Computer Shopper - - PORTABLE KEYBOARDS -

£13 • From www.ama­zon.co.uk


Tiny keys and min­i­mal grip let down what might have been a vi­able bud­get op­tion

JOIN­ING THE AAJ Wire­less Key­board at the low end of the Blue­tooth mar­ket is Teck­Net’s ul­tra-com­pact X366. Feather-light and mea­sur­ing only 7mm at its thick­est point, this is about as por­ta­ble as non-fold­ing QWERTY key­boards come – and it’s yours for an at­trac­tive-sound­ing £13.

As we said in the AAJ re­view, how­ever, this isn’t the sub-£20 key­board we’d rec­om­mend out of the two; in fact, it’s not really one we’d rec­om­mend at all. This is mainly due to how small and cramped the keys are: it’s nice that Teck­Net has in­cluded a full set of Func­tion and char­ac­ter keys, and some squeez­ing is to be ex­pected when the whole thing mea­sures just 247mm width­ways, but for typ­ing any­thing longer than one or two lines, it’s ap­par­ent that this is one com­pro­mise too far.

It’s not just that the main let­ter keys are shorter and nar­rower than on the AAJ Wire­less Key­board, which can also be picked up, bagged and trans­ported per­fectly eas­ily, but im­por­tant keys such as the En­ter,

Backspace and Tab keys are al­most com­i­cally small. This left us con­stantly hav­ing to look down at the key­board to make sure we were hit­ting the cor­rect key, slow­ing us down.

This is an enor­mous shame be­cause, strictly in terms of key­press feel and me­chan­ics, the X366 is ac­tu­ally very good. The un­der­ly­ing scis­sor-switch has very dis­tinct on/off states, so we were never in doubt as to whether a stroke had reg­is­tered, and each key has a lively, ag­ile tac­tile re­sponse. It’s also much qui­eter than the AAJ Wire­less Key­board, though that could be either a bless­ing or a curse de­pend­ing on your tastes.

Either way, the X366’s com­fort is­sues are com­pounded by the fact that it just won’t sit still. There are no rub­ber pads, feet or ex­tend­ing legs on the un­der­side at all, so the flat plas­tic panel only has as much grip as it’s nat­u­rally af­forded by what­ever sur­face it’s sit­ting on. In the case of wooden desks or plas­tic trays – like the ones you’d get on a train or plane seat – this is very lit­tle, and as a re­sult, it slips and slides about with the force of your fin­ger taps. We had to place it on top of a mag­a­zine (an ever-con­ve­nient is­sue of Shop­per, nat­u­rally) just to write this re­view.

It’s not much bet­ter on laps, either; the X366’s thin­ness and plas­tic con­struc­tion (it may look like brushed alu­minium, but it isn’t) work against it, with the whole thing bounc­ing and flex­ing un­der our fin­gers.

Con­nect­ing to dif­fer­ent de­vice types is pain­less, and there’s full com­pat­i­bil­ity with Win­dows, Mac, iOS and An­droid. How­ever, like AAJ’s key­board, the Q, W and E keys are la­belled for a source-switch­ing fea­ture that either doesn’t work or never ex­isted. Again, we could only pair with one de­vice at a time, re­gard­less of if one was Win­dows and the other was An­droid.

Ul­ti­mately, it’s eas­ier to live with or ig­nore the AAJ Wire­less Key­board’s faults than it is with the slippy, cramped X366’s draw­backs. Con­sider that AAJ’s of­fer­ing is even cheaper as well, the choice be­tween the two is really no choice at all.

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