When you are working for yourself you often need to be connected and able to respond. We all carry connected phones around us and often tablets but there’s one problem – the on screen keyboard. On screen keyboards have come a long way in the last few years but inherently are nowhere near as good at typing on as physical keyboards. Microsoft, Google and Apple have all released tablets with keyboards for this mobile productivity market but what if you want to use your phone or the tablet you already have? The ESYNiC Foldable Bluetooth keyboard is designed to overcome this problem.
When you first see the keyboard it isn’t that clear what it is – it looks like a metal cube. Unfold it and you can see it’s a near full size membrane keyboard folded along two lines near the E and P keys. I was concerned that this might leave a keyboard that did not feel solid to type on but the hinges are well engineered and when fully open the keyboard is very solid. The keys are membrane based but have a nice feeling and travel and although smaller than standard keys are only slightly so. ESYNiC have chosen to keep the main alphabet near full size and save space with smaller function and number keys. With a little adjustment and a few minutes practice I was able to touch type and the only key that I found a little awkward was the smaller enter key.
Controlling the keyboard itself is straightforward. Unfold it and it switches on and connects to your device, leave it 10 minutes and it goes to sleep until a key is pressed or fold back up to switch off. It can support three pairings at once as long as one is Android, one iOS and one Windows. I’ve tried it with all and apart from a minor bug with Android 4.4 (caps lock key not lighting up) it worked perfectly and switched from one device to another in a couple of seconds.
Battery life is rated at 60 hours use. I charged it fully as soon as I got it and have used it significantly in the two weeks since without any noticeable drop. The charge is indicated by a green, orange or red LED which is not particularly precise but should give you some warning of an empty battery. Charging is via a microUSB port so probably doable with the cables, batteries and chargers you already carry around with you.
Finally the keyboard comes with a artificial leather and velvet magnetised cover. The cover works well, although it does not cover the two ends of the keyboard. Once removed it can be flipped round and provides a surprisingly serviceable phone or tablet holder.
Included in the box: Keyboard, MicroUSB power cable, manual and the keyboard case/tablet stand
eSynicDirect is a Chinese company that focuses on developing small electronic devices, cables and components.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
The keyboard is versatile and lends itself to being used with a variety of devices and switching between them relatively easily.
The folding nature of the keyboard makes it difficult to use on a lap – it tends to fold inwards if you press too hard on the centre but if you use a hard surface such as a table this does not happen. I was able to use the cover as a hard surface in a pinch – not ideal but it works.
It is accessible to people with diverse abilities needing a minimum of strength and coordination to open and use. In short if you can type on a keyboard you can open and set this one up.
It will operate in temperatures of around 10 to 40 degrees C, isn’t waterproof and while usable in the dark isn’t backlit.
The keyboard has have an ergonomic design which is surprisingly robust and when in its case tough. It can be used efficiently, comfortably and with minimal exertion. There exist all the potential RSI problems that you would find with normal keyboard but it is immediately superior to typing on an onscreen keyboard.
It is slightly smaller than a standard keyboard and some of the symbol and control keys are a little cramped. This in particular affects the enter and backspace. The hinges also protrude above the keys very slightly and I worried that this would be an issue it turned out not be be.
Environment & People
There are no particular environmental aspects to the keyboard or ESYNiC positive or negative.
The keyboard is an alternative to something that you already have. The onscreen touch keyboard free but is far less efficient than the ESYNiC for most users the on screen keyboard will suffice but for more intensive users the keyboard will be £25 well spent.
Operating System: Compatible with Android, iOS and Windows
Battery: 210mAh – 60 hours usage
Weight: 499 g
Size: 20.6 x 19.6 x 4.4 cm (folded)
Bluetooth: 3.0 and up supported
The keyboard can work with Android, iOS and Windows machines and can be paired to one of each devices and switched between them with a hotkey combination. It does not work with Windows 8 Mobile devices and there is a bug with Android 4.4 that the caps lock key does not light up.
External keyboards for phones or tablets are not something the average users needs but there is a significant market segment that finds them very useful. You might not want to type out long emails on your phone but if you need to an external keyboard will be a lifesaver. The ESYNiC Foldable keyboard looks fragile but is actually very precisely and smoothly engineered. The keys are well sized and although not perfect are more than acceptable to touch type on. The case actually works as a stand for your phone or tablet – something I did not expect at all – and protects the keyboard well when used for that.
Overall – if you have to type on the go this would be an excellent choice and we’d highly recommend it.
The review is based on the ESYNiC KB052 Foldable Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Keyboard kindly provided by ESYNiC. This post contains affiliate links.