The Keyboard that Opens Up
There are lots of tablet stands with keyboards available, but MykeyO’s mk1800 is the only one that can turn a tabletop into a learning zone. That’s because it not only securely holds a slate in place and allows you to comfortably type on a real keyboard, but it has a hidden storage area below that can hold a term’s worth of school supplies.
At 1.8- by 16.7- by 9-inches, the plastic mk1800 stand can easily fit on anything from a traditional student desk or lab bench to a library table or office countertop. Available in white, pink or black, the keyboard stand has four handy holes for pens, pencils and a stylus. Unfortunately, the bottom of the keyboard isn’t flat and tends to move around while typing. This can be easily fixed by putting little rubber feet on the mk1800.
It’s a little tall for a keyboard, but getting access to the space inside is more than worth it. Raise the hinged keyboard and you’re in for a surprise. Underneath is 144 cubic inches of storage space that’s been divided into cubicles. There’s room for a variety of teaching gear, including spare pencils, erasers, paper clips, sticky notes and memory keys. There’s even a dedicated space for stashing DVDs, but it’s too big for even the smallest scientific calculator.
The keyboard itself is a gem with 104 comfortable 19mm keys, including a separate numeric keypad and dedicated “+” and “-“ keys for math work. All the keys have a generous 3.9mm of depth, provide excellent feedback and are a big step up from using even the best tablet’s on-screen keys.
Overall, the keys feel good and are responsive, but they’re a little noisy, which might be a problem with the whole class pounding away on them. There are nine thoughtful shortcut keys on the sides, including ones for volume, mute, Home and a slew of multimedia controls. While tapping on any key can wake up the system, the key for opening the calculator works with Windows tablets but not for either iPads or Android slates.
Because the MykeyO stand works with just about any tablet on the market, it lacks a built-in power adapter to charge the slate. There’s a recessed trough for holding the slate that can work with anything from a large smartphone to an 11-inch tablet set up horizontally. The keyboard stand sets the screen at about 60-degrees, but this angle can’t be adjusted.
It works particularly well with an iPad Mini, Asus Transformer T100, Surface Pro and Toshiba Excite. Plus, it can accommodate just about any 12- and 13-inch tablets set up vertically on the stand. On the downside, the mk1800 can get top heavy with large tablets and you risk tipping it over when tapping the screen.
The mk1800’s Bluetooth radio starts up when you press the Q and Escape keys and connected with an iPad, an Android slate and a Windows tablet on the first try. The connection process requires typing a passcode that’s displayed on-screen when it is initially linked. After that, the two devices remember each other and connect automatically. Powered by a pair of AAA batteries, a set lasted for about three weeks of daily use with several tablets, so you might want to consider rechargeable batteries for the device.
Although the keyboard’s response is crisp, it lacks a touchpad or the ability to add a mouse, although you can use a Bluetooth device. This means you’ll need to be reaching over the keyboard to touch the tablet’s screen to navigate and select items. Plus, the mk1800 does without speakers.
At $45, the mk1800 is an economical and practical way to turn a tablet into a teaching and learning machine.
+ Bluetooth connection
+ Fold-open top
+ Room for school supplies
+ Keyboard action wakes up tablet
- No touchpad
- Doesn’t charge tablet