- Supports Android, iOS, and Windows
- Large keyboard but still quite portable
- Useful backlight
- No built-in stand
- iOS users have to use Win Key instead of Command key
Quick TakeiClever 3 Color Backlight Bluetooth Keyboard is full size but folds to fit easily in a bag or purse. It works with a range of devices, including Android, iOS, and Windows tablets. There's no stand to prop up the computer for typing, though.
Those who appreciate the slimness of a tablet but occasionally use a physical keyboard should consider the iClever 3 Color Backlight Bluetooth Keyboard (IC-BK05), which works with Android, iOS, and Windows tablets and phones. It’s as large as a desktop keyboard, but folds up and is easy to transport.
Is this $54.99 mobile keyboard the one you’ve been looking for? Read on to find out.
Build and Design
When closed, this accessory measures 6.5 x 4.7 x 0.6 inches, so it’s close in size to a paperback book. It’s somewhat pocketable, but fits better in a bag, case, or purse. Nevertheless, the designers pulled off a major coup, considering its size when opened. It’s 11.45 inches wide with the two side flaps unfolded, with a set of keys as large as a desktop keyboard’s.
The exterior is almost entirely aluminum, with a flat metallic look that’s very industrial. This isn’t heavy-gauge metal, and this accessory could be damaged if abused, which is why iClever includes a soft velvet bag for protection. We had no problems with the sliding mechanism and hinges during the time we spent testing them, but we also treated this item carefully.
When opened, the hinges on the back raise the body of the keyboard slightly above the surface. There are small plastic tabs to support the left and right edge and keep this keyboard stable.
A micro-USB port on the top of the IC-BK05 is used to charge the built-in battery, plus it can be used to physically connect this keyboard to a Windows tablet: join the two with the included cable and start typing, without having to set up a Bluetooth connection.
There’s no power button; unfolding the keyboard turns it on, and folding it up turns it off.
One drawback, it’s just a keyboard. There is no stand or means to prop up a tablet. This won’t matter to those who have a model with a built-in stand, but others will need a separate stand accessory.
Another drawback is that this item isn’t well suited for lap use. The folding mechanism makes literal lap use somewhat precarious.
The key area of this keyboard measures 10.9 x 4.2 in. This gives room for six rows of keys, most of which are 0.6 x 0.6 in. with about 0.15 in. between them. This is as large as many regular desktop keyboards and most laptops. We asked people with a range of hand sizes to try out the IC-BK05, and all of them found they could touch type with it. Even those who have issues with smaller mobile keyboards were pleased with the size of this one.
Key travel is typical for portable keyboards, so it’s acceptable but not as great as a desktop keyboard. We ran into no problems with keys sticking or not responding, and typing is fairly quiet.
A set of smaller function keys stretches above the regular ones. For Windows computers this is F1 through F12, but for all devices they also include a set of controls for handling multimedia playback, cut/copy/paste, and more.
A feature that separates this from the less expensive iClever Portable Bluetooth Keyboard is the key backlighting. Users can choose from red, blue, or green, at two brightness levels. These make the keys easy to see in a variety of situations, from a dimly-lit classroom to a dark airplane cabin.
We tested the iClever 3 Color Backlight Bluetooth Keyboard with tablets running Android, iOS, and Windows, and all functioned as expected. There’s no software to install for any of these, but a key combination should be performed to “tune” the accessory to the appropriate operating system.
Bluetooth setup is simple and needs to be done only once, but unlike rival devices like the Microsoft Universal Keyboard, this accessory can be paired with only one computer at a time. Or, as mentioned earlier, this keyboard can be communicate with a Windows tablet over a cable, which means it could be paired with over Bluetooth with an Android or iOS phone at the same time.
Just be aware, the iOS implementation has a quirk: with typical Apple devices, the Command key (used for key combinations like CMD-A to “select all”) is located next to the Space Bar. On this iClever keyboard however, the Win Key has to be used in place of the Command Key, and the Win Key is located between the Function and Alt Keys. The result is that we kept hitting the Alt key when we wanted to Command key when using this keyboard with an iPad.
iClever built a 750mAh battery into this product, and says it’s good for 5 hours of use with the backlight on, or 300 hours with it off. Obviously, users should only turn the backlight on when it’s really needed.
A key combination causes an LED to blink to to give an indication of remaining battery life, or a red LED will light up to show that the charge is getting low.
This accessory comes with its own charging cable, but this needs to be plugged into the USB charger that comes with most tablets, or the USB port on a computer.
The iClever 3 Color Backlight Bluetooth Keyboard is a full-size keyboard that folds to fit easily in a bag or purse and works with a range of devices. There are many portable keyboards on the market, but this is the one of the few that’s suitable for people with large hands. And the backlight is a useful bonus.
There’s no built-in stand, though, and the way it handles the Command button for iPad users is a bit inconvenient.
The IC-BK05 is available now for $54.99. A rival model with a similar-size portable keyboard is the ZAGG Messenger Universal which sells for $69.99. Other competitors with smaller key areas include the aforementioned Microsoft Universal Keyboard ($79.99) and the iClever Portable Bluetooth Keyboard ($35.99).
These comparisons show that this backlit keyboard is reasonably priced.