Ooh, keyboards. Exciting, right?! Oh, are you nonplussed? Get over it dude: The concept is of a single keyboard that works really well across all of your computers, tablets and even your phones is actually something incredibly appealing.
The Bluetooth keyboard is the coffee filter of your connected life -- an oft-under-appreciated player that can easily ruin your day. Or make it.
We decided to look at full-sized Bluetooth keyboards only, and we tested across several devices: a computer running OSX, a computer running Windows, a tablet running Android, and an iPhone. We took into account keyboard design, ease of use, portability, compatibility and features -- as well as more subjective bits and bobs like how comfortable and enjoyable they were to use. Here's how the dogfight fell out.
4th Place: Matias Wireless Folding Keyboard
Everyone likes rooting for the underdog, and who's ever heard of Matias, right? Good news: this was the little guy of the group -- both figuratively and literally. It was easily the most travel-friendly of the keyboards we tested. It's really kind of remarkable how Matias managed to get this full-size keyboard to fold up into such a tight little package. The keyboard played nicely with Macs, PCs and various Android and iOS devices (despite it only making claims of OSX and iOS compatibility).
Unfortunately, that's where the compliments end. The keys are just waaaay too stiff. If you're typing quickly, you're going to miss keystrokes -- enough to make typing an email extremely frustrating. The orientation also takes some getting used to; because of the placement of the hinge in relation to the keys' layout, you feel like you're typing way over to the side. We were also concerned about its design and build quality: Not only are the keys very elevated (which is strange considering how little they move), but there are big gaps between them that will quickly fill up with dust, hair and bits of Flamin' Hot Doritos. And when you fold the keyboard up, the keys rub together in a worrisome way. Also, if you don't turn it off before you fold it, continual key-presses will kill the battery overnight. $US100.
Matias Wireless Folding Keyboard
• Compatibility: OSX, Windows, Android, iOS • Bluetooth: Yes • Rechargeable: No • Weight: 434g • Price: $US100 • Gizrank: 2.5
3rd Place: Apple Wireless Keyboard
It needs to be said: This keyboard looks great. It walks the Apple line of being extremely clean and minimal while its aluminium construction makes it feel beastly strong. It works just fine with OSX Macs, Windows PCs, iOS devices and even Android tablets and phones (though, obviously, it works better with the Mac stuff). Unfortunately this thing is more form than function.
While the keys are easy enough to press, they don't have nearly enough play. They're short and sensitive, which leads to accidental key presses. They're also extremely flat, which doesn't much help your fingers find the right keys. There's just too little of this keyboard, and that makes your hands feel cramped and compressed. It's the opposite of ergonomic. It's almost as if the person who designed it dislikes human hands and wants to punish them. While using this thing for a couple weeks I experienced way more wrist-pain than I am accustomed to, and I missed nothing about it when I moved on. At all. $75 RRP in Australia.
Apple Wireless Keyboard
• Compatibility: OSX, Windows, Android, iOS • Bluetooth: Yes • Rechargeable: No • Weight:108g • Price: $75 in Australia • Gizrank: 2.5
2nd Place: Logitech diNovo Series (Edge and Mac Edition)
We tested both the Mac Edition and the Edge from the diNovo series, for reasons we'll get to in a moment. These keyboards are gorgeous. They have a lot of the stark beauty of the Apple Wireless, but none of the hand-crampage. There's a lot of cold metal and they feel like they could take a bullet. Key presses are downright dreamy -- these 'boards have just the right amount of give, and you can absolutely fly on them while making very few errors. Well, at least I could. Nya nya. The Mac Edition is nicely customised for OSX (real shocker there), and the Edge has a lot of nice bells and whistles, like an extremely convenient mini-trackpad. They're big, and not super portable, but hot damn are they comfortable to use.
Unfortunately, neither of these play well with others. They're like Bluetooth keyboards that hate Bluetooth. The Mac Edition needs to pair with a USB dongle attached to your computer. Sure, it uses a Bluetooth radio to do so, but that doesn't count if you can't pair directly with your machine. Such bullshit! The Edge was supposed to be able pair sans-dongle, but it had a lot of trouble doing so, and it's not compatible with OSX. Make no mistake, these are fantastic keyboards, but without the ability to easily pair with a tablet or smartphone, neither is gonna snatch the gold -- and their pricetags didn't help their cases. Prices: Edge: $US180. Mac Edition: $US100 RRP, but it seems to be going for $US230, astoundingly.
Logitech diNovo Series
• Compatibility: OSX or Windows • Bluetooth: Not really • Rechargeable: Edge: Yes, Mac: No • Weight: Edge: 936g / Mac: 454g • Price: $US100-$US230 • Gizrank: 3.5 stars
BESTMODO: Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000
This baby hit the sweet spot. First off, it's compatible with everything you can throw at it: OSX, Windows, Android devices, iOS devices, they all pair easily and you're good to go. They keys have great click to them. They're slightly stiffer than the Logitech keyboards, but they're not at all hard to press. There's a very slight curve to the keyboard, making it gently ergonomic without alienating people who are used to a straight tray. The 6000 is light, compact and has a low profile, making it good for tossing in a backpack. It also has a separate numerical keypad, which is nice -- since you don't always need it and don't always want to hump the extra bulk.
It's not all roses, unfortunately. The back's plastic feels a bit flimsy, and the seams don't match up perfectly; the construction, in other words, is kinda shitty. The keys are generally really easy to hit and then whoa why is the Backspace key so far away? It's a pretty major reach -- you're going to end up hitting the backslash a lot until you get accustomed. Also, some fold-out feet would be nice, you know, so you could angle it. Those minor gripes aside, this keyboard is comfortable and functional enough to use as your daily driver; it pairs with everything, and it's great for travel. Win.
Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000
• Compatibility: OSX, Windows, Android, iOS • Bluetooth: Yes • Rechargeable: No • Weight: 414g • Price: $US90 • Gizrank: 3.5