Karnotech Foldable Mini Bluetooth Keyboard functions, but not useable as a system.
I love my iPad Air 2, and I have been using this nearly daily for the past year. No, I am not an Apple Sheep. I love the portability, the utility and the versatility. I use this to watch movies, to surf the Internet and as my primary tablet-top (laptop tablet) and photo review platform. How can this device perform all of these tasks? Accessories make the tablet even more amazing. Instead of buying a laptop, I have paired my iPad Air 2 with a Logitech Bluetooth iPad keyboard. I have really loved this keyboard, as the keys are responsive and it gives you the feel of a full keyboard. Not only is the keyboard very responsive, a good weight to not slide when you use it, and good on battery life, the keyboard case serves a very helpful dual role of tablet stand.
Like most writers who fall in love with their set-up, typewrite/computer, I have loved my Logitech keyboard/iPad Air 2 pairing. I have been given a folding keyboard to review. On initial impression the box reminds me of a chocolate candies box. You are given a nice white cardboard box with gold lettering “Folding keyboard,” “portable, fashion, folding.” The bottom of the box has no writing. Removing the top of the box, you immediately see a black rectangle labeled with Karnotech. Nestled into a side compartment is a USB A to microUSB charger. Beneath the keyboard is the user manual. The systems that are supported include Windows 2000/me/XP/Vista/7/8, IOS 4 and above, Google Android 3.0 or above, Windows mobile 6.5 WP7/8. The instructions are average, with some evidence of translation difficulty. This is clunky, but understandable. The instructions walk you through setting this up on PC system, Google systems and IOS systems. To start, turn on the Bluetooth wireless on your smart device, under settings.
I am a fan of portable compact systems. It is hard to not compare this system to my Logitech keyboard/current setup. My set-up works incredibly well, for me, when paired with a lap desk. I really wanted to love this keyboard, and I want to provide positive reviews when able. Someone has worked hard to make the product and bring it to the market. Alas, sometimes the products require some tough love.
The keyboard comes folded in half. On one end of the rectangle is an “open” button. On the other end is a flap that serves to protect the components and circuit boards. This will easily fold down You can actually see ribbon by gently tugging this downward. For someone with children, with inevitable spills, this is somewhat scary as this is a direct access point to the innards of the device. Opening up the keyboard is easy. Simply press the plastic button “open” and you have a nice clasp release feel. Open up the keyboard. The buttons are rubberized, which is a nice feel. Some keyboards have glossy keys and your fingers slide too much and you mistype too easily. This is a laid out similar to most standard qwerty keyboards. However, there are some spacing issues on the keyboard that make it almost not useable. I do not like the split space bar and the weird spacing between the H/J Keys and the B/N keys. Typing with the keyboard is awkward. The back is smooth, the keyboard is light and the keyboard slides around. The plastic piece that protects the components, when folded in half, acts as a fulcrum and the keyboard bends at this point. Thus, it does not sit flat on the countertop. There is a small plastic slide lever along the top that is meant to lock the device open. The first 5 times that I tried to move the slider it was nearly impossible. I had to use another piece of plastic to move it. The surface of the slider has serrations which seem to try to destroy the top layer of your skin. As the lock does not hold this open well, the keyboard tends to see-saw as you use/type with it.
In addition to slightly weird spacing, and not uniformly spaced on most keyboards, the keyboard has some odd sized keys. The caps lock is really small, as are the tab and escape and backspace buttons. There is a forward slash button on top of the backspace and with the small backspace key you add \ \ \ instead of deleting the section.
The company included a thin plastic foldable device stand. Unfortunately, this is flimsy, easily knocked over and will not hold my tablet in either landscape or vertical position. Again, having anything that is easy to knock over, you increase risks for spills. With the open nature of the bottom of the keyboard, I am concerned moisture will get into the components. Neither the keyboard nor the device stand work that well.
The device did not come charged. I had to charge this out of the box. There is no information about length of charge, duration of charge, how long this lasts. I charged the keyboard, via included USB A to microUSB cable overnight. When you plug it in you will see a red LED in the top right indicating charge. This never turned off, even the next morning. I assume that this is a charging indicator. Removing the power charger from the device the LED changed to Blue. Touch the small plastic button just below the blue LED and this enters pairing mode. This blue light is bright and is distracting as it stays lit. If the keyboard is left idle, the blue light will turn off. However, touch any button on the device and it will turn back on.
In summary, I cannot recommend the Karnotech keyboard, knowing how well my Logitech system works, both as a keyboard and a tablet stand. The Karnotech is neat that it can fold into a more portable system. However, when unfolded it gives it a netbook feel. It is really hard to type on, it moves when you try to use it, and the plastic piece causes it to rock side to side when you are typing. The spacing of letters makes for a much less accurate typing experience. Finally, the included bracket/laptop stand is strong enough to hold up a smart phone, but is too weak to hold my iPad Air 2 in either vertical or landscape mode. I would rate this 2/5 stars. As a device it functioned. However as a user, it is not a useable system.
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