All iPads iClever Tri-Folding Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard review

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by Donka, Jun 3, 2016.

  1. Donka, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016

    Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #1
    The previous Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard from iClever was the first folding portable keyboard I had used that didn't seem to have any obvious caveats. This upgraded model adds backlighting and a full sized keyboard along with some other refinements to what was already a great product. Crafted from Aircraft-grade aluminium, this Bluetooth keyboard appears very well made and feels great in the hand thanks to its anodized finish.

    In the box is the keyboard, user guide, micro USB charge cable and storage bag. Folded up, this measures in at 166 x 120 x 14.8mm and tips the scales at a modest 282g. Opened out for use, the keyboard is 291 x 117 x 8.25mm with the keys perfectly replicating the layout and dimensions of my MacBook Pro keyboard. This keyboard employs an unusual bi-fold design that allows for a compact folded size but unusually a single piece space bar as well which is very welcome.

    The keyboard lies flat and sits atop small rubber feet that hold it steady on a desktop when typing. This is a chiclet style keyboard fashioned from matt black plastic housed in the aluminium giving it a premium look and feel. This also gives it a reassuring rigidity which belies its price point. An added refinement over the previous model are small flip out rubber feet at the outer left and right sides to provide absolute stability in use - something this larger model really benefits from.

    The Li-polymer battery is rated as good for 90 days between charges or up to 300 hours of effective usage time. Activating the back light reduces this run time down to 5 hours but you have two brightness levels to choose from with the lower brightness getting an extra couple of hours of use. Charging is quick using the supplied micro USB cable which connects on the top. Three LEDs on the fascia keep you informed of the status of the device showing Caps Lock, Bluetooth pairing, power, charging and low battery. The keyboard also features a power saving mode that will sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity but awakes again at the tap of a key.

    Pairing is achieved by simply opening the keyboard, which turns it on, and holding down the function and C keys - the led will flash blue when available for pairing. No pass code is required and this is a onetime setup. Once paired, the keyboard subsequently connects automatically when powered on and quickly too. When typing, there was absolutely no lag and performance was great. The keyboard felt very good to type on considering the slim chassis - the keys use a scissor style connection which make them smooth and quiet in use. Function keys also worked with iOS functions so you can, for instance, change volume directly from the keyboard or pull up Spotlight search. There is actually an option to switch between iOS, Android and Windows which ensures you get the best compatibility depending on the host system.

    The backlighting works very well in poor lighting and is a great addition. As well as toggling brightness, you can cycle through red, blue and green backlighting with a quick key combination to suit your mood. I thought this might have been a tacky feature but the coloured lighting works well in practice. Another subtle but genuinely useful feature is the ability to use the keyboard over USB instead of Bluetooth and switch between the two operating modes. Not only does this mean you can use the keyboard when out of charge with a suitable host, you can also flick between the two with another simple key combination. If you are the kind of person who works with say a desktop device and a tablet, you have the option to plug the keyboard into the desktop via the USB cable and connect to the tablet over Bluetooth and quickly switch between each screen for typing.

    The keyboard comes with a US layout which is a minor disappointment but quite common with portable keyboards. Thankfully, the region settings from the host OS are still at play so you will have access to your local characters, you just need to know the correct key strokes to achieve this and it only affects a handful of lesser used characters. Shift + 3 for example pulls up the £ sign.

    It performed perfectly for me without any issues and feels very good quality for the money. You always expect compromises with a folding keyboard but there really aren't any of note with this one from iClever. I really recommend this for the road warrior that likes to keep a physical keyboard handy for their gadgets. As long as you can give up some of the portability with this new model, you really are gaining some great extra functionality and an improved, full sized typing experience.
    Disclaimer - I received this as a free sample for review on Amazon but wanted to share my thoughts here.

    ** This is compared to the iPad mini 4 in the attached images.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Slimmyhendrix macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2014
    Location:
    MN
    #2
    I don't really see the point of a portable keyboard for an iPad. It looks good though.
     
  3. Donka thread starter macrumors 68020

    Donka

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #3
    It's the kind of gadget you can throw in a bag so you can travel light and compact but still have a full size keyboard with you. I've always preferred these over keyboard cases since I don't need a proper keyboard too often.
     
  4. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #4
    If I didn't have an Apple Smart Keyboard I would definitely consider something like this. However I do prefer the practicality of the Apple Smart Keyboard in that it's part of the Smart Cover and also connects directly to the iPad therefore not having to use Bluetooth.
     
  5. Donka thread starter macrumors 68020

    Donka

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #5
    I don't mind the Bluetooth connection because once it is set up, it is pretty seamless although it would be interesting to see a folding keyboard that could somehow connect with the smart connector on the iPad. I guess the location of that connector and integration with cases make such a keyboard unlikely.
     
  6. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Location:
    Portsmouth, NH
    #6
    I regretted getting the ASK at first but it's really growing on me.
     

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