As I bang out this review for the ZAGGkeys Universal Keyboard, I marvel at how quickly things have changed. No longer do you need a laptop or even large tablet to be productive on the road. This entire review was written using the ZAGGkeys Universal Keyboard while on my Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Similar to my phone reviews, this will be short and sweet. Read on to get a layman’s view.
I am not including measurements or specs, which are readily available on the web, but will provide impressions from a real user. The Universal is well built and has a very slim profile. It has a unique curved base greatly improving the typing experience at the expense of portability. The plastic frame and chicklet style keys seem very durable. ZAGG includes a nice cover that protects the keyboard without adding much bulk, it also acts as a capable dock that works with several thin phones in a pinch.
On the left side of the spine is the micro-USB charging port while on the right a Bluetooth pairing button and hardware power switch. The keys are well labeled with white stickers similar to laptops which may rub off over time. There appears to be a full set of keys, with a row of numbers and function keys. Several of the function keys have dual purposes. The default functions I found most useful are; home, volume controls, menu button, navigation keys and the Android back arrow. I am unsure if the keys are user programmable to start specific applications. Travel on the relatively flat keys felt very similar to typical laptops.
Although the keys are not backlit they are easy to read in low light and should conserve batteries. There are however a few colored LEDs for the CAP lock and Bluetooth pairing mode indicator. Overall I am happy with the build quality of the ZAGGkeys Universal Keyboard and feel it will hold up well over extended use.
I used the keyboard primarily with my Sony Xperia Z Ultra for the last couple weeks along with and a handful of tablets/ phones. It was extremely easy to pair with all devices and holds a good wireless connection. I did not experience any lag while typing this review or from use over the last couple weeks.
Having a nearly full size keyboard greatly improves the speed and ease of which a user can create content. Touch typing is very similar to a well designed ultrabook. Having hard keys at my disposal using Android was very reminiscent of the experience with the Asus clamshell tablets such as the Prime. It’s extremely beneficial to have a detached keyboard that can be used with your multiple devices.
I find the sweet spot for the keyboard combination is when paired with a 6″ to 8″ device. Using the keyboard with a phone under 5″ is not quite as appealing; you need to use the phone in landscape otherwise it feels awkward and a much bigger tablet would probably benefit with a larger keyboard and more full size docking solution.
The battery is stated to work for three months on each charge. I have not been able to confirm this statement however I have only charged the device once and having the ability to charge with your phone’s micro-USB is a huge plus.
Overall I am very impressed with the direction ZAGG and other manufactures have gone with these portable keyboards. If you need to write reports, emails or create presentations while traveling; carrying this light and portable keyboard is a great solution. Paired with the right device, users can be nearly as productive as with laptops. With my Xperia Z Ultra, charger and ZAGGkeys Universal Keyboard in the bag, I have a mobile office that weighs less than an iPad or other comparable 10″ tablet.