Keyboards

DroidBOX VIP Plus Mini Keyboard Review: An Airmouse For The Masses?

The DroidBOX VIP Plus Mini Keyboard is a 2.4GHz wireless airmouse that also features a full QWERTY keyboard. Is it any good? Read my DroidBOX VIP Plus Mini Keyboard review to find out!

I want to say thanks to DroidBOX for sending me a sample to review.

Check Price at DroidBOX

What’s In The Box?

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Inside the box, you get:

  • DroidBOX VIP Plus Mini Keyboard
  • Micro USB Cable
  • English User Manual

DroidBOX VIP Plus Mini Keyboard Review: Design

The DroidBOX VIP Plus looks like your typical remote. The front of the unit features buttons for Android functions, volume control, a directional pad, power buttons and a mouse mode toggle.

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I really would have liked to see a set of multimedia controls here. Although you can navigate your way around, having dedicated play/pause and skip buttons would have been excellent.

Flipping the unit over reveals the full QWERTY keyboard. It also is cleverly laid out to have the directional keys on the left side and an A and B button on the right, allowing it to easily double up as a game controller for simple games.

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There’s also a micro USB port on the side to charge the unit’s in-built battery.

All of the keys are rubberised and have a “click” to them. This does make it hard to type lengthy sentences in but given that it’ll only be used for the odd bit of text input, this isn’t an issue at all.

DroidBOX VIP Plus Mini Keyboard Review: Using It

Setting it up with the DroidBOX T8-S Plus was as easy as plugging in the USB receiver.

Everything was ready to go and I was able to control everything from up to 10m away.

The DroidBOX VIP Plus also allows you to power on the DroidBOX T8-S Plus which is a nice bonus.

The airmouse function allows you to move the mouse cursor using gestures – much like a Wii remote. The feature worked well and really is the easiest way to navigate Android – so much so that I recommend them as a standard part of any Android TV box or HTPC setup.

There’s no jittering or drift and the cursor moved quickly and predictably.

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I did find that the mouse cursor was turned on by default which was incredibly frustrating as you’d be expecting to use it as a remote only to find the mouse cursor moving around. I would have rathered that the mouse mode only be activated when I toggle it.

That said, I did like that the airmouse feature would automatically be disabled when using the keyboard.

The included battery seemed to last for ages on a single charge. Range was good, easily making the 10m limit and the 2.4GHz wireless signal means you don’t need to have line of sight like IR-based solutions.

Verdict

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The DroidBOX VIP Plus mini keyboard is a great little unit, particularly if you own one of DroidBOX’s Android devices. Though the default mouse on feature is annoying, the DroidBOX VIP Plus is slim, works well and offers a solid amount of functionality.

Getting One

The DroidBOX Plus Mini Keyboard is available from Amazon UK or from DroidBOX directly.

It’s also included in the DroidBOX T8-S Plus Gamers Edition bundle or bundled with the DroidBOX T8-S Plus.

Check Price at DroidBOX

MeLE F10 BT Bluetooth 4.0 Airmouse Features IR Learning

The MeLE F10 BT is a new Bluetooth Airmouse from MeLE. Following up on the excellent F10 Deluxe, the F10 BT features a airmouse functionality, a full QWERTY keyboard and a gaming mode. It even features IR learning, allowing you to control your other devices such as TVs by learning their remote’s IR signals.

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However, the MeLE F10 BT has changed somewhat from its predecessor. As revealed by it’s name, the new airmouse has swapped out 2.4GHz wireless for Bluetooth 4.0. This should make it a breeze to pair with devices and also sip power so I’m expecting decent battery life. The internal rechargeable battery has also been replaced by 2 AAA batteries.

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It’s clear that the MeLE F10 BT is targeting the Android TV box market, with Android specific keys. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a right-click button which is a shame but those using frontends like Kodi on their HTPCs won’t miss it. I’ve been told that the return button is actually right click so no need to worry.

MeLE have been producing some excellent products of late, such as the PCG01 Mini PC,  so I’m looking forward to seeing just how good the MeLE F10 BT is.

MeLE F10 BT Video

Getting One

The MeLE F10 BT will be available in September for $19.99 with free shipping. Store availability is to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

iPazzPort Mini Bluetooth Keyboard Review (KP-810-25BTT)

The iPazzPort Bluetooth Keyboard is a tiny Bluetooth Keyboard featuring an integrated touchpad and compatibility with Windows, iOS and Android. Is this the best Bluetooth keyboard for your HTPC?

Thanks to Pandawill for providing me a sample to review. Click here to view the latest price.

What is the iPazzPort Mini Bluetooth Keyboard?

The iPazzPort Mini Bluetooth Keyboard is a tiny, portable Bluetooth keyboard with a built-in touchpad for mouse input. It is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows.

What’s in the box?

