Mini Wireless Keyboards for Android Mini PC
Mini Wireless Keyboards
Android Mini PCs have support for both wire and wireless USB keyboards. If you are using the Android Mini PC with your TV in the living room, a wireless keyboard with a touch pad or "air mouse" function is a more practical solution.
A full QWERTY keyboard is almost a must if you plan to do any text input such as keying in URLs, login names & passwords, text messaging and search terms. This article lists the best and the most popular mini wireless keyboards that are used by Android Mini PC users.
Except for a few Android Mini PC models that have support for Bluetooth, most models only have support for 2.4 GHz RF wireless keyboards. The models listed here all use RF and should work with all of the Android Mini PC variants.
( All images courtesy of Amazon )
iPazzPort 2.4GHz Mini Wireless Fly Air Mouse Keyboard with IR Remote
The 2.4GHz Mini Wireless Fly Air Mouse Keyboard is a compact portable mini keyboard that measures just 110 x 65 x 13mm which makes it about the size of an iPhone4S. It weighs 70g.
The built quality is actually quite good and for such a compact device, it packs in a lot of functions and at a fraction of the price of other similar devices.
The specification gives the range as less than 30 feet for the RF but it also comes with IR remote function which will require line of sight.
To set it up, you first have to remove the USB receiver which is stored next to the battery compartment. You need to pry off the bottom cover to get to it. Plug the USB receiver to the computer's USB port.
Keyboard and Mouse Functions
This is the version of the mini wireless keyboard that comes air mouse or gyro mouse function. The air mouse function allows you to control the mouse cursor by moving the device in the air like a Nintendo Wii remote. There is a built in 3 axial gyroscope that detects the movement of the keyboard and translate that to the cursor movement on the display.
Other than the gyro function, the rest of the functions are very similar to the rest of the keyboards in the series. First of all,82 key QWERTY keyboard is back lighted. The keys are fairly small so if you have big fingers, typing on it may be a problem. However, you do get fairly good tactile feedback when typing so you are not left wondering if you have pressed the key or not when typing quickly. Because of the size and design, typing on this keyboard does require both hands.
There is a dedicated row of numbers and symbol keys similar to what you will find on a full sized keyboard. On top of that is a row of function buttons from F1 to F10. These also serve double function as multimedia buttons such as volume control, play, pause and back. However, to access the multimedia function, the blue Fn (Function) key has to be pressed at the same time. This means that you require two hands when accessing the multimedia functions. It would have made more sense to have the multimedia functions default instead as on such a keyboard, the multimedia function will be accessed more often than F1 to F10.
Close up of the mouse button and the left and right mouse clicks.On the right side of the keyboard are the mouse buttons. There are 2 buttons that represent the left and right mouse buttons. In between them, there is a button that activates the mouse function.
There are 2 ways to activate the mouse function. The first method is to press and hold the mouse button. While the button is held down, you can control the mouse cursor and when you release the button, the cursor stops moving.
In the second mode, you press and release the button and the keyboard goes into mouse mode. Press and release the mouse button again, and it disables the mouse mode.
On the right edge of the keyboard there is an on/off switch for the IR remote function (more on this later) and page up and down buttons. There is no scroll wheel for the mouse but the page up and down buttons serve as an alternative. A proper scroll wheel would have been preferable.
The iPazzPort keyboard can be held horizontally....The backlight feature is a very handy feature to have especially if you are using the keyboard with a home theater environment which is usually dark.
However, the backlight has to be manually turned on but it does turn off automatically after a minute or so to conserve battery.
The keyboard uses a rechargeable battery that can be charged using a mini USB cable that is included with the keyboard.
You can use the keyboard while it is charging. The charging port is located on the bottom end of the keyboard, right next to the keyboard on/off switch.
.....or vertically.Last but not least, the keyboard can either be held horizontally when you are typing or vertically like a normal remote control.
There is a button to switch the orientation so that the receiver can recognize the air mouse movements correctly depending on how the keyboard is held.
IR Remote Functions
On the other side of the keyboard, there are a few buttons arranged in a circle. At the top (or right edge depending on how you hold the keyboard) is a IR transmitter. The keyboard comes with a learning IR remote function.
IR Remote buttons.Each of the remote button serves 2 functions depending it is on TV or AV mode. You will need to train the remote by letting the remote learn the IR signals from your current TV and AV remote.
There are not many buttons for you to program but it is enough for simple functions such as volume and channel control as well as a power toggle button.
