Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Business travelGadgetsKeyboardsTravel light

REVIEWED: Plugable Full-Size Bluetooth Keyboard

Sturdy tri-fold Bluetooth keyboard ideal for business or insta-travelers

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Plugable full-size Bluetooth keyboard: set-up

It’s really simple to use; open the keyboard and press Function+F1 to activate Bluetooth, then Function+C, and search for it on your Bluetooth enabled device. In test with an iPhone it paired instantly.

It can only connect to one device at a time, but this gets around the authentication code system used by some other devices. To link to another phone, you just unpair from one device and pair with another. Or you can go wired and connect directly via a USB cable if your phone has a spare port.

Plugable has three compatibility modes for the Android, Windows, and iOS operating systems, and choosing one of them activates various shortcut keys and allows you to make use of the row of function (F) keys.

Plugable full-size Bluetooth keyboard: design

The product is made of aluminum and stainless steel, and in our test, it easily stood up to the rigors of travel. All the keys are exactly where you expect them to be, and when placed alongside a desktop computer keyboard it’s exactly the same size.

As a bonus, there’s a fitted and lined case in the box to protect Plugable in transit. It also transforms into a useful stand for a phone or tablet, though TravGear wonders if it’s worth carrying the extra 170 g weight, particularly as Plugable seems sturdy enough to survive without any help.

Plugable full-size Bluetooth keyboard: performance

Here comes the acid test. Can the user type on a lap while sitting on a bus, or at the airport? Yes! Rather surprisingly the magnets that hold Plugable open are just strong enough, and so long as the hinges are supported, it stays open. Keys are comfortably spaced, which makes touch-typing easily possible. And it sits flat on any level surface, but only if you remember to use the stabilizing fold-down tabs. They’re so well hidden that we weren’t aware of them at the start of this review, which resulted in some initial frustration.

Plugable full-size Bluetooth keyboard: charging

Connect via USB and an LED indicates it’s different charging states. When not plugged in, that same light can tell you the exact percentage of battery power left if you press Function+right ALT. The number of flashes gives you the amount of charge, but good luck remembering all that!

Plugable full-size Bluetooth keyboard: conclusion

Plugable is a great keyboard. It’s well designed and strong. However, TravGear thinks its 454g bulk – while wearing the case – makes it a little too heavy for traveling light, particularly as there are much lighter travel keyboards available (though it’s only 283g without that cover). However, if you don’t care about bulk and would rather travel with a ‘true full size’ keyboard that’s durable and has an extra row of function keys, then Plugable could be just your type.

Price as reviewed: UK£56/US$75
Buy the Plugable full-size Bluetooth keyboard