Need a mechanical keyboard for your tablet or phone? Then this budget option may the one, but there are some drawbacks, especially with using it out and about.
LAYOUT & SIZE
They’ve gone with a 75 key layout. So we basically have a standard 60% keyboard with the function row on top. And this makes absolute sense in terms of size, as it will span the length of the larger tablets. The tablet I have here is the Sony Xperia Z 10 inch tablet which is about 26.5cm wide, and it still has some room on the sides. Although what we can do is rotate it, and we can put our phone next to it if we want to. Or even another smaller tablet.
Because this is basically a 60% board, I think the main problem for this for normal users will be the lack of dedicated arrow keys. I’ve used 60% boards in the past, so I am accustomed to using keys on a function layer, but for a casual user it is pretty annoying. I mean I still prefer dedicated arrow keys on my keyboards because of the way I like to work.
DESIGN & BUILD
The font on the keycaps is the gamery font. Now this is a keyboard that isn’t marketed towards gamers, so I’m completely justified in saying that this is a terrible typeface. It would look so much better to have a simpler font to make it cleaner looking and more professional. Fortunately this has a completely standard ANSI layout, so you could change the keycaps if you wanted to.
I think the overall design is pretty clean. The design is based on function. So it’s quite square. It is a floating key design, so the switches are exposed from the sides. And the base under the keycaps is actually quite slim. Like if we cut off the rest of it, this would be one of the thinner boards out there.
The build is an all plastic construction. This really is nothing special at all, but after you chuck in the 4 AA batteries it does pack some weight at about 770 grams, and this will only get heavier with a device or devices on there. Without the metal there is some flex to it, but overall it doesn’t necessarily come off as cheap feeling.
KEYSWITCHES & TYPING
These come in a standard version which are these clicky blue switches, and a quiet one which I assume are maybe Brown’s or something. These say Kai Hong on the housing, no idea where that’s from, but it’s just a chinese clone of the Cherry MX Blue switch, so it’s loud, tactile, and clicky, with a medium weight. To me they feel very similar to the Outemu Blue’s, so really they’re just like the Outemu’s.
It’s dependent on what environments you will use this keyboard in, but as an overall package, loud clicky switches doesn’t really make sense, as it makes it less versatile. This is specifically made for mobile devices, which means that it would be very useful to bring around with you to use with your devices. But this is definitely too loud for many scenarios that aren’t at home, like at a workplace or at school. Of course there are variables, but for the most part, it is too loud. Making it pretty much only useable at home, or secluded areas.
Alternatively, if we have a quieter switch, it makes the device more versatile and portable in a sense. So definitely overall, the quiet version makes more sense.
This requires 4 AA batteries which are not included, and this can’t be used without any batteries because there is no option for a physical connection, and can only be used via Bluetooth.
I’ve been using this on and off for maybe a month or so, primarily with my tablet, and it’s still running. So I actually haven’t depleted the batteries yet, so I’m not sure how long they will go, and I guess it’s also dependent on the batteries you have. So really, so far so good in terms of battery life.
One of the big features they’re pushing is that this keyboard can simultaneously be used on three devices. We have the 3 buttons here, and these are the 3 different channels we can store a device on. To pair a device to a channel, just hold down the button for 3 seconds and it will start rapidly blinking. And then you just go to the Bluetooth settings on your device and connect it. And we can do the same with the other 2 channels.
When we have 3 devices connected, to swap between them, we just press the channel number and use the corresponding device. It’s worked on every device I’ve tried so far. I’ve tried it on Windows, Android, MacOS, and iOS, and they’ve worked seamlessly together.
So overall it’s a very functional mechanical keyboard for mobile devices, and does what it sets out to do. I think the only difficulty in using this for some people will be not having the dedicated arrow keys, in which other competing keyboards achieve with a truer 75% layout.
The typeface on the keycaps could be better, and I feel like it would have gave the keyboard a much more presentable look if it did have a cleaner font.
Perhaps the lighting could have been brighter. But it isn’t a problem for me personally, and it does conserve the battery life. The keyswitches are unknown to me, but I mean they’re just another Chinese clone and pretty much just feel like Outemu Blues. So they feel good, but I can’t make any comments on the longevity of them. This is available in the quieter switches, and to me they make more sense, as it allows you to use it in more environments.
The overall design is simple and functional and looks pretty good in my opinion, especially with different keycaps. I like the Apple compatibility with the command and options keys, and it’s ability to be used with multiple devices.
The build is nothing special. There’s no metal, which does make it lighter, but of course it doesn’t feel high quality, but at the same time not necessarily cheap.
THANKS TO LIGHTINTHEBOX.COM FOR PROVIDING THIS KEYBOARD FOR REVIEW.