The iPazzPort Wireless Air Mouse packs quite a lot of features for such a compact keyboard. The backlighted keyboard and air mouse function makes it ideal for a home theater environment while the IR learning remote function is an added bonus. The multimedia buttons should have been made easier to access with a single hand instead of the two hand requirement right now.
iPazzPort 2.4GHz Mini Wireless Fly Air Mouse Keyboard with IR Remote
Features an IR remote control in a three-in-one design. With LED backlight that allows the keyboard to be used in a dark environment. QWERTY layout. Built-in rechargeable lithium battery for long standby time.
FAVI Entertainment Wireless Keyboard (TouchPad/Laser Pointer) - Black
The FAVI Entertainment Wireless Keyboard is the version that comes with a touch pad instead of the fly mouse feature.
Because of the addition of the touch pad, the device is slightly longer than the fly mouse version. Its measurements are 5.9 X 2.3 X 0.5 in and it weights 0.22 lb (100g).
This is also an RF device so is has an operational range of 30 feet (10 m). The USB RF receiver is held in a little compartment at the side. Just slide it out and attach to the computer's USB port.
Keyboard illuminated by the back light.Keyboard Function
The keyboard layout is similar but not exactly the same as the fly mouse version. It has a back light feature that needs to be manually switched on using the back light switch.
There is also a row of function buttons at the top that doubles as multimedia buttons by pressing them together with the FN button.
It is also possible to switch the orientation of the keyboard with the orientation flip button.
Touch Pad Function
The touch pad measures roughly about 3 X 3 cm and is located on the right. The positioning of the touch pad does make it a little awkward when typing on the keyboard as the right thumb has to reach further to reach the keyboard keys compared to the left thumb. In this regard, the fly mouse keyboard has an advantage over this keyboard as it does not face this problem.
Details of the mouse buttons.There are two buttons under the touch pad for the right and left mouse buttons and in between them is a directional key that also doubles up as a Page Up and Page Down button when used together with the Fn key. However, it is a little awkward to use the Page Up and Down function as it requires using both hands.
When the keyboard is used in the vertical orientation mode, the touch pad is flipped sideways as well. What was the right of the pad is now the top. The touch pad is not very sensitive and there does not seem to be an acceleration mode when moving quickly across the touch pad quickly so it takes quite a few slides across its surface if you wish to move the cursor across the screen.
Laser Pointer Function
The FAVI Wireless Keyboard does not have IR remote controls on the flip side of the keyboard. What it has however is a laser pointer. On the left edge is a laser pointer switch. This function may be useful for those using the keyboard as a presentation tool but for the HTPC user, it is not of much use.
The FAVI Wireless Keyboard does not have as many functions as the fly mouse version but it is also cheaper. Whether the gyro or the touch pad is the better control method is a matter of preference. Each has its own pros and cons. If you don't need the IR remote function and if you prefer the touch pad, this keyboard can save you a little money.
This product is also sold as the Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard-Mouse Combo (Model RT-MWK01) or the iPazzPort Mini PC Keyboard with Touchpad (Model KP-810-10)
FAVI Entertainment Wireless Keyboard (Built-in TouchPad/Laser Pointer) - Black
This keyboard is a great accessory for the Android Mini PC. It is small and compact allowing you to carry it anywhere. It is like having a full size keyboard and mouse in the palm of your hand. It has the world's first Touchpad 90-degree flip design. Comes with built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
iPazzPort Voice Speaker Microphone 2.4G Mini Wireless Keyboard with IR Remote
The iPazzPort Smart/Android TV IR Remote With Voice Mini Wireless Keyboard is a cross between the fly mouse and touch pad versions of the device.
It has the touch pad from the touch pad version but it also has the IR remote function from the fly mouse version.
Looks and size wise it is about the same as the touch pad version at 6.4 X 2.4 X 0.5 inches and weighs 3.8 ounces. The device runs on RF for the keyboard and IR for the learning remote. The USB receiver is stored under the battery cover. Shape wise, it has rounded edges on both left and right.
Keyboard and Touch Pad Functions
This version has the same layout as the touch pad version and due to the presence of the touch pad, it has the same issue of the different distance between the right and left thumbs when typing on the keyboard.
The only minor difference is that the indicator lights have been moved from the upper left corner to the right side.
Like the touch pad version, it is possible to switch between horizontal and vertical orientation and the keyboard has backlight. Unlike the touch pad version however, it has dedicated Page up and down buttons at the bottom.
When the device is held in the vertical orientation, these buttons will be on the right side and can be easily pressed with the right thumb.
This is an improvement over the touch pad version which uses the navigator button between the right and left mouse button and requires the additional press of the Fn button.
The touch pad also supports multi touch and it has a scrolling bar that makes it easier to scroll the screen.
The iPazzPort Voice Speaker Keyboard in vertical orientation.IR Learning Remote Function
The button layout and function of the IR learning remote is exactly the same as the fly mouse version. It is a nice to have function but not absolutely necessary.
