Tech News on G4

Honey, I shrunk the Bluetooth keyboard

Feb 15, 2013

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin’ - G4 Canada

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Favi KeyboardI've come across some small portable keyboards in my time, but the FAVI Entertainment: Mini Bluetooth Keyboard is really small. Shaped and sized like a chocolate bar, or maybe a TV remote, it offers a whole lot of functionality in a small package.

It has a full QWERTY keyboard with tactile keys quite similar to those found on some smart phones with a physical keyboard. At the same time it offers function keys, control and even arrow keys that you normally find on a standard PC keyboard.

This keyboard is Bluetooth enabled and can easily pair with compatible devices. The hotkeys are geared primarily towards Android devices, so it will play nicely with tablets like Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and the Samsung Galaxy. It will also work with Bluetooth enabled PCs, Macs and some smartphones.  It can also be used with iOS devices like Apple's iPad and iPhone, although you may not be able to use all of the hotkey features.

Beyond the keyboard this device also features a mini touchpad, which gives you full control without the need for a separate mouse. It offers tap-to-click as well as page scroll for additional functionality. Using the function and key combinations you can change the horizontal/vertical orientation of the touchpad as well as turn on (and off) the keyboard’s backlighting so you can operate it in the dark, if you need to.

Multimedia Hot Keys and Laser Pointer

There is more. It also has music and video hotkeys to give you quick access to your tunes and flicks in the palm of your hand. To justify this for business, wink, wink, it has a built-in laser pointer and slide buttons for PowerPoint.

Favi Keyboard No Bluetooth, No Worry

If you’re connected to a device that is not equipped with Bluetooth but does support USB, there is a mini receiver dongle tucked away inside the back cover. The Auto-off /Wake feature will conserve the life of the rechargeable and easily replaceable lithium-ion battery that is also inside. The keyboard has a number of LED indicators including pairing, charging/ low battery indicator and caps lock.

Overall, Favi has certainly used up all the space they possibly could. There’s certainly a lot of functionality built in to this subcompact device, incorporating both a keyboard and a track pad all in one.

I like that they've even found the space to hide a mini receiver as well as a removable battery. The backlighting is also a nice touch. The laser pointer/presenter is a nice value-add, albeit somewhat larger than those found today that are less conspicuous.

It’s a fairly specialized device. If you feel that you can make use of its functionality and you don’t mind getting used to it, it’s certainly worth the investment.

It’s great for those who prefer a physical keyboard and like the tactile feel, over the on-screen solution. Depending on your hands, the positioning of the track pad might hinder your “thumb speed” compared to that on a BlackBerry. And being accustomed to a MacBook Pro, I found this trackpad, although functional, to be less responsive.

This keyboard is also referred to as the FAVI Bluetooth PC / Tablet Keyboard and Presenter with Laser Pointer. Model: FE02BT-BL. It retails for $49.99 U.S. (No longer $79.99 as shown on their site.)

Favi’s other keyboard

One should not mistake this model for the FAVI SmartStick Wireless Keyboard with Mouse Touchpad (FE02RF-BL) (39.99) that looks almost identical but does not support Bluetooth. It’s designed for Favi’s SmartStick TV adapter and thus unlikely to work on most tablets. However, this one will work on a number of gaming consoles including Xbox 360, PlayStations as well as some DVD and Blu-Ray players.  There are also discontinued models so ensure you have the right part number.

Pros:
Compact
Multifunctional (Tactile keyboard, track pad, laser pointer)
Bluetooth – Wireless
Backlit

Cons:
Possible awkward thumb positioning
Average track pad response

Rating: 3.8 / 5

 

Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy "at" telus "dot" net , GadgetGreg.com , or on Twitter @GadgetGreg

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