almost $8000. Side note, looks like this seller's got some
sort of hookup or something. At the time that I purchased it, they had
two devices up for sale. Since then, I believe they've posted four
80 cell displays. Again for roughly $300. Keep in mind, you're talking
about devices that are really long in the tooth, so buyer beware and all that.
Their postings are easy enough to find. You just have to search for
Braille display or something along those lines. There aren't too many
on at any given time.
I still have the Brailliant BI 40, but it's a refurbished model
Humanware provided me as a replacement for my old display that I sent
in late last year to be fixed, but got lost by UPS. Fine by me. It
cost me nothing and now my Brailliant was at least serviced and inspected by Humanware.
I'm thinking of selling my Brailliant and putting that money towards
either a Mantis 40 cell display or the Orbit Reader 40. I'm more
inclined to opt for a device that's maybe dumber as far as on board
connectivity, but that I know I can use for many years to come and not
have to worry about it slowing down or not being able to keep up with
the demands that innovation sometimes brings and just act as a display
with maybe some built in file management features. I mean, if I want
Internet connectivity and all those bells and whistles, that's what a
smart phone or tablet and Bluetooth connections are for.
Just my two cents.


-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of
Joe Orozco
Sent: Saturday, April 3, 2021 12:44 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Braille Displays

The great thing about Humanware products is the ability to pay in
installments. I don’t think APH offers this flexibility. If I can
throw one more product into the mix, it would be the new Braille Sense
6 from HIMS. It’s far and away the most expensive of the displays
mentioned here at $5,795, but HIMS now also offers payment plans.

Here’s the link in case it’s of interest:



On 3/31/21, Abbie Taylor <abbietaylor945@...> wrote:
The Brailliant BI 20X does open Word files, but if you edit them, it
saves them as text files. I hope that helps.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author


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