An imperfect yet comfortable, and incredibly affordable, keyboard for most computers and handhelds
WE LOVE A bargain as much as anyone, but isn’t spending a meagre £9 on a keyboard asking for trouble? We still remember the spectacularly terrible LinDon-Tech Pretty Portable Flexible Wireless (Shopper 348), a £14 floppy silicone model that broke within a day of us rolling it out of its packaging.
We were pleasantly surprised, then, when the AAJ Wireless Keyboard quickly proved itself to be a decent little Bluetooth keyboard. It’s clearly aping Apple’s Magic Keyboard for Macs, with its white and grey colour scheme, and flat, chiclet-style keys – albeit on a tight budget, so you get plastic construction instead of aluminium. The AAA batteries it needs to run are also not included, so you’ll need to add on a few pounds for those.
Still, it’s a cut above the similarly dirtcheap TeckNet X366. For one, it doesn’t slide about as you type, thanks to its small rubber feet, and the boxy battery compartment at the rear props it up for a more comfortable typing angle. This isn’t adjustable, but then budget mobile keyboards rarely are.
The biggest difference comes in the keys, which are much bigger on AAJ’s keyboard than they are on TeckNet’s. In fact, they’re about the same size as you’d likely find on a 13in or 14in ultraportable laptop, which comes in especially handy when you’re typing on an unstable surface such as your lap – it’s much easier to stay accurate, avoiding accidental and missed strokes, than it is with the tiny keys of the X366.
To be fair, while both keyboards use a scissor-switch mechanism, we do prefer the X366’s firmer, springier tactile response. Still, the AAJ Wireless Keyboard has a fairly good feel, considering how low-budget it is, and to our ears, the noise of its switches makes for a better compromise between peaceful quietness and functional auditory feedback than the nearly silent Mini Keyboard.
This is a mostly multi-platform keyboard, being compatible with Windows PCs, Macs, and both iOS and Android devices – with the curious exceptions of Dell tablets and the Mac Mini.
It connects exclusively via Bluetooth; there are no USB or Micro USB ports, even for charging (hence the use of off-the-shelf AAA batteries). There’s no special pairing procedure or extra software required; simply switch it on, press the Bluetooth button, find it in your device’s Bluetooth menu and you’re away.
Interestingly, the instruction booklet suggests that you can use the Fn and Q, W and E keys to ‘shift between’ Android, Windows and iOS devices respectively once they’re been paired, pointing towards some BakkerElkhuizen UltraBoard 940 Compact-style, multi-device capability. Sadly, we couldn’t get this working in practice; once we’d paired to one device – in this instance an Android phone – we couldn’t connect to a PC without pressing the Bluetooth pairing button again, which seems to disconnect it from the handset.
There are some rough edges, then, but nothing we can’t forgive for £9, plus batteries. For comfortable no-frills mobile usage, this is a good choice for the cash-strapped.