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Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than a virtual keyboard, just not with Windows Phone, 12 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard - UK Layout (Accessory)
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I'm not sure what's happening with Microsoft. There was a time when its home-grown designs were considered to be functional but inelegant, something you'd happily use at work but wouldn't dare spend your own hard-earned cash on. That isn't a criticism that can be levelled at many of its products today, and although some do still reek of 80's nostalgia (ahem, Xbox One), Microsoft does, on occasion, seek to push the boundaries slightly when it comes to design.

The mobile keyboard is part of Microsoft's 'Wedge' range, which also includes a similar-looking mouse. It comes in a nice, tough cardboard box with a flip-opening lid that also houses the keyboard's hard rubber cover and some manuals. Once out of its box, you can see that some thought has gone into it, with a very thin profile and a chrome band extending right around the edge to help break up the black of the keys and the back-plate. It's also very solid, with not even the keys rattling as I might have expected them to. In fact, the only unwanted protrusion is the battery pack / stand on the back, which sticks out awkwardly but does at least serve to prop up the keyboard at a better angle. It doesn't bend in the middle, as you might think from some of the photos, so it isn't quite as portable as some mobile keyboards, but you'd have no problem stashing it in a rucksack or handbag with little problem.

The keyboard isn't rechargeable, instead relying on two AAA batteries for its power; it also doesn't have any USB ports, so if you run out of batteries while you're on the move then you're pretty much sunk. Nicely, though, the included cover switches the keyboard off when the two are in contact. The cover also bends in the middle, to double up as a stand for your mobile device, as long as you have somewhere flat to stand it up on. What the cover doesn't do, is to provide any protection for the lovely metal back of the keyboard, and a few scratches were evident on mine pretty soon after I got it.

Setting up the keyboard with both my iPad and my Windows 7 PC was a doddle, literally just a case of switching the devices on and holding down the 'sync' button on the side of the keyboard's battery pack. Getting the keyboard to work with my Windows Phone 8 mobile, on the other hand, was a painful process and despite numerous attempts I never got the two to work properly together, with the connection continually dropping out a few seconds after the devices had connected. Given the ease with which the keyboard found my other gadgets I'm hoping that this is a quirk with WP8 and not the keyboard itself, but it's certainly an oddity given that they share the same heritage. Perhaps tellingly, the MS website lists W7, W8, WRT, iOS 4, iOS 5, Android 3.2 and Android 4.0.4 as compatible operating systems, but no mention of Windows Phone.

In use, the keyboard is actually much better than I was expecting given its diminutive size. It's true that it's not overly comfortable to use for a long period of time (especially if it's balanced on your lap) but it is low to the ground so your wrists aren't held off the deck, which does help ease wrist strain. The keys are firm yet responsive, although very much on the small size, as you'd expect; then again, the keys do extend right up to the edge of the keyboard housing so you couldn't possibly get any bigger keys into such a small space. The keyboard is also clearly primarily oriented towards Windows 8, with dedicated W8 Charms and Start button keys dotted about; their inclusion won't have any effect on your use of the thing if you don't have a W8 device, but you'll get more out of it if you do.

The Wedge is certainly one of the best mobile keyboards I've tried, both in terms of its size in relation to its portability and in terms of how it feels to use. I'm not convinced that the trade-off of having to pack it with you is worth it, but that's my opinion on mobile keyboards generally as I have no problem with using the iPad and W8 virtual keyboards. That said, it is better for typing essays on than any virtual keyboard, as long as you don't want to use it with Windows Phone, that is.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Mar 2014 16:52:37 GMT
Auto says:
Apparently Windows Phone 8.1 is bringing Bluetooth keyboard support, so try again once that drops. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Mar 2014 21:18:34 GMT
Mr. Mischief says:
Thanks Auto, I wasn't aware that Phone 8 didn't have Bluetooth keyboard support. My Lumia has suffered a bit of a hardware failure but I'll be sure to try the keyboard again when I get the phone back from the repairers and update it to 8.1.

I've just ordered a Surface Pro so it'll be interesting to see how well the keyboard does with that.
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