Dom Perignon III Speed Contest

How Fast Can You Type on Your PDA?

The fastest entry in each of three categories won a Dom Perignon award.

To know the answer, see the results of the Dom Perignon III Speed Contest!

Participants were asked to type the 40 words on the left and record their time. The following methods were used:

  • FitalyStamp, FitalyVirtual, and the Fitaly keyboards for the Pocket PC and the Palm.
  • Atomik and MessagEase: two Palm input methods that work as overlays on the Graffiti area.
  • On-screen keyboards: The built-in Qwerty keyboard for the Pocket PC and Quick Type for the Palm.
  • Handwriting methods: Graffiti on the Palm, and Block Recognizer and Calligrapher on the Pocket PC.
  • Thumboards – keyboards designed to be used with the thumbs: the Treo thumboard, the Sharp Zaurus keyboard, and the SPB Pocket PC keyboard used with two fingers.

Obviously, the use of Graffiti shortcuts was not allowed and neither was the use of word or phrase completion capabilities such as the ones offered by Fitaly for the Pocket PC, WordComplete, TextPlus, or the one that is built-in Windows CE.

The use of an attached full keyboard was not allowed since the object of this contest was to compare input methods using either single pen input or two fingers on a thumboard.

The contest ended on December 20, 2002.

Contest Awards

Dom Perignon

Analysis of Final Results

Contest entries have been recorded with the FitalyLetris freeware game, using either the Palm or the Pocket PC version. Times are measured in hundredths of seconds. Score sheets for all entries are available on the Dom Perignon III Forum in the form of gif files attached to the entries.

Below are the final results. The average speed is around 50 words per minute and it fully demonstrates that text input on a PDA is a very realistic proposal!

Average Speeds by Method

Below is a summay of the speeds in words per minutes (wpm) achieved with each of the main methods. The fastest average speeds are listed first:

Method Average Speed Fastest Entry Entries
Fitaly - Pocket PC59.38 wpm78.25 wpm11
FitalyStamp - Palm58.86 wpm73.55 wpm10
Thumboards 57.98 wpm84.00 wpm6
MessagEase Stamp - Palm50.63 wpm66.94 wpm6
Atomik Stamp - Palm46.65 wpm71.53 wpm3
Qwerty Keyboards31.09 wpm39.34 wpm4
Handwriting Methods 28.87 wpm40.05 wpm7


Additional information can be found at the following pages:

The Importance of Being Over 40 WPM

The average speed achieved by all participants is 50 wpm, which translates in an everyday speed of over 40 wpm.

We would like to emphasize the significance of achieving 40 wpm and more on a PDA: This is the speed achieved by many average typists on the full 10-finger keyboard of a PC. So these results demonstrate that entering memos on a PDA is a realistic proposal with methods such as Fitaly and FitalyStamp, as well as thumboards.

Even for those who type very fast on a PC, the incremental speed is more than offset by the convenience of a machine that is always there with you, in your pocket, in every meeting, when you need to record a new idea, and always ready to start immediately. Carrying a laptop is not a convenient alternative, not to mention the time it takes to start a Windows application. And writing notes on paper is not a good alternative either with the time lost transcribing and the difficulty of filing.

So even for fast PC typists, the speed achievable with methods such as Fitaly and FitalyStamp combined with the convenience of a PDA that is always with you, offers a realistic solution for text entry. What participants of the Dom Perignon III contest have again demonstrated is that...

The real purpose of HotSync and ActiveSync
is to transfer from the PDA to the PC!

Final Notes

Prior Contests

A first Dom Perignon Contest was run in July 1998, won by Marcus McRae. Two years later, the Dom Perignon II Contest was won by Faith Perez of Australia. With more input methods available now in 2002, the time had come to reassess what can be achieved on these wonderful PDAs and this was the purpose of this third iteration of the contest.

To allow an easier comparison with the earlier two contests, we chose to keep the same test paragraph. It turns out that the words used in it are among the most frequent in the English language and are therefore a good test for usual tapping skills.

Test Paragraph

Here it is again, for those who find the text on the picture too small:

  What you need to do to have a chance to win the contest is to tap this sentence as fast as you can without any error. One more thing you need to have for a valid entry is a witness.  


Click on to watch our winners demonstrating their phenomenal technique.


We are pleased to acknowledge the cosponsorship of the Dom Perignon III Contest by the following companies, all dedicated to working more efficiently on PDAs:

Blue Nomad - WordSmith Pocket Informant
Quik Sense - Quik Budget IA Style ScreenShot
Paul Computing - pedit Pro Astraware - Bejeweled for the Palm - Diamond Mine for the PPC
Neohand - Amy Reiley's Pocket Vineyard ttools - Advanced writing tools

FitalyLetris for the Palm
FitalyLetris for the Pocket PC
FitalyStamp Overview
FitalyVirtual Overview
Fitaly for the Pocket PC Overview
Textware Solutions
Statistics By Method
Hall of Fame
Quadratlon Corner
Dom Perignon III Forum
Dom Perignon II Contest
Dom Perignon I Contest

Copyright © 2002 Textware Solutions. Last modified 26 December 2002