VisionTek Waterproof Bluetooth Mini Keyboard: Mid-Size Keyboard To Go
Before I started writing here at XDA I was offered the chance to review a Bluetooth keyboard and touch pad combo called the Candyboard from VisionTek. I thought it was a great option since it connected to every (Bluetooth capable) device that I owned. Recently came the VisionTek Waterproof Bluetooth Mini Keyboard and I was offered the chance to put it through its paces. So far I find I have a mixed relationship with it. Let’s get into the details as to why.
The keyboard is indeed small – about 1.5 cm thick when it’s folded and half that when it’s open. It weighs less than a pound and is pretty straight-forward when operated. The side has a cover that opens up and reveals a MicroUSB charging port that then allows you to charge. And how long does that charge work? Well, I got this back in January and it’s STILL on the original charge; so that’s a long time keeping a charge when not in use. Overall I’ve used the keyboard about 5 hours off and on in that same time period.
When we open up the keyboard it reaches a width of about 11 inches with the first inch on the left reserved for the battery and power button and about .3 inches in the middle from the silicone that both allows the keyboard to fold and stay together but also contains the ribbon to connect the other half of the keyboard.
The letter keys are given almost a full size in comparison to a traditional keyboard while punctuation and other keys are reduced to allow it to fit. None of this though felt uncomfortable typing; even with larger fingers such as mine I found no issues hitting the right key every time. It was great to have the normal notches on the F and J keys as it allows to easily type without looking at the keyboard. This is the first portable keyboard I felt comfortable typing on regularly without issues.
So what about operating the keyboard? Well, to turn it on you press the power button (circle) on the top left. The light blinks a few times to indicate it’s on. Press “Pair Device” next to the backspace key and it easily paired with every device that I connected the Candyboard to. Whether it was the Compute Stick, iPad Mini, NVIDIA Shield TV, LG G4, Samsung S6, Playstation 4, regular desktop and even the office Sony TVs – it easily connected to each with ease. VisionTek’s manual suggests that Android users should press the Function and A keys to maximize performance, but I didn’t encounter any issues that drove me to do this – nor did I with the iPad Mini.
Despite all of this I found a few flaws that I hope VisionTek will take to heart. First off is the gap in the middle, and I understand the need to have it with the silicone. Unfortunately this gap leads to potential issues depending on your typing habits. For example, I tend to type the Y with my right index finger, but the B that I normally use my left index finger to type is now just out of reach. It’s not hard to get into the habit of reaching a bit more to get to it but it’s certainly a bit frustrating when you’re typing at 80 WPM or higher. Being that the keys are silicone it also doesn’t respond as well as a typical keyboard; I found that pressing down hard on each press made certain that they keystroke was registered, but again a bit frustrating when you want to fly through your typing very quickly and a character is missed because it wasn’t pressed down too hard.
These issues pale when considering one very vital factor: price. Both the wireless and Bluetooth Candyboard models are priced over $50, so it’s easy to assume that this keyboard would be priced similarly. Instead VisionTek has done a great job in pricing this keyboard at $19.99. Considering that most devices that this would be used on contain a touchscreen it’s a very smart move. That certainly justifies it being a regular in my mobile inventory, especially when I may not need the full functions of the Candyboard for the time I’m on the go. And if they make just a few tweaks to this, I could see this being an item I would use beyond my road trips and more as an everyday tool.
VisionTek Waterproof Bluetooth Mini Keyboard
- Very thin and light
- Ridiculously long lasting battery
- Connects to every Bluetooth capable device tested
- Almost regular sized keys
- Cheap – under half the price of VisionTek’s competing Candyboard peripherals
- Gap in middle may throw some off when typing
- Keys don’t always register unless press down hard
Contributor’s Note: Keyboard provided by VisionTek for evaluation purposes.
So what do you think? Would you be interested in trying a VisionTek Mini Keyboard out? If so stay tuned as we get a few more items together for a giveaway as VisionTek has also provided one to give away to our readers! In the meantime please feel free to carry on the discussion below about this and/or other mobile keyboard solutions!