£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.