Mini keyboards are becoming really popular because they offer a great way to remote control computers. EFO has a line of mini keyboards and today we are looking at the EFO Bluetooth handheld keyboard
- Bluetooth (V2.0, HID V1.0) interface can let you enjoy freedom of wireless with other media devices.
- Backlighting makes live easy when in the dark.
- Max. distance of 10M (around 33 feet).
- Plug and play: no need to install software.
One of the key features of any mini keyboard is that it is easy to setup and use. The EFO Keyboard meets that requirement by only requiring a single USB dongle and no software or drivers.
Because the EFO Bluetooth Keyboard does not need any software or drivers, it is compatible with most Operating Systems. It is even compatible with most gaming systems.
There are a whole bunch of different uses for a wireless keyboard. Everything from remote controlling an HTPC, laptop during a presentation, or even writing emails from afar.
Instead of the normal IR interface for most remotes, the EFO keyboard uses Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth has the benefit of not needing line-of-sight and having a range of about 30 feet. This means you can control a computer even if you are not in the same room.
The design of the keyboard is very simple. The front is where you find the keyboard, touchpad, and activity lights. There are actually 5 lights at the top of the EFO keyboard and they consist of charging, external power, Bluetooth status, battery power, and caps lock/input switch.
The touchpad is quite large when compared to other devices like this, but this gives you lots of room to move around in. Below the touchpad are two buttons which are the left and right mouse buttons.
The keyboard is very small, but it does have a standard QWERTY layout. The buttons are also slightly raised, and very smooth. Most of the buttons have dual functions, the second function is indicated with a small number or character above the regular one. However, not everything is perfect. Normally, the F and J keys have a raised spot so that you can orient your fingers without looking at the keyboard. This keyboard does not have these, and some of the keys are not in their normal location, so looking at your fingers while typing is a necessity. The keyboard is also missing multimedia keys. For use with an HTPC the multimedia keys would have been very helpful.
The keyboard also has a backlight function, but it needs to be turned on manually. To turn on the backlight the RF key must be pressed twice. The only way to turn off the backlight is to let the keyboard go to sleep or use the power switch to turn off the keyboard.
The bottom has a USB port for charging, a power switch, and a Bluetooth reset switch. If you find that you cannot get the keyboard to connect to your computer then pressing the reset switch may help. I often found myself forgetting to turn off the keyboard. Fortunately, the EFO keyboard also has a sleep mode. This means that if you are like me and you forget to turn off the keyboard, you don’t need to worry about wasted batteries. The sleep mode automatically activates after 30 seconds of inactivity.
So now it is time to hook it up to my HTPC and try it out.
Because there is no software to install, setting up the EFO keyboard is relatively easy. The first thing you must do is plug the Bluetooth dongle into one of the USB ports on your computer. After that is done the next step is to turn on the keyboard. When the keyboard is turned on it should enter discovery mode. While in this mode the middle status light should blink. If this does not happen, like with mine, then the reset button will need to be pressed. Once the reset button is pressed the light should start blinking.
The next step is to pair the keyboard to the computer and there are several steps to this. the screenshots below show the steps I had to take.
Once the process is complete the keyboard will start working with the computer. The keyboard and touchpad worked very well. The only problem I had using the keyboard was that the letter O would stick. This wasn’t a huge problem because I could eventually get it to work.
As I stated above the keys have a QWERTY layout, so it is easy to find the keys you are looking for. The buttons have a solid feel and give a solid click when pressed. I did not have any trouble getting it to work or using it.
Another problem I encountered is that when I turned the keyboard off and then on again it would not reconnect. I actually had to delete the current device connection and then pair it to the computer all over again.
Warranty and Support
The EFO Keyboard comes with a 1 year warranty, and you get support through the EFO website.
The keyboard certainly does its job, and it does it without breaking the bank. The low price of $60 makes up for a lot of the missing features. This is the most expensive of all the EFO keyboards, but it also has the best keyboard layout and the benefit of Bluetooth technology.
If your looking for a wireless mini keyboard and you are on a tight budget then the EFO keyboard is a great option.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|