Review: Microsoft Wedge Keyboard

A keyboard is a product that defines your device. With a laptop, the keyboard is a critical component that, if ignored during the design phase, can ruin the final product. With a desktop and now tablets, you have the ability to swap them out if desired to find the perfect fit for your needs.

Seeing as the keyboard is likely the most touched piece of hardware when using a PC, it is imperative that the keyboard fit all of your needs for comfort and durability. Much like the recently reviewed Wedge mouse, we have for you today a review of the Wedge keyboard. For reference, I have been using this keyboard for a solid week, 40+ hours into this device and came to the conclusions below.

The Wedge keyboard has an MSRP of $79.95 and is not cheap by any means for a mobile keyboard. The keyboard sizes in at 10.1 inches across and 3.97 inches tall and also uses Bluetooth for connectivity. 

The keyboard, much like the mouse, is designed for mobility, and because of that it's a bit smaller than your typical laptop keyboard. The Bluetooth, two 2xAAA battery powered keyboard, is compact and offers the straightforward basics you would expect for a Microsoft built keyboard.

The standard QWERTY layout is complimented by a top row of keys running from escape to delete with F1-F12 and page down squeezed in between. The F keys are shortcut keys but with the addition of a Fn button, you can access the F1-12 buttons. The shortcut keys are as follows: play/pause, mute, volume up/down, search, share, devices, and settings.

The keyboard matches the Wedge mouse by having a chrome bar exterior and a flat black color to it; the back of the keyboard is rigid textured plastic. The keyboard is propped up by the housing that contains the batteries, while on the left end of the housing is the power button and the right sees the Bluetooth toggle.

The keyboard is quite rigid and will stand up to those who mercilessly pound on their keyboards to initiate keystrokes. The key travel is adequate but does feel a bit long to initiate a keystroke. It’s not overly long that it inhibits typing, but it is something you should be aware of if you like short, punctual strokes.

The keys are made of black plastic and are quite firm. The plastic feels confident but at the same time a bit slippery when typing. It’s not the kind of slickness that will drive you nuts by any means, but a bit more texture to the keys would be appreciated.

To no surprise, the spacing on the keyboard is a bit tight; this is to maintain the product's mobile assertions. We have not encountered any issues with mistakes due to its size but there are a couple of odd quirks that we have noticed. For example, the arrow keys are quite small and yet the dedicated context button, which I rarely use, is a bit overzealous on its size (it's larger than right Alt!). This could have been done to keep the key alignment visually balanced between the left and right side, not a major issue by an means. 

There is also one small issue we hope that Microsoft will address with a software update for the keyboard. When you press any of the charm buttons, such as settings, the settings bar slides out as expected, but you would think pressing the settings key again would close the bar, however it doesn’t. You must hit escape to close the slider out window - not a big issue, but it does get annoying if you accidently hit the share button and want to quickly close the menu.

While the keyboard feels well made in all respects, when you set it down on a hard desk, it has that distinctive rattle to it of the keys vibrating ever so slightly. It does not detract from the usage of the peripheral but once you hear it, you always hear it.

Easily the best part of the keyboard, is not the keyboard itself, it’s the cover that comes with it. The cover is made of a rubbery material and is hinged to turn the cover, into a tablet stand. It’s simply brilliant; in fact, the cover/stand is what makes this package attractive as you can affix the cover to the keyboard for easy traveling/storage and you don’t need to purchase a separate stand.

The stand is flexible and should be able to accommodate tablets of nearly any size. The rubbery grip of the stand assures that it will stay firmly in place and the flexible hinge allows you to adjust the screen to nearly any angle.

One downfall of the case is that it is a dirt magnet. While it does clean up modestly easy, the material is great at getting dust stuck to the cover.

The Wedge keyboard is an interesting product and despite its few shortcomings, it's a well rounded product. The keyboard is solid, firm, and it's clear that it's designed to ride alongside your tablet. If you are in need of a stylish, compact keyboard, the Wedge keyboard is a great choice. The fact that it comes bundled with a cover that will support your tablet is an added bonus and raises the appeal of the peripheral.



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