Gadget Guy: Logitech Keys to Go, iClever Foldable Keyboard and Kenu Stance Reviews
As I’m traveling around the country, I’m trying to reply to as many emails as I can. So yes, if you’ve seen me frantically touching my iPhone screen, it’s just me trying to send a 40-word email.
I once tried to write a newspaper story live from an event on a Blackberry. I typed away and after 20 minutes, I felt like I had just typed “War and Peace.” Then I called my editor and he said, “Uh, Tim, that’s only about 50 words.”
These are the times I long for the comfort of a standard keyboard. Today, we have a couple options to quench that thirst, plus a nifty tripod for your iPhone.
Logitech Keys to Go
Logitech is a proven commodity in the computer and smart device accessories world. But the Keys to Go keyboard is a new Bluetooth solution meant to provide a razor-thin (just 6 mm), portable way of avoiding that endless screen tapping.
The keys are raised over the surface, so there’s definitely a learning curve here. Given the choice, I avoid this raised punch-key approach. It feels more like I’m making a puncture than a keystroke and the keys are so sensitive, it’s too easy to hit other keys while you’re making your way around the keyboard. That said, this design won me over.
One of the biggest upsides here is the FabricSkin material, a durable outer body that resists dirt, crumbs and spills. That’s the upside to the raised-key approach – no need for a microVac to clean out the day’s snack crumbs from under the keys. I did unintentionally spill water on the keyboard while testing and there was no impact in the reliability.
The built-in battery charges with a micro USB cable and Logitech promises three months of use between charges but if you forget to turn it off, it wears down much quicker. An auto on/off timer would be a good improvement.
This truly comes down to personable preference really. I’d rather have a slightly thicker product that gives me the standard feel of hitting a key. But this is the best I’ve seen when it comes to the ultra-flat raised key design, even at a higher price point ($69).
iClever Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard
iclever.com and hisgadget.com
This Chinese brand has built a reputation for reliable accessories to make our mobile life easier – items such as Bluetooth speakers, 4-in-1 USB slot car and desktop chargers and in this case, a foldable Bluetooth keyboard for iOS, Android or Windows phones and tablets.
The ironic part here is that when I set out to review an iClever product, I was originally looking to talk about the QY8 wireless sports headphones. Sophie at Hisgadget sent me a plethora of iClever products and while I was very impressed with the noise-canceling, sweatproof headphones while working out, I was particularly smitten with the foldable keyboard.
When you first pull the 12-mm-thick keyboard out of its packaging, it looks more the size of a flip phone than a keyboard. Then I figured out the tri-fold design and suddenly, this felt like something James Bond might carry. The aluminum alloy-cased keyboard is lightweight and has low-profile keys that make you feel like you’re typing on a typical keyboard.
The size takes some getting used to – it’s about 60 percent of a typical laptop keyboard. Many of your function keys are doubled up here, as a lot of the keys have multiple uses.
Pairing with your device is simple as a green LED light lets you know the pairing is complete. It also has an auto on/off feature that lets you conserve battery in case you forget to turn it off. Plus, the Bluetooth will work from up to 32 feet from your device and the built-in rechargeable lithium battery powers up with a micro USB cable (included).
I found myself drawn to this compact little piece of genius. At $49, it’s a lot of gadget for the price. The biggest bonus here was the scissor switch keys, like those found on most keyboards. It made for much less of a comfortability learning curve in adapting to the size.
The reliability of the touches was spot-on, with very little lag or downtime between keyboard and device. And I must say, it has become a talking point, as I find its setup from packed to unfolded makes for a nice little demo among my tech nerd friends.
This was a no-brainer Platinum Pick.
Some of the best innovations for travelers are the simplest. That’s the case with the Kenu Stance. The San Francisco-based innovator focuses on car chargers and car phone mounts, but the Stance is a sleekly designed tripod for your iPhone, Android or Windows phone.
The Stance weighs just 1.02 ounces out of packaging, and looks like a Swiss army knife before you transform it. I didn’t expect the Stance to hold the weight of a 4.55-ounce iPhone 6 or 6.07-ounce iPhone 6 Plus, but it was plenty sturdy while FaceTiming my family in New England.
The magic here is the ball pivot base at the center of the three arms. It lets the Stance adjust up and down, side to side to get strange-angle selfies. So how does it hold it up? The molding is shaped to fit into the phone’s Lightning charge spot so the phone is mounted to watch Netflix while you’re working or do a Skype call and still be typing on your computer with both hands.
There is an adapter attachment that runs your Lightning cord through it to let you charge the phone while it’s on the stand. And it also is a nice stand for laying your phone sideways, as the tripod compacts to become more of a kickstand hold.
Though if I’m stationary at my desk, I would usually opt to use my Mountie laptop clip to hold up the iPhone 6 landscape.
Some customers have complained in reviews that they’re nervous putting the holder inside the phone’s Lightning port. I can say I’ve been using the Stance for months now and have not had any performance issues with the iPhone 6 Plus.
Bonus: there’s a built-in bottle opener down one of the tripod arms. The Stance ($24.95) is so compact, that bottle opener has come in handy many nights in the hotel room. The product is almost too compact, meaning it would be great if it had some kind of notch to attach to a keychain or carabiner. That’s not really a design knock, more of a suggestion for the next version.
Scoring: Each category is scored between 1 and 10 for a maximum score of 50. Products scoring 48.0 or above earn the label of Gadget Guy Platinum Pick.
Products detailed above were provided to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Tim Wood and have not been influenced in any way.
Have a cool travel gadget we should review? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more Travel Technology News
More by Tim Wood
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports