Being able to control your computer from a distance can be a great thing, especially if it’s being used as a media center machine. 1byone’s Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad combo unit lets you do just that at a fantastic price.
The price you ask? Just $22.99 on Amazon, complete with Prime shipping. And for your purchase, you’ll be getting only the keyboard itself. It does take two AAA batteries, which you’ll have to supply yourself. Given the price of the hardware, it’s not completely surprising to see the lack of included batteries. Fortunately, you shouldn’t have to replace them very often, as the keyboard’s rated to last 4 months in standby mode (longer if you actually switch it off) and 90 hours if used constantly. If your computer doesn’t already have Bluetooth capabilities, you’ll also have to supply your own Bluetooth adapter, but those can be had for less than $8 on Amazon. The keyboard even has a small slot for where you’d want to store one, though my adapter was a tad too large for this opening.
The actual design of the keyboard is very minimalistic, and doesn’t go overboard anywhere. The bottom of the keyboard has a thin metal plate to where the entire unit can flex, but only if you force it to. When actually typing on it (which does take some getting used to, as they keys are a bit smaller than average), everything feels rather solid. Because of its thin profile, it hardly ways anything at all, making it easy to move around.
Pairing the keyboard with your computer is just like any device. Turn the power switch on the top of the keyboard to on, hold Fn + C to enter Bluetooth pairing mode, find the 1byone keyboard in the device list, and enter the pairing code shown on your screen. After entering the code and pressing enter, the keyboard and trackpad should immediately begin working.
Using the keyboard is actually quite nice, mainly due to the low amount of weight overall. I primarily used it for controlling my PC, which was plugged into a TV, from a recliner. First, I’ll start with the trackpad. While it’s adequate for basic computer usage, such as controlling your favorite media player, I wouldn’t recommend it for productivity or real work. Interestingly, it does support multi-finger gestures. For example, you can use two fingers to vertically scroll, or two fingers to pinch and zoom. If you’re using Windows 8, you can also take advantage from its side gestures, where you can slide in from the right side of the trackpad to bring up the charms menu, or from the left side to call the multitasking sidebar. The left click button is larger than the right click one, which makes sense, as that’s the one you’ll find yourself using the most.
Next is the keyboard. As mentioned above, the keys are a bit smaller than average, so it may take some time to get used to. With some practice, I found it to be fairly comfortable to type on, one to where typing longer amounts of text in one stint isn’t a chore. They’re also reasonably quiet. If you like keyboard shortcuts, there are plenty along the function row at the top. You can also pair the keyboard with an Android device, and switch from Windows shortcuts to Android shortcuts with the press of a button. Of course, the keyboard will work for iOS devices, so nobody’s left out with this one.
After using the keyboard for a few weeks, I found no faults with it. It works extremely well, especially given its price. With that being said, I found no reasons why I wouldn’t be able to recommend it. Skip all the expensive alternatives out there, and give this one a try.