The Little Keyboard That Couldn’t

Categories: Gadgetry
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: December 10, 2012

I picked up the IVSO Slim Faux Leather Keyboard Case for $20.00, thinking it might be a viable, portable keyboard for student use in a classroom. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t quite make the grade.

The complete setup is smaller than it looks

The price point is hard to ignore, and in terms of quality and construction, the value is there. The case is sturdy, the keyboard has a nice, tactile feel, and the whole package feels very durable. Springy hooks help hold the Nexus in place. My only gripe in terms of construction would be the flimsy ribbon cable on the USB plug and a question of how long those elastic straps in the corners might last before they become stretched out.

An additional failing in the USB plug is its orientation. With just a slight shift, the plug protrudes beyond the lip of the case, which could induce stress or damage. Given this is also the only way to charge the device, I would worry about the end of the pug breaking off inside the tablet. I think a sturdier cable and plug, along with a 90° bend in the adapter, could go a long way to providing safety.

The keyboard, once plugged in, works well. The case turns into a stand with a simple flap, similar to what you’d find on the back of a photo frame sitting on a desk. The Nexus recognized the keyboard immediately, and the keystrokes work in every app I tried, including the searches.

However, the keyboard is far too small for practical use. Here’s a closer look:

It’s also been redesigned to maximize frustration.

I often hit the wrong keys or multiple keys while trying to type. It’s difficult to find the home row by touch, and when resting my fingertips on the appropriate keys, my fingers were all crammed together. The redesign to cram all the keys into a tighter space only makes things worse, as some keys (such as backspace) have been moved and others shrunken (the spacebar and the right shift key).

In other words, expect to learn a whole new keyboard layout and to type with extreme precision. This, to me, is a deal breaker.

Furthermore, users will not be able to charge the device and use the keyboard at the same time because they occupy the same plug. Using the device as a tablet is also cumbersome; while the keyboard folds back, the whole package is thick and bulky enough that I found it much more comfortable to just remove the tablet from the case every time. I also had to unplug the keyboard for those moments because my fingers struck the keys.

My recommendation is unless you need a cheap keyboard and you’re going to use it this way all the time, this case is going to be more irritating than useful. That said, if you are looking for a device with a near-permanent keyboard and plan to do more typing than reading, just spring for a netbook.

A good concept, but lacking in execution. A redesigned keyboard and USB plug might merit a second chance.

1 Comment
  1. […] purchased the rubbery Asus cover from the Play store after ditching the IVSO keyboard case, and I’ve been very happy with it. It provides protection without bulk, fitting more like a […]

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