Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Superslim compact keyboard Anker T320 (updated)

Despite the slimness, the keys have
a nice 'clicky' feel. 
Good keys on a small keyboard

The name is bigger than the product! "Anker® T320 Ultrathin (4mm) Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iOS (iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad 2 / 3 / 4), Windows and Android 3.0 and above OS with Built-in lithium battery / Aluminum Body" hot diggity! But This little gem is far from as ungainly as its name, and it should work with pretty much any tablet or phone which has bluetooth. 

I am amazed that they sell this keyboard for only twenty Pounds Sterling (about $25). The Amazon Basics keyboard is 50% more, and that one is all plastic, it does not have the same nice feel that the Anker has. 

In fact the Anker is a beautiful product, especially for the price, and I think I'd have liked it even at twice the price. The keys are just plastic, but the back is a beautiful sheet of aluminium (not pronounced "aluminum" please ;-), and the top and edges are some hard-rubber like material with a pleasant feel. 

For me personally, the only downside is that it is only *almost* full sized. It is about one key-width smaller. Admittedly even with my manly large hands, I can still touch-type, but I think that when a keyboard is *almost* full sized, it would have been better to simply *make* it full sized and avoid the compromises*. One compromise, aside from the slight crampedness, is that in order to fit the arrow keys, they have moved the right shift key a step to the right, which takes some getting used to. But I suspect that once I have gotten used to it, I will be able to type on this at about full speed. I'm pretty close to it already, in the first hour, only hampered a bit by having to correct the typos caused by the slight differences from my usual keyboards.

But yes, it really is a beautiful little object, and I like it. It was a delightful surprise when unpacking it, to see how small and light and nice it really was. 

And surprisingly, despite it being only 4 milimeters thick, the keys have a very nice feel to them. They are not spongy like almost all economical keyboards, they even have some "clickiness" to them, which I love and feel contributes to the ease of touch-typing by a mile. And it only weighs 160 grams, which is really nice for the wandering writer. The key feel is only beaten (amongst portable keyboards) by the wonderful, but bigger Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad (not as pretty but amazing key feel).

I will normally take the Logitech if I'm determined to write, but if it's less critical and I'd like to save even more space and weight, I have a suspicion that the Anker will be my go-to guy. This plus the iPad Mini are under 500 grams (about one American pound)! and are a very capable writing station. (Plus of course the myriad other things an iPad can do.) And together they fit in a very small bag indeed. (The Anker is a bit longer than the Mini, but that's good for touch-typists.)

Conclusion: At the price and for those who wants a compact and super-light keyboard for the bag, I warmly recommend this gem. 

*It turns out there is a full-sized brother to it, the T300. I'll have to get it, not the least since it's currently even cheaper than the T320! I just hope the keys are as good, because it seems these keyboards are not very close brothers; the T300 does not have the nice aluminium back, and it weighs over 50% more, over 300 grams, about the same as an iPad Mini. But if the size markedly increases the typing comfort for me, I think it may win me over. 

Update: I now got the bigger T300, and sadly it did not win me over. I am pretty sure it's an older model than the T320. It is not as nice quality, it is heavier, and the keys are not quite as nice or clicky as on the T320. At the current price, around twenty bucks, it's a good deal though, since it's not a bad keyboard at all. I suspect and hope that the very low price means that they are making room for a new and improved model. 

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