How many times have you thought to yourself “I really wish I had a physical keyboard for my [insert mobile device]”? Not everyone gets along with touchscreen keyboards, especially when the screen is small. Regardless of if the thought has ever crossed your mind or not, it’s hard to argue that having a wireless keyboard available to you has its bonuses. Imagine sending an incredibly long email from your phone or tablet.
iClever has a great solution for that with their Tri-Folding Bluetooth Keyboard (model IC-BK05), which not only connects to any device that supports built-in Bluetooth (phones, tablets, etc), but also compacts itself down for easy travel.
When closed, the keyboard is about 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ (0.5″ thick) and fits nicely in a backpack, suitcase (do people still carry those around?), purse, tote and so forth. It weighs just slightly more than your average phablet due to its rugged design and metal parts, making it durable yet not over-taxing.
It doesn’t require any adapters or drivers. It simply connects to your mobile device like you would a headset or speaker via Bluetooth. Once connected to a supported OS/device, you can begin using it like any other normal keyboard. Supported operating systems include iOS, Android and Windows. It will even work with Windows Phones as long as you have Windows 10 or later on board (only a few Windows Phone 8.1 devices will support keyboards, like the Lumia 640).
The keyboard functions like any other would with no noticeable delay between button press and screen. It is easy to connect, pairs within seconds and has a slew of features such as backlit keys.
To initially pair the keyboard with your device, you would set your device to whatever screen you can search for nearby devices with. Then unfold the keyboard and hit the “C” key while holding the “Fn” key (aka Fn+C). This will cause the keyboard to go into pairing mode and should appear on your device. Once paired, it will automatically pair to your device every time you unfold it,.
It works both wirelessly via Bluetooth and wired via a micro-USB to USB cable (provided) and you can switch in between modes with a push of a button to switch back and forth and potentially two devices. To switch to Bluetooth mode, you hold Fn and press “1”. To switch to wired, you hold Fn and press “2”. This can be done back and forth to bounce between devices. It will only work with one Bluetooth device at the same time. No adapters or anything are needed unless your device doesn’t natively support Bluetooth, like most desktops.
Holding Fn and pressing the left “Alt” key will trigger the backlight for the keys so that you can see in poorly lit situations (this is great). You can also switch between red, blue and green as your backlit option. This is done by holding Fn and Alt and pressing the up or down arrow to cycle through the colors.
The build of the keyboard, as I mentioned, is pretty rugged. Most outer parts of the casing seem to be metal, with the keys and surround plastic. The hinges also feature plastic pieces, although we couldn’t find any spots that could easily damage outside of excessive force or error and the hinge mechanism feels pretty strong. The face (keys and surround) of the keyboard is black with a silver (metallic) backside with white print on the keys (that lights up when the backlight is going).
It unfolds easily and feels really well during use. Both sides feature a foot that flips down to provide stabilization and it stays unfolded without any troubles while laying flat.
Once you fold it together (closed), it automatically turns itself off to preserve battery life and packs away into a small cloth pouch to protect it with during storage/travel.
We tested it against a number of tablets lying around such as the iPad Air and the Asus Zenpad S 8.0. The keyboard paired up without any troubles and immediately began working without error, turning the tablets into near laptop experiences (just like a cover with built-in keyboard would).
We also tested it against a number of phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the latest Microsoft Lumia 950XL. Once again, the keyboard worked great and you are able to navigate around everything with it, including your start screen, apps list and settings. We did try it out with the older Lumia 920 (Windows Phone 8.1) but it didn’t work, as expected (the 920 doesn’t support any Bluetooth keyboards).
Finally, we tested it across Windows 7 through 10 OS environments using a nano Bluetooth USB adapter. In each case, the keyboard once again performed perfectly. I don’t know how many times you will be using this to replace your laptop/desktop’s keyboard (unless the original one ends up getting damaged beyond repair), but the option is there at least.
For all over situations, the included USB cable can be used to connect it to any device that accepts USB keyboards–which is just about everything, including today’s smart TVs.
They size of the keyboard is just right as it is full-size and comparable to just about any keyboard (both laptop and desktop), making it feel natural to the hands. What makes it even better is the battery life. You apparently get an average of about 70-80 hours worth of active use (typing), with over 200 days standby. This is great as you almost ever have to worry about charging it (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it does feel like it at least). It’s important to know that we didn’t sit there for 70-80 hours straight, typing on the keyboard to test this battery life with, but we have been using it a lot over the past week or so and it has been going strong without having to charge it yet.
Over-all, iClever’s keyboard has a great build and design to it with the perfect amount of battery life. Nearly everything about it is perfect except for price. I won’t mention what the suggested MSRP is, but you can get it for quite less on Amazon for around $55 at this time, which seems expensive enough as it is. If you didn’t tell us the price and we had to guess how much something like this would cost us in a store, we’d throw something out there like $39. At least that was the vote around the office. About 10 years ago, it would have cost around $100, but times have changed and so has the cost of tech (thankfully). Outside of that, the keyboard came close to a perfect score and there are many consumers out there in the world that would still find the keyboard as more than attractive for the price. So if you feel you fall into that pool of consumers, make sure to get your hands on one of these iClever keyboards today! You won’t be disappointed.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
Full-size Bluetooth Keyboard
Equipped with full standard-size keys, you can fast adapt to this new keyboard for fluent and comfortable typing experience
Dual Working Mode
When simultaneously connected to a Bluetooth-enable Smartphone wirelessly and a laptop via USB cable, you can freely switch the working mode by pressing “Fn + 1” or “Fn + W”. That means, one device is in activated status while the other is in standby status
RGB Color Backlit
You can adjust backlit brightness level, and also freely shift its color by pressing ” Fn+ Alt + Up” key or ” Fn + Alt + Down” key
-Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 3.0
-Operating range: up to 10m
-System requirements: iOS, Windows, Android
-Power: built-in 750mAh lithium battery
-Uninterrupted Working Time: 5h (backlit on) ~ 300h (backlit off)
-Standby Time: 90 days
-Charging Time: less than 4h
-Key lifespan: 3 million clicks
-Dimensions: 291 x 117 x 8.25 mm (unfolded) / 166 x 120 x 14.8 mm(folded)
– 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
– 12 Month Replacement Warranty
– Lifetime Support Guarantee
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.