Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tech Review: EC Technology Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard (A40-BT002)

Due to work, I often find myself emailing from my phone or desperately trying to find a computer and spending the extra time to log in and get to my email just to type with a real keyboard. This is because I move around between multiple locations and am often on someone else's computer that may or may not work, and I also don't necessarily want to log into my email on someone else's account. Worst case scenario involved pecking at my phone screen or swiping around in feeble attempts to get everything spelled out correctly. Often times names, brand names, special characters, or various technobabble leads to horribly written emails with at least one typo. This is far from ideal, so I finally caved in and got a Bluetooth keyboard.

The one I settled on was the EC Technology A40-BT002. My main draw to this was the covers over the hinges. I don't like exposed ribbon cables or cables crammed into a joint as I tend to damage those quite often. The device is also cased in aluminum, so should be pretty durable and it also makes it feel like quality. The dimensions are pretty good, it is like a stockier shape of my Pixel XL in a Lifeproof case. I actually got that case to keep crap out of the ports because the rubber plugs I had purchased got lost too often. So it's a little shorter, wider and roughly the same thickness, not enough difference to notice. When it is open, it's a good size for people with normal sized hands, mine are rather large but I have to type on chromebooks from time to time and it's fairly similar. It holds itself open very well, the hinges are so low profile they are almost completely unnoticeable. All things considered, it's a really solid design.

The way it folds up, the hinges are right on the staggering of the keys, so the main part of the keyboard remains proportionate and the seem between is very easy to miss if you're not looking. It has all the keys I need, as I also like to play around with Termux on my phone. The biggest problem I have is the size of the shift key on the right and the tab key. I keep accidentally hitting the up arrow and tab is virtually non-existent compare to the other keys. I'd say it has a learning curve to get used to for full-speed typing. Luckily, I type slow normally.

To use this on a computer, you will need to use the Windows layout to use the Home, End, Page up, and Page down keys. Unfortunately, it won't let me use the Windows key as the Super key when in Virtualbox, it just uses it as the Command key on Mac. While on a Mac, switching to IOS let's me use some of the other functionality like Volume up and down.

Now I've only had it for a few days, but I am quite happy with the purchase. It looks good, feels like quality, and types well enough for a quick email or messing around with Termux. It's also nice to not lose half the screen just to type. This makes split-screen apps on Android actually useful since the screen won't resize just to type. Now I just need a solution for carrying around everything for EDC, because at work I just use my Fallout NCR messenger bag. Anyone think fanny packs are in?

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