With the trend in microtechnology, it is easy to be small and portable. Kanex succeeded in creating a keyboard that is both portable and one you will want to use.
Now that CES is over, it is time to travel back home. We opted for a flight on Frontier this year (again), as the ticket prices were roughly half of the price of some of the other airlines. I would recommend that you obtain the front row upgrade. This is a noticeable improvement and proved to be a steal at $45. You will still have to pay for a carry-on and for a checked bag, however. Last year, we did not opt for the upgrade and found the tray table to be slightly larger than an iPhone 7 plus. I wanted to do a review while on the trip and my MacBook Pro was much too big for the tray table. So, I turned to my iPad Air 2. While at CES, I was introduced to Kanex, a company that produces a variety of accessories for your smartphone and Apple Watch. One of the accessories was an extremely portable, lightweight ergonomic keyboard.
The keyboard is shipped in a flat white cardboard retail box, with yellow accents. The front details a partially closed/folded keyboard. The packaging notes utility for IOS/MacOS, Android and Windows devices, the ability to sync up to four devices, and a rechargeable battery. On the reverse side of the packaging, the company notes that this is the perfect “fold-and-go” keyboard. Having tested multiple options, this is a rather lofty promise. Measuring at about 1/2″ thick, the keyboard is incredibly thin. It is documented to be 6.42″ long, 4″ wide and weighs 6. ounces. The keyboard folds in half and opens into a V shape, reminiscent of a Corvette logo. There is a magnetic closure, which is very secure. This also turns on/off the keyboard, similar to the Apple screen cover.
When you open the package you will find the keyboard wrapped in thin plastic. You will also be supplied with a 32″ USB A to USB micro charger and the instruction manual. The product is well packaged, and the listed accessories were all present. The instruction manual appears to be very involved and is provided in English, Spanish, French, and two character languages likely Chinese and Japanese. The most helpful part of the manual is the large diagram at the top, which details the functions of the keyboard. Before using the keyboard, make sure
hat you charge it fully. I charged the keyboard for about 1.5 hours, using a Go Puck battery charger and I found the keyboard to be at full power. To find out the power level, hold the blue fn key at the bottom and the “r” key. If you push the fn key and z, x, c, or v, you can switch between four separate devices. The box details only a few of the connectivity options. I was actually surprised to see that you could use the device for IOS devices with 7.0 or later, Mac OS v10.6 or later, android 4.0 or above, windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 (32&64). There is no indication about the size of the battery in the keyboard. I used it for an entire 2-hour flight and the power remained at 100%.
The keyboard has some quick actions. Hold the function button and press the extra key to utilize the following quick actions: fn + ~ to escape to home on IOS devices, fn+1 to search your device, fn + 2 to select all, fn +3 to copy, fn + 4 to paste, fn + 5 to cut, fn + 6 reverse, fn + 7 play/pause, fn + 8 fast forward, fn + 9 volume down, fn + 0 volume up and function backspace to delete. A few other options include fn + r for battery level, fn, z, x, c, v to change devices, fn + control will activate the virtual keyboard on your iDevice. You can also press fn + left to return home, fn + up to page up and fn + down to page down or press fn + right to go to the end of the document. Similar to the control + alt + delete on PC, the keyboard has a master reset, should you need to reset the device. To do this step, you will need to forget the device under Bluetooth. To complete the reset you will need to press fn + shift (left) + delete for 5 seconds. You will then need to pair the device again.
I have used the Kanex MultiSync Foldable Travel keyboard to write my last 2 reviews. If I had a choice, and weight was no option, I would use a full sized keyboard. Alas, this is not always an option. For the portable and ultraportable conditions, the Kanex keyboard will serve you well. The keys have a great feel to them, it is very responsive and the click is reassuring. The F and J keys have the bars on them to be able to quickly find the home row. The ergonomic settings are a little weird at first. There is a large gap (2 – 2 1/2″) between the keys, which does take a little time to learn. If you can type with a normal keyboard, you should have minimal issues with this device. I have tested a variety of keyboards and this is one of the better that I have tested. One negative feature may be that there is not an included screen holder or tablet stand. My Logitech iPad keyboard has been my primary for the past few years, as the case doubled as a tablet stand. When I updated my tablet to the iPad Air 2, I added the Otterbox Defender case. The case cover doubles as a tablet stand, and thus I do not need a keyboard to provide a tablet stand. This may be a personal request and may not be negative to others.
While walking around CES 2017, my MacBook pro was too big/heavy to carry 8-10 miles per day. The Kanex keyboard paired nicely with my iPad Air 2, to allow me to have an ultraportable tablet-top experience. I was able to use this pairing on the complimentary CES shuttles, as well as while waiting in line for some of the events. I actually enjoyed testing this product and would recommend it to others. It does seem to have a rather fast self-power down, lasting just a few minutes. You will see the virtual keyboard pop up, which suggests that the pairing has been lost. Pressing any key will allow the keyboard to return to a functional state. I used the keyboard roughly 2 hours per day for the past 5 days and I am still at 75% power (3 green LED flashes when pressing fn + r). The power should last more than a month at this usage level. I really like the open on and close off feature and the function key accessories. It is a reasonable size to fit into a male cargo pocket and at 6 ounces is light enough to add to your portable tech ensemble. Definitely consider this keyboard, if you are in the market for a Bluetooth portable keyboard. I would rate it at 5/5 stars.
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