iClever IC-BK08 Portable Tri-folding Bluetooth Keyboard with Touchpad Review

by Reads (1,057)
  • Pros

    • Useful touchpad
    • Very portable
    • Can pair with 3 devices
  • Cons

    • No dedicated apostrophe or question mark keys
    • No built-in tablet/phone stand

Quick Take

The iClever IC-BK08's keyboard and touchpad combo is very convenient for tablet users who are accustomed to a similar arrangement with a laptop.

There are external keyboards aplenty for tablets and phones, but iClever offers one that really stands out: its built-in touchpad makes it just about unique.

The iClever Portable Trifolding Bluetooth Keyboard with Touchpad (IC-BK08) was designed for Android and Windows devices, and iOS models support some of its functions. It’s available now for under $80.

iClever IC-BK08 Build and Design

iClever IC-BK08

iClever IC-BK08 Folded for Transport

When folded, this accessory is 6.2 by 3.5 by 0.3 inches, and 7 ounces, so it definitely qualifies as portable. It fits well in a back pocket, and goes very easily into a purse or backpack.

The exterior is aluminum, making it more rugged than plastic competitors. This product flexed only slightly when we attempted to bend and twist it. For further protection, iClever bundles a dark grey cloth draw-string carrying case.

The overall look is very professional, and the IC-BK08 would fit in well anywhere from a classroom to a James Bond movie.

Opening a pair of “wings” along dual hinges reveals the keyboard and the trackpad. Opening and closing these wings turns on and off the Bluetooth functionality, so no dedicated power button is necessary.

These hinges cantilever the left and right edges of the IC-BK08, so iClever’s designers included a pair of braces to help this accessory sit solidly on a table.

We tested using this keyboard and touchpad in our lap and found it to be only somewhat useful. It’s necessary to support this accessory at the hinges or it will fold up under its own weight. This requires sitting with the knees close together.

Keyboard

The key area of this accessory is 8.0 by 2.9 inches, significantly smaller than typical desktop keyboards, which run about 11 in. wide. Most keys are 0.6 by 0.6 in., with about 0.1 in. of key separation. Desktop keys are about 0.9 x 0.9 inches, but generally offer only slightly more separation.

iClever IC-BK08 Keyboard and Touchpad

Making room for the trackpad required some other compromises too, and chief among these is leaving out the dedicated apostrophe/quotes key. Instead, these symbols are alternates of the L and colon/semicolon keys that are entered with the help of the Fn key. Similarly, entering a question mark requires the Fn and close brackets keys.

Other than these changes, iClever’s designers used a standard QWERTY layout. There’s a row of half-size number/punctuation keys across the top, and these are also function keys. On Android or iOS, they include a set of media controls and a Home button. When the IC-BK08 is paired with a Windows PC, these are F1 through F10.

We asked several people to test this iClever product, and the only touchtypist who found it too cramped has large hands. None of people who use the “hunt and peck” method had problems with it. That said, almost everyone complained about the misplaced apostrophe and question mark keys.

This keyboard can be used with any Android, iOS, or Windows device. And best of all, it can be paired with three of them, allowing the user to switch between tablets and phones with a press of a button. A trio of blue LED status lights indicates which computer this accessory is currently connected with.

Touchpad

Everyone knows that Windows devices support touchpads and mice, but far fewer know that Android tablets and phones do as well. Unfortunately, this isn’t true of iOS, so while an iPhone or iPad can use the keyboard, neither Apple computer will react to the touchpad.

This touchpad is a comparatively generous 2.2 by 1.8 inches. Our test subjects all found this large enough to be quite useful, especially on the smaller screens of a tablet or phone.

The left and right mouse buttons are also a good size: we’ve seen smaller ones on full-size notebooks. In our tests with an HTC Nexus 9 Android tablet, the left mouse button got little use, as tapping on the trackpad accomplishes the same thing. However, the button is really necessary for tap and hold as well as click and drag.

Device Stand?

iClever IC-BK08 Tri-Fold Design

A feature of we believe is a necessity for a portable keyboard is missing from the IC-BK08: it includes nothing to hold the phone or tablet up at an appropriate angle for typing.

This means it’s up to the user to provide their own. We recommend the SUNWORLD Smartphone and Tablet Stand, as it’s the one we used when testing iClever’s product. This product is under $5, and fits easily in the IC-BK08’s carrying pouch.

iClever IC-BK08 Performance

As mentioned, Android, iOS, and Windows all have support for Bluetooth 3.0 keyboards like this one built right in, and any device running one of these can easily enter text with this accessory. There’s no lag, and we experienced no dropped letters during our texting period.

iClever built in profiles for all three of these operating systems. Selecting the appropriate one ensures the keyboard performs at its best.

We also had no issues using the touchpad with computers running either Google’s or Microsoft’s operating systems. As previously discussed, Apple’s phones and tablets do not support this type of input device.

iClever IC-BK08

iClever IC-BK08 Package Contents

Bluetooth pairing is simple, and it’s only necessary to pair the IC-BK08 once with each computer to use both the keyboard and touchpad. Buttons above the touchpad let the user easily select between three devices to communicate with.

Battery

iClever says this accessory will run for about 60 hours on a single charge. We can attest that our test unit lasted for several weeks of intermittent use without needing to be recharged. The trio of status lights will brink red when the charge is getting low.

The IC-BK08 is charged through a micro-USB port. iClever includes the necessary cable, but not a wall charger. That said, any USB phone charger can handle this job.

A red LED glows to indicate that the product is charging. The keyboard and trackpad can be used while the battery is receiving power.

To extend its battery life, the IC-BK08 will automatically shut itself down if not used for 30 minutes. Powering it back up only requires touching any key and waiting a few seconds.

iClever IC-BK08 Final Thoughts

Having access to a touchpad while using a tablet and external keyboard is very convenient, especially for those who are accustomed to a similar arrangement with a laptop.

It’s unfortunate that iClever couldn’t come up with a better way to fit in the apostrophe and question mark keys. This doesn’t ruin the usefulness of this product, but it does mean there’s a learning curve.

iClever IC-BK08

iClever IC-BK08 in Pouch

The list price for the IC-BK08 is $79.99, but it’s currently available on Amazon.com for $56.99. Probably the most comparable product is the ZAGG Pocket, which sells about $50 but lacks the built-in touchpad.

Pros:

  • Useful touchpad
  • Very portable
  • Can pair with 3 devices

Cons:

  • No dedicated apostrophe or question mark keys
  • No built-in tablet/phone stand



LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.