I recently had the opportunity to try out the Microsoft portable folding BLE keyboard for a few days.
Microsoft did a really good job with the thinness and sturdy feel of this product, and even the weight balance. When folded it’s a very nice device to pick up and hold, to open/close, and even to tap lightly against the table. The comparison that comes to mind is the iPad mini, which is just so well balanced that it’s a joy to hold. This keyboard has two jump slots and they work quickly and reliably (tested on iOS only so far).
That being said, please think twice before contemplating using this monstrosity for actual typing. The keys appear in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes. The key placements are non-intuitive, at least for my fingers, while the flatness and lack of between-key gaps makes it hard to subconsciously know by feel that you’re at the right place without occasionally diverting your attention to peek. Speaking of finger feel, the depression feedback of this keyboard is depressing rather than joyous.
The padding on all four sides, especially along the top, eats up all your table space and just makes you feel pointless and wasteful. The size when folded is an uncomfortable middle between truly portable (such as comparable to cell phone size) vs tablet sized such as a non foldable thin keyboard or a keyboard/cover combo might be. With the folding you feel like you want to, but can’t, stick it in your suit jacket breast pocket or winter jacket side pocket. It almost seems like it would be a better payoff to not be foldable at all, and eliminate the gap between halves to have a portable thinner long keyboard. This folded size might be good for carrying with Apple’s iPad Mini, but the good old iWerks keyboard already makes a better mini companion, since it includes stand functionality and is just generally awesome. The MSFT keyboard size makes it great for hiding in the napkin holder between the napkins, but it should have been white for that use case, not black.
The gap between the two halves flex and wobble in a disruptive way if it’s on anything other than a completely hard and flat surface. By comparison, when the TextBlade is on a softer surface, within reasonable limits, I find my fingers can adapt well. Perhaps because you use such a softer touch with keypresses, and perhaps because of how the Textblade’s smaller angled geometry reacts differently to the softer surface.
Having only two jump slots seems so out of date now. I have my laptop, phone, iPad, computer at an office I visit, another iPad. I could even imagine having guest slots for family during trips.
As always, YMMV (for instance this iWerks review is the opposite of my view) and I’m sure some people might like this keyboard. I’m not keeping it.
I did however find one very good use for my MSFT keyboard, as you can see in the attached photo. Even the logo is well situated for this purpose!