The idea was to write the review of this newish Inateck accessory while away for the weekend, yet I forgot to take it with me. Or did I? Wait a moment, nestling in between the pages of a magazine… I’d brought it after all! You see, the ‘Ultra Slim’ lives up to its name, being well under half a centimetre thick, incredibly light, futuristic, dustproof, virtually waterproof – and it works flawlessly too.
I remember the first Bluetooth keyboards, back in 2005 or so. They were usually folding, heavy, clunky, with a myriad flaps and lugs (often with a fold-out stand for the companion smartphone or PDA), AAA-powered, and with few frills other than basic QWERTY entry.
Fast forward to late 2014 and there’s simply no comparison. Admittedly, today’s offerings are longer, physically, in that they don’t fold, and you have to improvise a stand for your smartphone, but in every other regard the likes of the Inateck Ultra Slim Bluetooth Keyboard here is a big step forwards:
- An internal Li-Ion battery is used, with a standard microUSB input port, so there’s no ‘hoping’ that the AAA batteries ‘from last year’s trip’ are still OK. Just give the keyboard a quick charge and you’re off.
- The form factor may seem less portable, but in fact the slimness means that it can be slipped in with almost anything else you’re carrying, a newspaper, journal, etc. very easily.
- The keyboard has enough ‘extra’ keys and is flexible enough in its firmware that it can work efficiently with Android, Windows (desktop) or iOS, with almost no compromises – I’ll cover this more in a moment.
- The Inateck keyboard switches itself off if not used (after 25 minutes), so there’s no danger of forgetting to flick a switch and draining the main power source.
- The accessory is very robust – it can be bent (within reason), splashed on, used at the beach, and so on, without breaking sweat. And, apart from the keys themselves, there are no moving parts to break off.
- Each of the keys is individually sprung – astonishing, given the thickness of the keyboard, and the size and action is almost a carbon copy of the keyboard on my Macbook – which is high praise indeed.
- Bluetooth 3.0 is used. Yes, phones are now up to 4.0, but 3.0 speeds are a big improvement on the responsiveness we’ve had to endure for much of the last decade.
Lots to recommend the Inateck solution then. In particular, using the keyboard with my Android smartphones, I was pleased to see the degree of interoperability with the OS. Three buttons adorn the top right of the Inateck keyboard – one of which is labelled ‘Android’. After this is pressed, there’s full functioning of the ‘home’, search (it goes to Google Search), ‘Select all’, copy, paste, cut, media controls, volume controls, Page up/down, Home/end, and more.
In fact, every single key mapping seemed perfect. The only thing I missed is a button mapped to ‘menu’ on my Galaxy S4 – the review keyboard shipped without its manual, so it’s possible that there’s a combination for this too.
Finished in tough matt off-white plastic and backed in felt (to improve usability on hard surfaces), the Inateck Ultra Slim Bluetooth Keyboard is a very easy recommendation from me, especially at under £20 currently on Amazon (in the UK).
This is now firmly part of my go-everywhere briefcase kit, adding full typing and device control to whichever Android phone I’m reviewing next!Like this post? Share it!