In a recent review, I took a look at a computer that is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. That same company even makes computers small enough to fit inside an HDMI stick that plugs directly into a TV.
With computers becoming portable and tablet sales back on the rise, typing on small or far away screens isn’t always the ideal situation. In fact, sitting at a table or desk with your fingers cramped on a tight keyboard can cause strain on your hands and even your neck if you need to look at a flat screen.
Typing with your thumbs in a portrait landscape, speaking your sentences, or using one of the thousands of portable keyboards are just a few ways that you can solve the problem of typing on far away or small devices. Yet, what if you are on the couch about to use your media server or perhaps that tiny PC I reviewed a while back.
On Windows, you need to use a mouse to navigate around easily and on Android, a mouse can pop up on the screen if it detects a compatible device. Therefore, using your thumbs or just a keyboard to navigate the OS isn’t always the most practical.
IClever is back at it again with their latest wireless keyboard. Folding into three sections, this Bluetooth-enabled keyboard allows you to use a physical keyboard that is small enough to fit into your jeans pocket and this time around the keyboard has an extra trick up its sleeve.
Welcome to my review on the iClever Tri-Fold Wireless keyboard.
Back in 2015, I reviewed the iClever Foldable Wireless Keyboard, a tri-folding keyboard that featured full QWERTY support that worked on multiple different devices.
Three years later, not much has changed from the old style to the new one. On this current model, we still find a full QWERTY keyboard layout with a plethora of function and secondary buttons inlaid with your standard QWERTY characters.
Aluminum is the go-to building material for the iClever keyboard to offer the most durability possible. With a good amount of stress and flexing to the keyboard, it held up quite well in a brief durability test.
There aren’t any buttons or lights around the keyboard, only a micro USB port for charging the internal 210 mAh battery.
Being that this is a tri-folding keyboard, the keyboard folds into three sections which are placed on an actuator mounting bracket. It opens as easily as you would open a book and continues to stay open with the help of some magnets. When finished, simply closing the two outer sides to the center piece will close the body with help from those same magnets.
Each key is readable from afar with the letters capitalized in white text. For the secondary commands/buttons, these functions are written in a darker blue that is also readable for those with moderate vision.
Continuing with the keys themselves, the text and writing on each key are screen printed on and not actually part of the key cap. This is somewhat disappointing because eventually enough finger oils will rub away or fade the lettering. It also means that the keys are not backlit.
The iClever keyboard uses chicklet-styled key actuators which are very similar to a Chrome book or netbook laptop keyboard. They offer a subtle tactile sound and have a very short travel distance, but no matter where you press down on the key it feels the same all around.
Key layout on the keyboard is exceptional, with only personal dislikes of some of the key positioning and size. Backspace is a tiny button located in the upper right, shift and enter keys are shortened, and sometimes I would accidentally hit caps lock instead of ‘A’. Sacrifices are expected on a keyboard that folds into something smaller than a sandwich, but it’s difficult to get used to these drastic key changes. The good news is that the QWERTY keys are all in their respective locations and are an acceptable size.
As for that trick up its sleeve, there is a new addition of a trackpad with left and right click buttons. Taking up about ten percent of the keyboard’s real estate, this newly added trackpad gives you the ability to use full mouse operation from afar. More on this below.
iClever’s tri-folding keyboard supports a 210 mAh internal battery. This battery may seem small in a numbers spreadsheet, but the keyboard does an excellent job at battery management.
I’ve been using this keyboard since it first arrived over a month ago and I have yet to recharge it. When folded, the keyboard turns itself off to preserve the battery and when it doesn’t detect any input, it enters into sleep mode. It’s impressive at how well it stretches the 210 mAh battery life.
What’s not as impressive is the Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. The Bluetooth group just recently released their latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard and for this keyboard to still be using Bluetooth 3.0 is somewhat a bummer. That said, the Bluetooth connection on the keyboard is good enough if it retains a direct line of sight to the host device and is within 20 feet. However, if somebody or something gets in the way of the keyboard and the device, I noticed that some key presses were missed.
The typing experience on the keyboard recalls nearly the same thoughts on my three-year-old review. It’s an enjoyable experience with a small learning curve, something that I could easily see myself constantly using in a hotel room or on the couch with my media PC.
This isn’t a keyboard that will be replacing the one at your computer desk or one that you will be using every single day. Instead, it’s a keyboard that will be used while travelling or on the go.
What I enjoyed a lot about the typing experience was that the keyboard was light enough that I could hold it in multiple different positions. My lap, the couch cushions, or standing up and holding the keyboard in one hand while typing with the other were all acceptable typing positions.
When it came to the trackpad, its smaller squared size was far superior in the fact that I could use it with just one hand. My thumb could navigate the trackpad surface with ease or I could use my pointer finger. The only adjustment needed with the trackpad is nothing about the trackpad, but the right and left clicks. Their actuators are somewhat mushy and unsatisfying to click.
Finally, the keyboard allows three Bluetooth profiles to be connected to it at any given time. This does not mean that it can type to three devices at once, but rather that it can swap between any of the three connected units.
Those connected units can be Android, iOS, or Windows but not Mac OS. Moreover, looking around the keyboard, there’s a function key for nearly everything you would expect for all three operating systems.
My Final Thoughts
There are three iterations of the iClever tri-folding wireless keyboard. The one I reviewed three years ago, the one in this current review, and one that has backlit keys, but no trackpad. The trackpad-less models are a fair and reasonable price on Amazon, but this unit is priced at nearly double that of the base model.
iClever’s tri-folding keyboard is enjoyable to use, feels great in the hand, offers superior portability, and connects to three major portable operating systems for great connectivity. I see myself continuing to use the keyboard for the living room or while on the go, but at $49.99 is questionable if the trackpad is worth the upgrade costs.
© 2017 Justin Vendette
Tagged Amazon, Bluetooth, folding, Go, iClever, keyboard, On, pad, portable, review, The, touch, touchpad, tri, wireless.