Tablet computers are fast replacing laptops and desktop PC’s but when you want to get some serious work done they aren’t always as easy to use. This is especially true when you find yourself with a lot of typing as on-screen keyboards just aren’t as good as the real thing. Thankfully there are plenty of add-on keyboards available to help you get the job done. We’ve been testing out an iPad compatible mobile Bluetooth keyboard from Xenta Technologies.
Before we even got our hands on Xenta’s mobile Bluetooth keyboard we must admit we were a little sceptical that it could deliver. This was simply because it retails for an astonishingly low price of £14.99 in the UK. We prepared ourselves to be disappointed but we’re glad to report we were wrong.
Upon opening up the Xenta mobile Bluetooth keyboard we were pleasantly surprised. The unit itself is very lightweight and just a shade bigger than an actual iPad. It has a nice aluminium finish to match the back cover of an iPad. Although light it actually feels quite robust so you’re not going to be frightened of breaking it easily.
The keyboard has a built-in 160mA Lithium rechargeable battery for its power source. The front right-side of the keyboard houses a USB-B port which you must connect to a USB port on your PC or laptop. The keyboard comes with a charge cable and once connected it takes around 4-5 hours for a full charge. One thing we did notice is that the cable felt a little loose while connected but we didn’t have any problems with it.
When fully charged you can expect to get 60 days standby out of the battery and an impressive 55 hours uninterrupted working time. An extra bonus is that there is an automatic sleep feature to save power if you don’t use the keyboard for 15mins. There’s a slight downside here that it can miss your first key press when you return.
Pairing the keyboard to your iPad is a simple process thanks to the Bluetooth 3.0 technology. You power the keyboard on, press the connect button and go to the iPad Bluetooth settings. After a few seconds the iPad picks it up and you must type the given code on the keyboard to authorise the pairing. Once this is done you simply have to turn the keyboard on and the iPad will find it automatically.
The keyboard will work up to 10m away from an iPad but also features a simple docking slot. To dock an iPad you just stand it upright in the slot and gently rest it back. This is a quick process and very easy to do but has the downside of not keeping the devices locked together and also the iPad must be at a set angle. Once docked the iPad will then sit there quite happily and together it’s easy to mistake them for a laptop. It’s only really designed to take an iPad in landscape configuration and we wouldn’t recommend trying to use one in portrait.
The keyboard itself is a lot like what you would find on a laptop. It’s a full-size layout minus the numpad. The keys are quite small but we found them easy to type on. A nice feature is that they are nice and quiet during use which we feel is important for a mobile keyboard.
In the top left corner there is a special Home key that performs the same task as the Home button on the iPad. There is also an Option key that can be used in conjunction with the Function keys to perform a variety of tasks such as Search, Brightness, Volume and Media controls such as Pause and Play.
When not in use you can turn the keyboard off to save the battery. The keyboard also acts as an iPad cover and clips snuggly over the screen. To prevent scratches to your precious iPad screen the keyboard features eight rubber strips that touch the screen and keep it safe while clipped together. The downside is that the cover only protects the screen so you’ll still want some kind of pouch or bag to carry your device in.
Overall we’ve been very impressed by the Xenta mobile Bluetooth keyboard. It does everything you’d want a mobile keyboard to do at a very affordable price. If you find it hard to type on your iPad screen or prefer a keyboard when working then you should definitely pick yourself up one of these.
Check out the Xenta Technologies website for more information as well as details on their other products.