One of the biggest gripes about teaching and learning in a tablet-centric school is the lack of a physical keyboard with actual keys to type anything longer than a Web- or email address. Small, light and easy to use, Califone’s KB4 Bluetooth Keyboard makes any tablet more finger-friendly.
Because it uses Bluetooth to connect with a tablet or phone, there’s no software to load and it should work with just about any recent device. The 9.6- by 5.9-inch black keyboard fits nicely in front of a Surface, iPad or 9-inch Android slate. It is only 0.3-inches thick, but lacks feet to give the keys a more comfortable typing angle.
The keyboard is tiny compared to Rapoo’s E9180p and lacks its built-in touchpad. But, if you have a tablet in front of you, chances are that you won’t need one. Just reach out and tap the display to move things around and navigate through the interface. It has a range of about 25-feet, but I expect it to remain much closer to a tablet.
There are 77 keys that at 17-millimeters wide are just large enough to make for comfortable and efficient typing. In addition to the expected letters, numbers and symbols, there are specialty ones for iOS, Windows and Android hardware. The keyboard also has keys for making the screen brighter and adjusting volume, although some of these keys may not work on all types of tablets.
It takes less than a minute to connect the KB4 to a computer via Bluetooth. After that, the two recognize each other and automatically link up. Its 110 miliamp-hour battery was good for more than 6-weeks of daily use and can be recharged with a micro-USB cable.
All told, the Califone KB4 puts you in touch with physical keys that can make everything from typing a paper to recording classroom notes a lot easier.
+ Responsive keys
+ Specialty keys for iOS, Android and Windows
+ Built-in battery
- No feet
- Lacks touchpad