AAJ

Wire­less Key­board

Computer Shopper - - PORTABLE KEYBOARDS - £9 From www.ama­zon.co.uk

VERDICT

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.

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