Recently, the fine folks at GearZap.com offered us the opportunity to review some of the products from their Galaxy Tab 3 accessories line, and I got my grubby little hands on a Universal Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard Dock. I already own a bluetooth keyboard that I use for virtually everything, but I was really curious how this one would stand up to my needs. Too many of these universal keyboards fail to live up to their claims. I’ve tried a few of them and found them wanting. But I try to give everything a fair shake, so here goes.
Now, to be fair, I didn’t expect to see the unit very quickly at all since they are based in the United Kingdom. Imagine my surprise when the keyboard showed up four days later. I have to admit, I was amazed it had gotten to me so fast. It was well packaged and suffered only minor denting to the item’s box. I was less than impressed with the plain white box in which the keyboard was packaged, it looked cheap and generic. But looks can often times be deceiving, especially with this one.
The unit itself is made for up to 10-inch tablets. It’s got a nice weight to it, definitely setting it apart from most other generic keyboards. The slot that holds the tablet is fixed in size, so no moving parts to break. The keys are solid and feel just as nice as the average laptop keyboard, though at about 80% of the overall size. A charging cable was included, but it’s a generic mini-USB connection so you can use pretty much any other one to recharge the unit.
But as we all know, the true test is in the use. I grabbed the nearest bluetooth item, which happened to be my Samsung Galaxy S3. It quickly paired and off we go. Almost no hesitation from keystroke to screen. It was nice and fluid the whole time I was typing. I really liked it, definitely better than I expected. Moving to my next device, the Asus Transformer TF101, I found it unable to connect. I tried and tried and tried, to no avail. But don’t despair, a quick Google search revealed that this version of the Transformer only works with certain keyboards. Thanks a lot, Asus (sarcasm, obviously).
I grabbed the next tablet, my wife’s Samsung Galaxy Tab, and it paired quickly and worked fine…just like with my phone. Figuring it might be great with Samsung but maybe not others, I kept going. It worked well with two more tablets and even an iPad. In fact, it worked with virtually everything with which I tested it. On a whim, I tried to connect it to my Sony Playstation 3…and it worked, though with minor glitches. No harm, no foul since it was never intended to be used with a gaming console.
So color me impressed, this little keyboard delivered far more than what was expected of it. When push came to shove it went above and beyond. On top of that, it’s aesthetically pleasing. I actually think it looks far more expensive than it was. My opinion of the unit is that it’s a better value than you might think. And while it is being shipped from the U.K., I wouldn’t let that affect you. As I said earlier, they were super fast and efficient in getting the unit to me. So, all that said, let me sum it up for you. Great price, excellent service and spectacular compatibility. If you are need of a keyboard, this is the one for you. Unless you have an Asus Transformer TF101, that is.
Sidenote: the keyboard registers as “Bluetooth Keyboard For iPad.” Not a huge deal, but something to know since it is listed as an Android keyboard.
Here’s what the site has to say about the keyboard:
Why Buy the Universal Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard Dock?
– Works with all Apple & Android Bluetooth tablets
– Active pairing for quickest possible connection
– Docks your tablet and stands it at a comfortable angle
– Energy saving for increased battery life
– Supports OS function keys
Universal Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard Dock – Description Works with all Apple & Android Bluetooth tablets
This high quality keyboard dock will ensure that typing on your tablet becomes extremely easy and a lot more efficient. It will work with all Apple and Android tablets.
Active pairing for quickest possible connection
Utilising active pairing technology, your tablet will automatically recognise the keyboard as soon as you turn it one, once the initial connection has been established.
Docks your tablet and stands it at a comfortable angle
Giving you an ideal viewing angle whilst you type, you can stand your tablet either horizontally or vertically within the docking section.
Energy saving for increased battery life
If you are inactive on your keyboard for 10 minutes, the keyboard will automatically turn off to save power. Included with the keyboard is a charger to boost the keyboard’s battery life whenever needed.
Supports OS function keys
The keyboard will support OS function keys for maximum compatibility with your tablet.