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Dec 21 2012

FAVI Bluetooth Mini Keyboard Review

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Perusing the FAVI website yields what you would expect from an innovative entertainment company. Projectors, screens, televisions and a clever little HDMI widget called the SmartStick which is aimed squarely at giving Apple TV and Roku heartburn.

But in a very Sesame Street moment (“One of these things is not like the other…come on, sing along!”) the word “Keyboard” pops up on their product list.

Quoth the Jeff Macster…”huh?”

Given my legendary (at least, in my own mind) obsession with keyboards I was compelled to reach out to them and explore the Bluetoothian goodness the mini keyboard represented.

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 9.33.01 PM

The FAVI keyboard is roughly the size of Hershey’s Chocolate bar. It comes with a USB Y charging cable that is polite enough to supply a female USB pass through so you do not lose access to that USB port. I was able to sync and charge an iPhone on this pass through while the FAVI keyboard was connected.

I was a little mystified to see that the charging port was a Mini USB. Nearly everything I have has converted to Micro USB at this point, so I won’t be able to use a cable from something else in my kit to charge the FAVI.

The keyboard is a five row with a row of function keys across the top. The function keys do double duty as the Bluetooth pairing button and the volume and transport controls buttons. Because it is not a full row of buttons across the top, these only represent F1-F7 with the last 5 function keys piggy backing on the number row. F8 starts on 8, which makes it a bit easier to keep this straight.

The keys have a reasonable amount of feedback click to let you know they have been pressed and they are a good size for thumb typing. The placement of the trackpad makes this a little awkward as your right thumb has to reach further than your left but it is definitely workable. The actual keyboard kept giving me a bit of deja vu until I remembered what it reminded me of and I made my way to my “deceased technology” drawer and pulled out an old WinMo piece.

comparison

The trackpad is usable, but if you are used to a smooth trackpad like on the MacBooks the textured feel of the surface seems a bit odd. Tracking was good, and having the mouse buttons on the left side actually works pretty well. I was surprised that the trackpad actually worked on the Android platform. The iOS devices just ignored it.

Pressing the FN button and the left mouse button rotates the trackpad 90 degrees so you can use the trackpad as a presenter tool. In this orientation there are buttons on the right side to move a PowerPoint forward and backward and a momentary button that turns on the laser pointer. Hitting function and the right mouse button turns on the backlight on the keyboard which is a God send on a dark stage.

The FAVI paired and worked with everything in my computing arsenal including the iPad, iPhone, the Nexus7, MacBook Pro, and a Windows 7 PC and and Netbook with XP on it. Neither of the PCs had Bluetooth, but it was no problem as tucked inside the battery compartment is a Bluetooth dongle. Putting the FAVI into pairing mode was as simple as holding the Bluetooth button for 3 seconds.

IMG_1810

The dongle installed itself on WinXP and Win7 with no stress at all.

There are buttons for volume and mute, which worked on everything I plugged it into. The transport controls worked on iOS, Android, MacOS and Windows. The four buttons below the trackpad were a mixed bag. They all worked with Android, the home and search buttons worked on windows, although the home button launched Explorer. The home and search buttons worked as you would expect on iOS. MacOS completely ignored them.

The battery inside is a removable cell phone battery rated at 800 milliamps, which in practice is ludicrously big. I have had the keyboard for over a month and I have charged it twice. I would estimate it could easily go 4 weeks on light usage, and it will put itself to sleep to save battery life. There is also a power switch to keep it from turning itself on in your bag.

Construction quality is so-so. It is a little bit creaky and flimsy but it has lived through all the abuse I have thrown at it so far. The Bluetooth range on the included dongle is good, but I got better range on my MacBook with built-in Bluetooth.

Conclusions:

The FAVI did everything I expected and a bit more. Having the included Bluetooth dongle and a removable battery were much more than I expected. It definitely helped me enter text into my mobile devices quicker and more accurately.

I speak and train quite a bit in front of a big Power Point or Keynote display and the FAVI does what I need a remote to do plus gives me a keyboard to use with my phone to keep up with my daughters when they text me.

At well below $50 the FAVI is a great value and will get your fingers off of the glass.

FAVI Entertainment
5680 Eighteen Mile Road
Sterling Heights MI 48314
USA
Phone: (248) 805-1080

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