10 Best Foldable Keyboards | March 2017
- charges via a usb port
- 18-month free exchange period
- somewhat heavy at nearly 10oz
- can connect to three devices at once
- keys are very responsive
- the typing area feels cramped
- split design offers good hand room
- 3 million clicks key life
- rarely needs to be repaired
- keys are silent when typing
- sturdy stainless steel back panel
- less than an inch thick when folded
- lots of helpful hotkeys
- convenient number key layout
- good amount of tactile feedback
- folds smaller than an iphone 6 plus
- weighs less than half a pound
- keys have a good amount of travel
- built-in phone-tablet stand
- automatically turns off when closed
- has nubs on the j and f keys
Always On The Move
A computer keyboard is derived from the style of the original typewriters and connects to your computer so you can perform desired functions. Many keyboards can now be purchased as separate devices that connect independently to your laptop, tablet, or other mobile device for increased convenience. Some of these keyboards connect wirelessly using a USB port or Bluetooth connection. Foldable keyboards are designed for additional portability and convenience so you can easily take one along when traveling.
You can also get a foldable keyboard as a backup in case there is a glitch with your laptop while you are away from home, but most people purchase one to use with their tablets or smartphones. It makes working away from home much more convenient than usual and can be slipped into any carry on case for your next flight. They are especially useful when you know you are going to find yourself somewhere that taking your laptop along would be inconvenient.
Keep in mind that foldable keyboards are designed for convenience, not for ergonomics. While they can be used from nearly anywhere, they are not intended for extended, continuous use. There are very few fancy features that will help reduce your risk of carpal tunnel, so it is probably best to use one of these when you have a quick project to complete on your mobile device that requires more involvement than tapping on your phone screen.
Make sure you determine whether you prefer a USB or Bluetooth-enabled keyboard. If you plan to use it with your laptop, USB is likely fine, but if you plan to use it frequently with your tablet or other mobile device, you will need to go with the Bluetooth connection.
Check out the available function keys on any model you are considering. Think about what you plan to use it for and how many functions you will need to perform. Some come complete with full keyboard functionality while others only come equipped with the basics.
You can even consider some additional features such as LED back lights for increased convenience and visibility, durable aluminum casing, and automatic shutoff for battery preservation. Tactile feedback, latency, and charge speed can all be deciding factors as well. If you are going to be using it a lot, you will want as much comfort, speed, and responsiveness as possible.
To Fold Or Not To Fold?
There are several advantages and disadvantages to opting for a foldable keyboard. If you are a frequent traveler, the advantages of a foldable keyboard are likely to far outweigh any disadvantages you might encounter. And because they are affordable, they can be replaced when necessary with very little effort.
The first and most obvious advantage is portability. These keyboards are extremely compact and lightweight to take along anywhere you plan to go. You don’t have to worry about accidentally punching buttons, since the keys are protected when folded, and some of them are even resistant to liquids, so if you drop a drink in your bag by mistake, you might still be protected.
On most foldable keyboards, you are going to encounter half-dome keys. These keys look like your average laptop keys but function like desktop keys. They are responsive and don’t require a hard press to register.
Unfortunately, foldable keyboards tend to wear out or break quicker than standard desktop keyboards. This isn't a result of insufficient build quality and components, but rather a result of constantly being jostled about when on the move and regulalry folded and unfolded. Their navigation can sometimes be difficult, as well. Often the keys are not in the exact same spot as you have become accustomed.
A Brief History of the Foldable Keyboard
The predecessor to the computer keyboard was the original typewriter. The QWERTY typewriter keyboard was invented by Christopher Latham Sholes in the nineteenth century. He filed the patent for his typewriter in 1868, but the first models weren't available to the public until 1877 and were made by the Remington Company.
Charles Krum, an American mechanical engineer, developed the teleprinter at the beginning of the twentieth century. Herman Hollerith created a keypunch device that was very similar to the typewriter in the 1930s. The keyboards created to be used with early computers required a lot of intermittent steps in order to transmit the data between the keyboard and the computer itself. This meant that things ran quite slowly.
Fortunately, technology advanced over time, and computer keyboards were developed that were capable of sending direct electronic impulses for a faster response time and more accurate typing. Modern computer keyboards are still based on Sholes’ QWERTY layout, but they do have a few additional keys, such as function keys and sometimes a numeric keypad.
In 2005, Ghia-Hung Liu filed a patent for a foldable keyboard intended specifically for use with portable devices. The foldable keyboard was designed with convenience in mind and has since evolved into a Bluetooth-enabled device for use with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.