Best Wearable Keyboard of 2020
From the advent of the old typewriter to the modern keyboard, the art of typing has become an integral element of our daily lives. Whether we’re writing a last-minute college essay that’s due within the hour or even drafting a detailed financial report for some corporate client, all of these activities require us to constantly mash away on our keyboards.
We’re not saying that the keyboard is a bad thing per se, but it is undeniable that excessive typing on a daily basis can cause a whole host of hand problems including carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and repetitive strain injury (RSI). You can blame the actual mechanical keyboard for that.
On that note, in the past years much attention has been given to new trend: wearable keyboards – i.e. keyboards that don’t fully require physical contact with a mechanical keyboard and can be carried around. Now we do want to emphasize that this is a wholly new market for all of us.
Consequentially, there are as many terrible products out there as there are stars in our sky. Now while we are certainly optimistic about this newfound trend, not all that glitters are gold – so if you’re enticed by wearable keyboards check out our list below for our take.
- 1 Best Wearable Keyboards
- 2 Tap Strap Bluetooth Enabled Wearable Keyboard and Mouse
- 3 AGS Advanced Wireless Laser Projection Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard & Mouse
- 4 Jelly Comb Tri-fold Wireless Ultra-Slim Portable Bluetooth Keyboard
- 5 Logitech K380 Wireless Multi-Device Keyboard
- 6 OMOTON Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard
- 7 Three Things to Consider in Wearable Keyboards
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Best Wearable Keyboards
Tap Strap Bluetooth Enabled Wearable Keyboard and Mouse
The first on our list looks like a device ripped straight out of a science fiction film. Tap above all else aims to deliver an experience like no other by replacing physical keyboards and mouses for all devices including laptops and smartphones through Bluetooth.
Like a fingerless glove, you slip the device on your hand (either left or height) until it reaches the bottom of your fingers and feels comfortable. Armed and ready to go, you then use your fingers on any solid surface to input a keystroke (e.g. the thumb will type out an X, vowels are attached to each individual finger).
Your thumb then acts as a precise mouse which when placed on a surface, allows it to turn into a functional on its own. You then click with your index and middle fingers depending on whether you want a right or left click. This all works because of inbuilt accelerometers on each finger that carefully records and detects the motion of your fingers which then send commands to your device.
This product isn’t, however, a walk in the part when it comes to usability. While Tap is just as potentially responsive as a traditional keyboard, you’ll be required to learn and relearn a whole set of new gestures so be prepared for months of readjustment.
Take this for instance: to type the word ‘To’ you need to first use your index and middle finger together to type out a ‘T’ followed by using your ring finger to type out an ‘O’. Doesn’t make sense? Confused? We sure were!
AGS Advanced Wireless Laser Projection Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard & Mouse
If you’re looking for a portable, wearable keyboard and feel that Tap seems a bit too intimidating to you because of its steep learning curve then fret not, you are not alone. A good alternative product would be AGS Design’s Portable Projection Keyboard which features the universally loved QWERTY keyboard layout (minus the number pad of course).
The actual device is light to carry, is very compact, and looks slick though it’s actually made out of mainly plastic. It also is far more intuitive when it comes to the actual typing unlike the Tap! You just link it to your desktop through Bluetooth, turn the device on and voila!
Out comes a laser projected keyboard onto the surface right in front of it and you’re ready to start typing away. You can even substitute an actual mouse with the laser projection which further adds to the portability aspect of this device.
However, though novel in design, it is still relatively new technology, so we ask that you consider this purchase with a grain of salt. Two negative things we’ve noticed were firstly, how it requires quite a substantial amount of force for each keystroke, making it less than ideal if you intend to type in a public area.
And secondly, its battery-life is poor at best – averaging out barely an hour and a half of constant use. We don’t know about you but that amount of juice isn’t going to get us very far for an average day at work.
Jelly Comb Tri-fold Wireless Ultra-Slim Portable Bluetooth Keyboard
Now if fancy, futuristic lasers and fingerless gloves are a step too far out there for you, you’ll be pleased to know that the next product on our list by Jelly Comb takes a step back towards more conventional and familiar designs. The Tri-Fold is a fully functional QWERTY keyboard that unfolds into an attached, three-piece device made out of a mainly plastic build.
Make no mistake however, though it is plastic, it is of the good quality so at its price point, you still receive a fairly durable product that can last for years if properly taken care of and maintained.
Once unfolded and set upon any hard surface of your choice and linked with your device through Bluetooth, you’ll find that the left most section and middle section contains your standard keys and the right most section holds a small trackpad. Then once you are finished with your typing, you simply fold it up and it automatically latches itself with its magnetic mechanism, slip it into your bag and carry it along with you throughout your day.