Laser Pointer Function
The iPazzPort Voice Speaker Microphone also has the laser pointer function. The laser pointer button is located on the top side of the keyboard or on the left side when held in the vertical orientation.
Microphone and Speaker Function
The iPazzPort Voice Speaker Microphone 2.4G Mini Wireless Keyboard has one additional function that the other versions don't; built in mic and speaker.
The mic and speaker has been tested to work with the Android Mini PCs and you can even plug in an external headphone with mic. This makes it ideal to be used for Skype.
IR Remote Control buttons on the reverse side of the keyboard.Conclusion
The voice speaker version of the keyboard has many unique features compared to the just touch pad version.
However the voice speaker version costs about the same as the fly mouse version. If the extra features don't interest you, just stick with the touch pad version.
There is a version without the voice speaker function but with the IR learning remote function and the same form factor. The model number is iPazzPort KP-810-18R.
Unisen iPazzPort Voice Commander KP-810-18V 2.4Ghz Mini Wireless Keyboard/Touchpad/Learning IR Remote
The iPazzPort 18VR with built in Microphone/Speaker for Voice Commands and Phone Calls(Skype, Google Voice) is one of the most advanced mini wireless keyboard from iPazzPort. Use the 18VR to access your favorite internet TV channels on any compatible personal computer. The iPazzPort 18VR functions as a standard USB Keyboard and supports European characters.
Unisen iPazzPort KP-810-18R Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad with Learning Infrared (IR) Remote Control 2.4G RF Google TV Compatible
The KP-810-18R is from popular keyboard maker iPazzport/Unisen. This keyboard/remote has many great features including a Learning IR Remote Control. On the reverse side of the remote, a TV remote layout with IR feature allows you to easily program other electronics and appliances to be controlled by the KP-810-18R.
Measy RC13 2.4 GHz Bidirectional Voice Air Mouse Keyboard and Remote Control
The Measy RC13 is an air mouse type wireless keyboard that comes with built in microphone and speaker. Like the iPazzport Voice Speaker keyboard, the microphone and speaker is designed for both VOIP calls via apps like Skype and Google Talk plus it can also be used for Google Voice Search.
The design of the RC13 is like a cross between keyboard and a phone. The speaker is located on one end while the mic is on the other. You can either use the RC13 next to your face like a handset or it can be used like a speakerphone by placing it on a table.
The speaker grill is fairly large and does cause the keyboard layout to be lopsided. The keys on the right are harder to reach with your right thumb. A better design would have been to move both the speaker and the microphone to the back of the device.
The mouse buttons are placed at the bottom next to the spacebar. This makes the buttons more accessible compared to the Koolertron keyboard (see below). When you are holding the RC13 vertically with your right hand, your right thumb can easily reach the buttons while in air mouse mode.
Overall, the Measy RC13 is a great keyboard to pair with your Android Mini PC. The product quality is good and the design itself is well thought of ergonomically. If you prefer an air mouse over a touch pad plus built in speakers and microphone, the Measy RC13 gets my recommendation.
Also, don't get turned off by the nonsensical product description at Amazon. Read it only if you want a good laugh.
Rii Mini i8 Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad
The Rii Mini i8 is widely bundled together with Android Mini PCs by many retailers. It is quite a bit larger than most mini keyboards and it looks a bit like a video game controller.
Part of the reason for its size is that the touch pad is fairly large and it located at the top. The larger touch pad means that cursor control precision is higher. It also has a directional pad on the right of the touch pad and a set of media buttons placed in a similar configuration as the directional pad on the left. The media buttons are dedicated buttons and are accessible without the need to do a two-button press.
With the touch pad located at the top, the keyboard layout is evenly spaced with all keys easily reachable with both left and right thumbs.
On either side of the touch pad are 6 shortcut buttons plus the left and right mouse buttons. There is another set of mouse buttons located on the right edge. Also on the right edge are the Page Up and Page Down buttons.
There are a total of 92 keys on this device with a dedicated row of numbers and function buttons at the top 2 rows. Unfortunately there is no backlight so you may have problem using the Rii Mini i8 in the dark.
Surprisingly, the game controller pad shape of the device makes it quite comfortable to hold and use compared to the other rectangular shaped devices.
The Rii i8 may look a little strange but the shape makes it comfortable to hold and use. The dedicated media buttons are really useful during media playback as you do not need hold another button to access them.
Koolertron 2.4GHz Mini Wireless Fly Mouse Keyboard
The Koolertron 2.4GHz Mini Wireless is one of the more popular air or fly mouse type of keyboard. This particular keyboard is sold under many different brands and model names online but the Koolertron brand seems to be the most popular brand it is sold under on Amazon.
