BAKKERELKHUIZEN

Ul­traBoard 940 Com­pact Key­board

Computer Shopper - - PORTABLE KEYBOARDS - £79 From www.well­work­ing.co.uk

VERDICT

The mul­ti­tal­ented Ul­traBoard 940 blurs the lines be­tween desk­top, lap­top and mo­bile key­boards

FLEX­I­BIL­ITY ISN’T SOME­THING we ex­pect from a key­board – by their na­ture, they have a very spe­cialised job, and it’s per­fectly fine for one to sim­ply sit there on a desk and do it.

How­ever, with the rise of 2-in-1s, and even smart­phones and mo­bile OS-equipped tablets be­com­ing more ca­pa­ble as pro­duc­tiv­ity de­vices, there’s room for key­boards that can switch seam­lessly be­tween desk­top PC duty and wire­less typ­ing on the go. This is ex­actly what the Ul­traBoard 940 Com­pact Key­board, from Dutch firm BakkerElkhuizen, is built for.

It’s ex­pen­sive for a por­ta­ble board, but it tries to el­e­vate it­self above the crowd. It uses scis­sor-switch keys rather than a mem­brane de­sign, which gives a crisp re­sponse and a de­cent amount of au­di­ble feed­back. To­gether with the square, flat, chi­clet-style keys and mod­est amount of travel, it al­most evokes the feel­ing of typ­ing on an ul­tra­portable lap­top.

It took a while to get used to the shrunken En­ter key (which is con­fined to a sin­gle row)

and the stubby Backspace key, but we were soon hap­pily crank­ing out text. It’s not short on keys, either: there’s a full set of Func­tion keys, which in­clude screen bright­ness, me­dia play­back and vol­ume con­trols, while Home, Mail, print Screen and Num Lock get their own ded­i­cated hotkeys up on the top left. De­spite the plat­form ag­nos­ti­cism, there’s even a Win­dows key, la­belled Start.

Of course, the whole idea is that you don’t have to just stick with Win­dows or Mac com­put­ers. Un­plug the Mi­cro USB ca­ble, which charges a pair of re­mov­able, recharge­able AAA batteries, and you can con­nect to up to five An­droid or macOS de­vices si­mul­ta­ne­ously, swap­ping be­tween them via the num­ber keys.

The in­struc­tions aren’t clear about get­ting this (rather cen­tral) fea­ture go­ing, specif­i­cally as to the or­der in which you need to press the Blue­tooth but­ton, as­sign the de­vice to a num­ber key and pair with the key­board via the de­vice’s set­tings, but soon enough we were typ­ing on our An­droid ph­ablet.

There are many Blue­tooth key­boards that can sim­ply con­nect to both hand­helds and desk­tops, but most are fo­cused on the for­mer, and thus pri­ori­tise porta­bil­ity over the typ­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. This key­board, con­versely, brings a more com­fort­able, PC and lap­top-like qual­ity to mo­bile typ­ing, and by and large it suc­ceeds. It’s as light as a por­ta­ble key­board, at 430g, and we haven’t even men­tioned the two full-size USB2 in­puts, which can grab the data off a thumb drive no prob­lem.

In the end, our only prob­lems with the Ul­traBoard 940 were its flimsy fold-out legs and the fact that Blue­tooth is dis­abled when con­nected via the Mi­cro USB ca­ble, so if you’re charg­ing it through your main PC, say, you can’t quickly switch to typ­ing on a wire­less con­nected 2-in-1 tablet nearby. Oth­er­wise, it earns its high price, and we’d rec­om­mend to any­one with the bud­get.

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