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Full Version: Must have gadget: Multi-device keyboard.
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I don't do product plugs often, but this is one I wasn't aware of until recently, and I think it should have a niche appeal to vandwellers.

For years I've used wireless keyboards with my laptop. The kind that come with the little USB dongle. Yesterday mine broke and I went into Best Buy to consider replacing it. And then I saw this.


Multi-device keyboard? Hmm? It has bluetooth connectivity for your phone or tablet. I dunno about you, but I friggin' hate typing anything substantial on a touch screen. And because I live in a van, and sometimes the sun may not be shining or power reserves are low, I often end up browsing online with my phone instead of my laptop.

This lets me type out long posts on my phone using a full keyboard (which I'm doing right now). The same keyboard will also connect to a laptop with a traditional USB dongle. Switch between up to three devices with the white buttons labeled "1, 2, 3."

Maybe I'm just old and this is a generational thing, but I type up to 120wpm on a traditional layout keyboard, and I'm wholly excited to be typing on a keyboard again. There are other benefits too, apart from just my idiosyncratic hatred of touch screens:
  • Input from the physical keyboard is treated differently on my phone than input from the touch screen - it doesn't do things like autocorrect, which irritate a cermudgeon like me. It inputs LITERALLY WHAT IS TYPED. Mindblowing.
  • Common keyboard commands are respected, much the way they would be on a desktop PC! For example, alt+tab cycles recent windows. In browser, ctrl+t opens a new tab, ctrl+w closes it, alt+d focuses the url bar, browser forward instead of only back, etc etc. All of these make for much more fluid navigation to anyone who is familiar with keyboard shortcuts.
  • Dedicated media controls make it very easy to open a music app, play music (connect your phone to a bluetooth speaker and this keyboard at the same time), skip tracks, change volume etc, even with a service such as Pandora.

And, of course, use the same keyboard to connect to your PC/laptop using the dongle. It is a little pricy at $80, but it feels solid for a wireless keyboard, and I've already gotten that much quality of life out of this thing.

So far I have only two irks with it. First, it isn't strictly a standard layout keyboard - I can type just fine on it though. The greater grievance I have is that, there are a few hardcoded system shortcuts in the keyboard commands, to do things such as return home or whatever. One of these hardcoded shortcuts is shift+space, which is bound to the default keyboard language (should you want to use this for something other than English). Because I type quickly, the keyboard sometimes sees this combination of keys as I capitalize a letter and continue with a space. It doesn't affect anything, really, but I wish they had chosen an obscure combination of keys for that function.

There is another version of this keyboard at Best Buy for $30 instead of $80. It doesn't have the numberpad on the right, and it doesn't have a USB dongle, only bluetooth connectivity. I didn't get that one because I wanted to be able to use it with my laptop. But for someone who just wants a keyboard for their phone/tablet the smaller one would be fine.

Dang, this might be the longest post I've written on here.
Microsoft makes a nice much littler one

Can also Cast to some big screens.

Also combo dual boot Android / Linux boxes look like Intel NUC.

Newer Chromebooks can run Android apps.

Lots of different options. . .
I use one from Amazon to work on tablets, phones, etc. I really like it. Also BT mice work with phones. :L-)