The Koolertron keyboard is split into two by the set of mouse buttons right in the center. The keyboard is shaped in such a way that it is best held horizontally when typing and when you want to use the mouse functions, it can be held vertically like a TV remote.
The air mouse function is quite responsive although it can get a little tricky to click on something tiny on the screen like a small cancel button for example.
To move the cursor around the screen, you use the center mouse button. You can either click and hold it while you move the cursor and let go when you are done or you can double click the button, and the keyboard will stay in mouse mode until you click the button again. This seems to be a standard control scheme for the gyro based keyboards.
The Koolertron has a dedicated row of number keys plus a set of function buttons right at the top. The function buttons double up as media buttons. Unlike the models with the touchpads on the right, the keys are evenly spaced and does not pose a problem when typing. There is also a directional keypad on the left of the keyboard.
There is only one shift key on the left and that makes using shift together with any of the other keys on the left side of the keyboard a bit awkward.
The Koolertron air mouse/keyboard is a great option if you use the Android Mini PC mainly for media playback, games and simple web browsing. The cursor control precision is not as good as a touch pad but it is extremely easy to make quick selections by pointing the cursor where you want it to go. If your Android Mini PC has a customized interface with large icons, the Koolertron air mouse/keyboard is ideal.
Mini 2.4GHz Wireless Rii Mini PC Laptop Keyboard with touchpad
This is another version of the touch pad only mini wireless keyboard with the the touch pad located in the center instead of on the right hand side.
Having the touch pad in the center solves the problem of having the right thumb reach further to the left when typing compared to the left thumb. However, note that the space bar is on the right side. Left handed users may this a little harder to get used to.
Other than the positioning of the touch pad, this keyboard is more or less the same as the touch pad version of the wireless keyboard.
Mini 2.4GHz Wireless Rii Mini PC Laptop Keyboard with touchpad (2nd Generation)
The Rii Touch N7 keyboard is ideal for presentations, gaming, multimedia and entertainment. With the versatility of a full keyboard, navigation buttons, and an adjustable DPI touchpad, it will change the way you interact with your computer and game console. The mini keyboard allows you to use your Internet TV while comfortably seated in your chair, without having to get up to change the channel. Controlling your PC's multimedia center has never been easier.
Logitech K400 Wireless Touch Keyboard
The Logitech K400 is not a mini keyboard like the rest of the devices on this list. I have included it because not everyone may want to use a mini keyboard. Mini keyboards are convenient because of their small sizes but if you plan to do a lot of typing, nothing beats a full sized keyboard.
The Logitech K400 is a full sized wireless keyboard that comes with a pretty large touch pad on the right side. This make typing comfortable and fast even when placing the K400 on your lap while typing and the large touch pad is responsive and makes cursor control accurate.
The touch pad supports two finger scrolling in Android and the right and left mouse buttons are located right under the touch pad. There is an additional left mouse button located on the upper left, right above the ESC. This left mouse button is easily accessible with your left thumb when holding the K400 with both hands with the right thumb controlling the touch pad.
There are a few short cut buttons at the top row that work in Android as well including Home and Power buttons. The power button only puts the Android mini PC to sleep however.
(Update 6/13/13) It has just been highlighted to me that there are more than one version of the K400. The version that I reviewed is actually the K400r that has the power button while the more common K400 comes with volume control buttons and no power button. Thanks ski522.
The Logitech K400 is another great keyboard for your Android Mini PC. It gets my personal recommendation if you need a full sized keyboard instead of one of those mini ones.
iPazzPort Bluetooth Fly Mouse Keyboard
The iPazzPort KP-810-16BAR is the newest mini wireless keyboard from iPazzPort. It has a lot of similarities with the KP-810-16 but there are 2 major differences. The first is that this is a Bluetooth keyboard while the KP-810-16 uses RF. Bluetooth is usually more stable compared to RF because of the interference caused by other 2.4 GHz wireless devices. The 2.4 GHz frequency is very commonly used by WiFi routers, wireless keyboards and mice, cordless phones and even the microwave oven.
Secondly, while the KP-810-16BAR can be used by a wide variety of platforms including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Linux, it is primarily targeted at Apple TV users. It comes with a silicon sleeve that lets you mount the Apple remote to the back of the keyboard. Therefore, there are no IR remote control function like the KP-810-16.
Other than that the KP-810-16BAR is very similar to the KP-810-16 functionally. If you an Apple TV user and you are frustrated with the hunt and peck method of keying in text on the screen, the KP-810-16BAR is a must-buy. Check out the full review of the KP-810-16BAR Bluetooth keyboard.