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Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard review

donka

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The Universal Mobile Keyboard from Microsoft is a clever Bluetooth keyboard that is setup to work with a variety of platforms hence the Universal tag. Typically, any Bluetooth keyboard could be considered universal but this one from Microsoft has a switch to select between Windows, iOS and Android ensuring maximum compatibility with those Operating Systems.
In the box is the keyboard, a user guide and micro USB charge cable.

This is a chiclet style keyboard with a similar layout and size to other portable keyboards. This makes it smaller than the likes of the Apple Wireless keyboard with keys being around 20% smaller in surface area. It measures in at 23.8 x 10.6 x 3.6 cm and opened up, that height reduces by a third while the depth doubles to act as a stand. This cover can also be easily detached as it is held in place magnetically which enables you to place it at a comfortable viewing distance when acting as a stand for your device.
It weighs in at 365g which helps give it a reassuringly robust feel. This is important as the device is fashioned from plastic but doesn't feel any poorer for it. The protective cover has a rubberised coating to it which assists in its secondary duty as a stand and there are two rubber strips on the bottom of the keyboard to hold it steady on a desktop.

The battery is rated as good for 6 months between charges and the charge time is reasonably quick using the supplied micro USB cable which connects on the right hand side with an LED up top pulsing to indicate charging. This same LED on the top right keeps you informed of Bluetooth pairing as well.

Pairing is achieved by simply opening the cover which turns on the keyboard and enters pairing mode automatically. You can also manually invoke pairing mode using the button on the right edge. Once you select the keyboard on your device, a six digit pass code is required and this is a one time setup. Once paired, the keyboard subsequently connects automatically when powered on. When typing, there was absolutely no lag and performance was great. The keyboard felt very good to type on considering the very slim chassis. Function keys also worked with iOS functions so you can, for instance, change volume directly from the keyboard or pull up Spotlight search - a direct result of the switch for selecting which type of device you are paired with. The Caps Lock key also features an indicator which isn't always the case with portable keyboards.

The keyboard comes with a UK layout which is expected at this price point and sets it apart from many lower priced offerings as they often only ship with a US keyboard - it's always nice to have it properly localised.

The Universal Mobile Keyboard from Microsoft is an excellent product; it has a great design, well made and performed flawlessly during my testing. The only real issue I have is with the price, the plastic finish while good, takes away a bit of the premium feeling that the price would have you expect and I personally would be happier if it was priced £20 cheaper than the RRP. In saying that, it doesn't change what is an excellent keyboard and I would be happy to use this on a regular basis.

Video review:
 

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