Now while we don’t imagine this sort of keyboard would replace any actual laptop or wired desktop keyboard anytime soon, but we do believe that this is a great product to have if you’re using either a tablet or smartphone. Any user of those devices will know full well how tricky and clumsy typing can be at times.
However, that being said, there are some drawbacks to this device. It can only be used on a hard surface so areas like your lap won’t do the trick unless you prop it up on something like a folder.
Further, the keys though pleasant to type on also don’t always register accurately – we found that typing at breakneck speeds (WPM 100+) often caused the keyboard to input two of a single character! Regardless with all things considered, we do think this will do the trick for standard use.
Logitech K380 Wireless Multi-Device Keyboard
Continuing down the path of actual, physical, keyboards, if you’re looking for something compact, light and easy to carry, Logitech’s K380 Wireless Keyboard will do the job just nicely. Coming in four distinct colors – blue, dark grey, off-white, rose – this device may be the most rigid and solid device on our list (no pun intended) and can be used alongside your laptop, desktop and even smartphone, all at the same time!
It may not be the lightest on our list nor does it have any fancy folding up mechanism or laser projection but what it forfeits in novelty, it gains in pure performance. The feel of the keys and material used are all meticulously fitted which makes for some of the best typing experience we’ve had among these products.
While users with bigger hands may find such a compact keyboard difficult to use, we believe that anyone should be able to take full advantage of this product after constant use for a few days.
The benefit of its rigid design is of course usability. You don’t necessarily need a dedicated hard surface to use the keyboard – you can whip it out and start typing any almost anywhere from your lap to your kitchen countertop!
And as we mentioned earlier, it can even be used to connect to up to three devices at a time so you could be typing on your smartphone for a minute and then with a click of a button, switch to your desktop computer.
OMOTON Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard
The last device on our list is a very affordable product by OMOTON that tends to remind users of a certain tech giant synonymous to a certain crunchy fruit. However, upon touching the OMOTON Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard, you will notice the immediate difference in terms of build – OMOTON’s keyboard is composed purely of plastic instead of aluminum.
Compatible with any standard device with Bluetooth, you will most certainly still have a solid typing experience and can prop the keyboard up on any surface. It again, doesn’t fold or require unique gestures to operate and can easily be stuffed in any backpack or purse because of its 0.2-inches of thickness. Further, if customizability is your thing, you’ll be pleased to know that it even comes in three colors – black, white and pink.
The biggest plus point we noticed on the OMOTON keyboard is its long-lasting battery. Though it runs on merely just two AAA batteries, it boasts up to a month’s worth of constant typing which is a huge deal for a product this affordable.
The keyboard’s materials though plastic still is very responsive and feel almost like a premium product under the fingers and the added ability to type anywhere from the bed to desk is a definite draw to users with slightly itchier feet!
Three Things to Consider in Wearable Keyboards
The entire point of even owning a portable and wearable keyboard is for the sake of convenience, so size in this regard plays a huge role. Larger keyboards tend to have more keys than smaller ones, but this is often at the cost of weight and thus portability.
Lighter keyboards in comparison tend to be easier to lug around but you may not have a key here or there and may find the keys to be considerably more squished together. Now this point doesn’t really apply to the first product on our list but for the rest that are based on traditional keyboard layouts, you should defiantly take a hard look at your needs before heading out to make a purchase.
Connectivity and Response:
The most annoying thing to happen when typing is when your typing input is not correctly recognised by your device. While this isn’t always a big problem when it comes to the more orthodox, wired keyboards, when we consider wearable keyboards which are mostly Bluetooth-based, this problem becomes all too true.
On our list for instance, you won’t find too much (if any) issues with this though you should understand that by opting for these keyboards, you do certainly risk having a slightly laggier experience.
Why users even consider using a wearable keyboard in the first place is because they find ordinary, mechanical keyboards discomforting in some way. Now while our list has products that can alleviate some of these stresses either by the way in how and where you may do your typing, comfort is highly subjective.
Some products on our list may feel kinder under the fingers to some and not others. Take a hard look at your past typing experiences and adjust your expectations appropriately and you’ll be set.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are these types of keyboards even worth their price tag right now?
As we’ve seen on our list, the price for these types of keyboards can range from cheap to pricy. And the worse thing of all? Price doesn’t guarantee a worthwhile purchase in this case. Ironically, we think that the cheaper you go, the more reliable the keyboard seems to be here.
This is not to say that the more expensive, novel products (like the Tap Strap) are poor in quality but rather, they are attempting to leverage very new and very untested technology. So, if you choose to fork out a considerable sum for a wearable keyboard, know that you aren’t necessarily paying for usability – you’re paying for the novelty of such a device.