As mobile technology continues to evolve, smartphone and tablet users are able to do more on-the-go. There are, however, some limitations like when you have to do a significant amount of typing. In this case, having an external keyboard is ideal. This year, I received the iClever Bluetooth Keyboard as a gift from my husband and what a wonderful ‘tech gem’ it’s turned out to be!
The Mobile User Struggle
Tell me if this has ever happened to you: there’s a looming deadline but either you don’t feel like pulling out your laptop or someone else is using it. So you unlock your smartphone or tablet and start ‘thumb tapping’ as fast as you can. You quickly realize this was a bad idea given the limited size of the screen, number of typos, and painful hand cramps. Eventually, you give up and begrudgingly save your note, email it to yourself, and pull out your laptop to finish your work–ugh!
This has happened to me more times than I can count…but not any more. 😉
iClever Bluetooth Keyboard
Fast forward to present day. The iClever Bluetooth Keyboard is a portable, tri-fold, rechargeable keyboard. It comes with a mini USB cable (for charging), user manual, and a nice velvet textured pouch with a drawstring closure that makes it easy to slip into any bag or purse for travel. According to the manufacturer, the case is an ‘aircraft-grade aluminum alloy texture for superior durability’. That said, I wouldn’t go throwing it off a building or anything but for what it’s worth, it does feel well built and is very light weight at 0.39 pounds.
Back in the day when I used a Palm Pilot electronic organizer (remember those?!), they had a wonderful wireless fold-up keyboard that opened up to an almost full-size keyboard making it very comfortable to use. The iClever Keyboard is pretty comparable to that. When open, it’s about 10″ long, 3.5″ wide, and 3/16″ thick. When closed, it’s almost half the size at 5.75″ long, 3 5/8″ wide, and 5/8″ thick. Overall, it’s just a bit smaller than an iMac desktop keyboard and slightly bigger than my iPhone 6.
The iClever keyboard paired easily with my iPhone 6 smartphone, iPad mini, and Samsung Galaxy tablet. According to the manufacturer, this keyboard will pair with most iOS, Android, and Windows Bluetooth devices (check the product specs to make sure your device is compatible). Setup is a 2-step process:
- Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on the mobile device and press Fn+C together (Fn stands for ‘function’ key and the letter C on the keyboard has a Bluetooth icon on it in blue. (***Note: In general, the ‘Fn’ key is used to activate any of the additional ‘functions’ labeled in blue on the keyboard keys.***)
- Once you’ve paired it with the mobile device, press Fn+E (for iOS) or Fn+Q (for Android) or Fn+W (for Win) to activate operating system-specific functions (more on this below).
The individual keys are a decent size, very responsive with that satisfying ‘clickity clack’ that you get when typing on a full-size keyboard, and the on-screen response time is instantaneous. Overall, the keyboard layout is big enough and spread out enough to be comfortable without feeling cramped. The keys are clearly labeled—large white lettering on a black background and light blue lettering or icons to indicate ‘function keys’—and very easy to see. There are also ‘F’ keys—F1, F2, F3, etc. thru F12—which appear in blue next to the number keys on the top row.
Finally, there are some operating system-specific function keys—I’ve used all of these successfully on my iOS devices:
- Volume buttons (to raise and lower)
- Select All, Cut, Copy, Paste, Del (delete)
- Play buttons (e.g. previous, next, pause, play)
- Escape, Search, Home keys
- ‘Keyboard’ icon (to show/hide onscreen keyboard)
- Pg Up, Pg Down, Home, End (navigation keys)
There is one feature I wish were different because it presented a challenge for me. If you’re a trained typist meaning you use all your fingers, in the proper position (A, S, D, F, J, K, L. 😉 to reach neighboring keys without looking, you’ll have trouble using the right SHIFT key. Initially when I started using this keyboard, my cursor kept ‘jumping’ to the line above it whenever starting a new sentence. At first, I couldn’t figure out the problem but eventually I realized I was hitting the PgUp button instead of the right SHIFT key. Why? In an effort to keep all the navigation arrow keys together on this condensed keyboard, the manufacturer placed the PgUp button next to the “?/” key which is where the right SHIFT key would appear on a standard keyboard. Once I realized what the problem was, I had to train myself to ‘reach over’ the PgDn key to correctly tap the right SHIFT key. By now I’ve gotten used to it and have been able to resume an acceptable typing speed. However, if you’re not willing to adjust your ‘muscle memory’ to compensate for this modified layout, this keyboard may not be for you as you’ll quickly become frustrated and annoyed.
I’m very happy with my iClever Bluetooth keyboard which my husband was sweet enough to gift me—thank you, Honey! He noticed how much I needed it to get thru those long writing sessions when my laptop was unavailable or out of reach and it’s become one of my mobile office ‘tech gems’. I would definitely recommend this product to anyone looking for a reliable, well-performing, portable keyboard as long as you’re willing to adjust to the one small quirk mentioned above.
Lastly, in case you’re wondering what I’m using to prop up my iPhone, along with the keyboard my husband also gifted me the Multi-Angle Aluminum Stand by Anker—isn’t he thoughtful?! It’s an aluminum stand that has some weight to it so it feels solid, with strategically placed rubber stickers in the groove, underneath, and on the backplate to ensure your device doesn’t slip out. The backplate can be closed flush against the holder or rotated around about 315 degrees. There’s a button on the left side of the stand, located right on the hinge cylinder which you press to ‘release’ the backplate in order to move it. Once the internal locking mechanism releases, you can move the backplate in 3/4″ increments until it reaches a ‘locking point’; to move again, just press the button again and move to the next ‘locking point’. As a result, you can create a narrow, vertical position or an almost flat position to accommodate any mobile device in either a portrait or landscape orientation.
The Anker stand coupled with the iClever keyboard has been a winning combination for me. As a matter of fact, I’ve drafted my last 3 blogposts using this setup so it’s proven to be extremely effective! 🙂
What about you? Do you have any mobile ‘tech gems’ you rely on? Please share in the comments below!