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There’s really not much to see here. The box contains the keyboard itself and the instruction manual. It’s disappointing not to see some AAA batteries included in the pack, but its not a major issue.

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iPazzPort Mini Bluetooth Keyboard Technical Specifications

  • Model: KP-810-25BTT
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Operation range: Up to 10 meters
  • Power: 2x AAA batteries (not included)
  • Material: ABS
  • Weight: 168g
  • Size: 26 x 8.5 x 2cm (L x W x D)

iPazzPort Bluetooth Keyboard Design

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The iPazzPort Bluetooth Keyboard looks like someone’s taken a keyboard and hit it with a shrink ray. Featuring 80 keys, it packs a lot of functionality into its tiny frame. However, it’s clear some concessions were made to get it so small.

In addition to a standard QWERTY layout, a Windows key and multimedia controls make an appearance. Additional features such as PGUP/PGDN and the OS-specific keymappings are handled via the orange Function key.

Noticeably absent is the presence of a right shift and control keys. I understand the trade-off but it does feel strange to miss a key that I use regularly during typing.

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Additionally, some of the keys have shifted around to fit the device’s frame, such as the “Delete” key being located next to the directional keys. These take some time to get use to but it becomes more natural with repeated use.

The touchpad is located on the device’s right side and doubles as a touch-sensitive numpad. A swipable switch is located at the top to toggle between the mouse and numpad modes.

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Underneath the device is the battery compartment and rubber feet to prevent slippage. The battery compartment doubles as a stand, giving a comfortable typing angle. Unfortunately, plastic, rather than rubber, offsets were used here, resulting in the keyboard sliding a little bit when using it on a smooth surface.

Build quality does feel a little flimsy due to the thinner plastic used in the device. Whilst the device is fine during use, it does flex under pressure so I’m not sure how it would hold up being thrown into a backpack unprotected.

A power indicator is noticeably missing. Thus, there is no way to tell whether the keyboard is powered on or how much battery power is remaining.

Using It

Using the iPazzPort Bluetooth Keyboard is a piece of cake. After putting in two AAA batteries, simply switch the power switch to the “on” position to turn on the keyboard. Holding down Esc-K puts the keyboard into pairing mode.

You’ll need to make sure that your device has built-in Bluetooth or  invest in a Bluetooth dongle on hand such as this one to connect the keyboard to your device.

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On your device’s Bluetooth pairing menu, select the “Bluetooth keyboard” and type the code to pair the device. I didn’t experience any issues pairing the device to various iOS, Android and Windows devices including an iPhone 6, Teclast X80HD and Galaxy S4.

The iPazzPort Mini Bluetooth Keyboard can only pair with one device at a time so multi-device users should be aware of this limitation and be prepared to work around it or look at something like the Logitech K480.

To use the OS-specific keys, you’ll need to hold “Fn” plus the corresponding OS key (F1-F3) to have the OS-specific keys mapped correctly.

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The keys offer a satisfying travel and click when pressed. However, they’ve have had to shrink to fit the keyboard’s diminutive size. As such, typing lengthy articles on the device can feel a little cramped and lead to some typos. After practicing for a while, I did get used to the smaller keys. However, I wouldn’t plan on writing the next War and Peace on it.

The iPazzPort Mini Bluetooth Keyboard features compatibility with iOS, Android and Windows and, impressively, allows you to switch to OS-specific key mappings depending on the OS you’re using. Thus, users on Windows can use the Windows key, whilst the iOS mapping offers keys for Search or the Home button. This was incredibly handy, as a single keyboard is effective for such a wide variety of devices.

I did experience a couple of quirks regarding OS-specific keys however. Mute didn’t seem compatible with the Android devices I tested, whilst the multimedia keys needed to be remapped for use within Kodi. Keeping the Android mapping allowed them to work fine on Kodi for Windows which was interesting.

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The most unique aspect of the device, the integrated touchpad, is great. It feels is accurate and making precise movements was as good as any other touchpad I’ve used.

You do need to get used to using various gestures and taps to use it effectively however. Tapping left clicks, double-tap and hold allows you to drag and a three-finger tap right-clicks. Two-finger scroll is also supported.

However, whilst the touchpad supports multi-touch, I couldn’t get pinch-to-zoom working at all on my Teclast X80HD running Windows 8 and Android so I suspect it’s not supported.

For those of you needing to enter numbers, swiping the mode switch at the top turns the touchpad into a numpad. It’s handy but it’s nowhere near as good as tactile keys.

Range was impressive during testing. Whilst the specs state 10m, I was able to exceed this through a wall or two on my iPhone 6 and still have it working well. Those of you wanting to use this as a HTPC keyboard should have plenty of range to spare.

Battery life seems good. After numerous hours of use, the keyboard is still working. Plus, as it runs on AAA batteries, a quick battery swap gets you back up and running.

Getting One

I received my iPazzPort Mini Bluetooth Keyboard from Pandawill. Click here to view the latest price.