Bluetooth keyboards are a dime a dozen; we’ve covered scores of them here at Gear Diary. Most are variations on the same old keyboard, but the Kanex Multi-Sync Bluetooth Keyboard falls into the “how did I live without this” category very quickly. Do you have an iPad and a Mac or PC? Then you need this keyboard.
What makes this keyboard so special? It can connect to up to four devices-three bluetooth and one wired. At the push of a button you can jump from your iPad to an iPhone, Mac, or PC, making it easy to work via multiple devices at once. You can’t connect to all of them at the same time, but the switch happens nearly instantaneously. I don’t have a Mac handy, but I have had the Kanex Multi-Sync Bluetooth Keyboard paired to my iPad via Bluetooth and my work PC via a microUSB cord without a single hiccup.
The keyboard itself is fairly straightforward. It’s very Apple-inspired, with a silver background and white keys. The keys have good travel, and are comfortable for touch-typing. This is a full-size keyboard, so you won’t be tossing it in a backpack if you’re traveling light. As a tradeoff, though, you get a full number pad on the right side. In addition to all the regular keyboard keys, it has a set of specialty keys above the number row. These control which bluetooth device you’re connected to, as well as media keys, turning the iOS device screen on and off, etc. There is also a home key for iOS use, which is handy. I really have only two quibbles with the keyboard’s design. One, it sits very low to the desk, so you won’t get a terribly ergonomic angle out of it. I don’t mind this, but it did take some getting used to, and given the choice I would have liked to see a slightly higher angle as an option. Two, the status lights for bluetooth devices are above the number pad, instead of near the buttons that jump between bluetooth devices. It just seems a bit silly, when the bluetooth keys could have an LED instead, thus freeing up the LEDs above the number pad for CAPS and NUMBER lock lights.
Let’s talk about performance for a moment. The Kanex is very fast at connecting via bluetooth. I usually work with my iPad next to me on my desk, and if I hit the bluetooth key I am usually connected by the time I start typing. Switching back to my PC with the USB key is just as swift, and even if I do multiple switches in a short period it doesn’t blink. The biggest issue I have is remembering which device I am connected to! Obviously, this keyboard works beautifully with iOS, but it handles Windows quite well. The only downside with using it as a Windows keyboard is that the Home button gets in the way, and that’s more that I am used to the CTRL key being where the Home key sits. Unfortunately, my work environment is fairly restricted so I cannot remap any of the keys. But it was immediately recognized by Windows 7 as a plug-n-play keyboard and has worked perfectly.
Do you need the Kanex Multi-Sync Bluetooth Keyboard? Maybe. If you consistently bounce between an iOS device and a PC or Mac, it’s certainly worth considering. The only downside I can see is that it’s not super portable, so if you’re looking for a keyboard for your iPad while on the go this wouldn’t be my top choice. But for working at a desk with an iPad and a computer, this is the ultimate solution you didn’t know you needed. It declutters your desk and eliminates the need for a keyboard for each device, it makes work incredibly streamlined and easy between multiple devices, even with mixed operating systems!
MSRP: $69.95 from Kanex
What I liked: Smooth transitions between devices; keys are solid and comfortable for touch-typing; attractive design
What Needs Improvement: Keyboard sits a bit low on the desk; lacks CAPS and NUMBER lock LEDs.
Source: Kanex Multi-Sync Bluetooth Keyboard is a manufacturer supplied review sample