If you’re like me, you probably prefer traveling with a tablet rather than a full-sized laptop: they do basically the same thing while being lighter, smaller, and less fragile. There is one frustration to this, though: typing.
Emails and text chat are pretty much the language of business, so you can’t do without them. Unfortunately, speech-to-text takes every opportunity to trip me up, using an on-screen keyboard is just ridiculous for anything longer than “OK”, and autocorrect is pure evil. In the past, my solution was a roll-up keyboard made of rubber, which takes up little space in a backpack and is nearly indestructible. However, it also reduces my typing speed by about half – you literally have to pound each key until the table goes “boom”, which cannot be good for your carpal tunnels.
Now, however, you can buy an easy-to-use mobile keyboard that also happens to look really cool. Physically, it’s just a little box that projects a keyboard made of light onto any desk or other horizontal surface. This shows up in red, and also gives you the choice of using it as a pointing device. It runs over Bluetooth, uses a rechargeable battery and is compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android.
It provides auditory feedback for each key press in the form of a sound, although you can turn this down if you want. You can see the keyboard under normal lighting and any reasonably flat, rigid surface works with it (as long as it’s not red in color).
Unfortunately, while the idea is genius, the execution does fall down in one or two ways. If you’re used to working on a full-sized desktop keyboard with a numpad, you’ll probably find the layout usable but slightly annoying. The sensor that actually detects when you press a key seems a little glitchy, especially while you’re still getting used to typing on it, while the Bluetooth 3 pairing isn’t always seamless. It’s also, at least for the moment, only available as a standard Qwerty layout – no Dvorak or other options available.
Still, and especially at this price, these drawbacks aren’t really critical compared to the alternatives. If you regularly answer emails on your phone or tablet, this will save you a ton of time even if it doesn’t work perfectly. At less than 5 inches high, it’s pretty convenient for traveling, while the battery can hold out for about 4 hours. People who are often on the road and enjoy the Cyberpunk aesthetic basically can’t go wrong with this one.