2022 will be remembered as the year in which tablets came back into the lives of mainstream consumers. While the iPad had always been around, a spurt in tablet demand following the pandemic has seen a number of brands coming out with Android tablets as well. As a result, today you have a number of tablets to choose from Rs 12,000 upwards. And that has led to an increase in Bluetooth keyboards’ demand as well, as a full-fledged ‘proper’ keyboard is perhaps the most notable point of difference between a tablet and a notebook (you can read about other accessories that can make your tablet a notebook here: Want To Notebook-ify Your Tablet? Here Are 7 Accessories You Should Get)
So while we had come out with a list of keyboards that could add a touch of the notebook to your tablet earlier in the year, there have been a number of new additions to the keyboard friend list of tablets. Yes, the older list still works, but if you are looking for a relatively new keyboard for your
tablet (iOS, Android or even Windows), we would recommend taking a look at these six ‘key’ performers:
Logitech MX Mechanical Mini – one for the writing purists
We know that price will make many eyes water, as it is the same as that of a budget Android tablet (the superb Redmi Pad is often available for under this price), but then this is not your run-of-the-mill keyboard. The Logitech MX Mechanical Mini combines a mechanical keyboard with keys that travel deep with wireless connectivity. Logitech has used premium materials in its construction, ensuring that this is perhaps the best Bluetooth tablet to accompany your tablet in pure typing terms.
You get a spacious, well-designed keyboard with six rows of keys, and with backlighting that even adjusts to the light conditions around you. It charges off a USB Type C port and lasts for almost two weeks on a single charge, and can also connect to three devices at the same time. It is not all roses, though – dust tends to creep into the gaps below those raised keys and it is not the most compact keyboard in this list either. But if you are a hardcore writer or coder, this is the keyboard to go for.
Zebronics Zeb-Max Ninja – mechanical keyboard and jazzy lights at a terrific price
Want the joy of a mechanical keyboard with terrific lighting effects, but without the stiff price tag that most Bluetooth mechanical keyboards come with? Well, then the Zebronics Zeb-Max Ninja is a great option for you. Although it was launched at Rs 8,999, it is now often available at sub-Rs 4,000 prices and at that price, it is a terrific deal. Zebronics has put in five rows of keys with five levels of brightness. You do not get a row for the Function (F) keys, but on the flip side, battery life is superb at between 2-3 weeks (you charge the keyboard through a USB Type C port) and you can connect the keyboard to as many as three devices at the same time and keep switching between them as per your convenience. This is also the only keyboard in this list that
has a gaming touch to it – you can play with 21 LED modes if you like those jazzy RGB colour effects. Quite an all-rounder, though you will again have to work to keep those mechanical keys clean.
Offbeat Dexter Wireless Keyboard – stylish keys for not too much
It might seem like a typing instrument for most people, but for some, even the keyboard can be a bit of a style statement. And if you are one of those who wants their keyboards to not just type but also look the right type (pun intended) without busting the bank, then the Offbeat Dexter is a super option. It does have a fair bit going for it in terms of functionality – the ability to connect to three devices simultaneously, battery life of a couple of months (you need to insert an old-fashioned battery cell in the back) and six rows of keys in a frame that is not too large and actually light enough to carry easily. However, what really works for it are those retro-style round keys which give it a typewriter-like feel.
They are not mechanical keys and are slightly on the smaller side, but have decent travel. You will have to fiddle a bit with multi-device connectivity as the keyboard connects to two devices over Bluetooth and one over 2.4 Ghz wireless (there’s an adaptor in the back), but this is the closest you can get to a head-turning keyboard on a tight budget, especially if you can get some of the fancy colour options (we stuck to black, though).
Zoook Fingerpad Wireless Keyboard with Trackpad – for those wanting to type and track!
Zoook has some rather good accessories at relatively affordable prices and its Fingerpad Wireless Keyboard is one of them. Its biggest asset is the fact that even though it has a relatively compact frame, it comes with a proper trackpad, with support for gestures and two buttons at the base as well. So you can actually even control the cursor more ably from the keyboard itself without having to touch your tablet. It has a slot/cradle like the iconic Logitech
K480, which means you can prop a keyboard or a phone in the keyboard itself. The keyboard comes with simultaneous Bluetooth connectivity to up to three devices and has a battery life of close to a month. We have to admit that the keys are a little on the smaller side but there are six rows of them. This is a great option for those who use the cursor a lot and do not want to be bothered with carrying a mouse all the time!
iClever BK04 Wireless Keyboard – slim, backlit keyboard on a budget
This is the keyboard to have for those who pursue two things in particular – portability and backlighting. The BK04 is one of the lightest Bluetooth keyboards we have used. It weighs a little more than an iPhone 14 Pro Max and is very slim as well. You still get six rows of keys to type on. Although they are not as full-sized as you would find on some of the other keyboards, you will get the hang of them with some practice. What also makes the BK04 special is that it is one of the lowest-priced Bluetooth keyboards to come with backlighting, so you can use it in the dark as well. There are actually seven colours of backlight to choose from. We would, however, advise you to not go crazy while using backlighting as battery life with backlighting generally
tends to run out in a day or so, although the battery is rechargeable. Without backlighting, you can easily see off almost a month of usage. The keyboard can also connect to three devices simultaneously. That slim form factor does make it a little fragile, but that is the price you pay for lightweight portability, and at Rs 1,999, we think it is well worth it.
Amazon Basics Wireless Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard: basic budget option
If you are in the market for a basic Bluetooth keyboard that you want to use with multiple devices, then this recent release from Amazon is a no-brainer. At its price, it delivers a fair in terms of function and when it comes to design, it too has a slot or cradle on the top like the Logitech K480, in which you can place your tablet or smartphone, giving you that notebook feels. It is impressively compact as well and comes with battery life claims of two months. That
said, there are compromises – at about 800 grammes, it is heavy and the keys are definitely small, with six rows squeezed into that tiny frame. The build also, while sturdy, is not exactly premium, and there is no backlighting. You can also just connect to one device at a time. But hey, it works and at that price, is excellent value for money for those who seek budget basics.