Penclic Mini Keyboard K2 Review
Small frame takes up less desk space – is highly portable
Simplistic overall design and presentation
Comes with rechargeable batteries, retractable USB cable, and wireless dongle
Pulling out the USB flap is more trouble than it should be
The retractable USB cable can jam
Board had unreliable functionality with power and key presses
Tiny But Unreliable
The Penclic Mini Keyboard K2 is seeking an opportunity in the highly competitive computer accessory market by going in the opposite direction from most keyboard manufactures. Instead of focusing on enhanced features, making you a better gamer, or even focusing on your typing skills, Penclic is taking a step back by going the simple and portable route.
The kicker with this keyboard is its portability. It is tiny on purpose. The overall design is rather flat, only with the back-end curving at a near 45-degree angle. Because of its size and weight, this keyboard should have no problems fitting in your computer bag or even a purse. This means this unit takes up less desk space and carries a friendly, non-intimidating presentation. The thin profile also gives the impression of a minimalist design and I think pairs nicely with Mac products due to the simple design and color scheme.
Unfortunately, I ran into some problems with the functionality of this keyboard. First, it seems like board only works in a wireless application. After plugging in the keyboard directly into my PC with the included USB cable, nothing would work. It was only after the batteries were charged and the wireless dongle inserted would the board register. Further, the function key kept getting jacked up. The U, I, O, J, K, L and M keys double as the number pad but I kept typing 4s instead of typing Us.
But perhaps the strangest issue I encountered was the powering of this unit. As the board sat on my desk, the little LED indicator light would flash green which indicates it is charging – great, no problem here. However, as soon as I would physically move the board, even just holding it at an angle, the indicator would flash red, then back to green as it set it back down. When it was flashing red, the keys would not register. It is a major bummer that I couldn’t get a wired application to work and there seems to be an issue with its power use especially when being moved around or touched, as if the unit is too fragile.
The unit is powered by inserting the two rechargeable AAA batteries (included) and charged with a micro-USB cable (also included). One of the rechargeable batteries that was included with my board looked as though it was already used. Out of the box, the bottom of this battery had a burnt spot on it. Not sure if this is why my board wasn’t reliable but either way it was disappointing to see.
One of the reasons why this keyboard is small is because of the absence of the number pad and compressed framing. With this said, the user will need to use the function key to do tasks like print screening or page up/down, which is acceptable and the point of this board. The Delete key and arrow keys, however, have been tucked away in the corners of the unit so those are still accessible without any button combos.
The keys themselves are also thin and compact. While it is nowhere as tactile as, say, a Das Keyboard, the user still gets a response from each key press. The packaging states that key presses are quiet, and they are, but they still make noise; this is definitely not a silent keyboard.
The color scheme is also something worth mentioning because it is rather unique. The red highlight of the Enter key obviously stands out against the rest of the white board but the light blue lettering is a pleasant contrast. Even the small battery LED indicator on the top of the unit matches well. Flip the unit around the user might be curious about where the USB connection is made. Unfortunately, the red protector flap might look congruent with the rest of the unit but is actually terrifyingly difficult to open. Being a dude with very short fingernails, I could not open this inserted flap. After five minutes of frustration, I gave up and had to bust out tweezers from the bathroom to open it. But once it was open, inserting the micro USB was surprisingly solid.
Unfortunately, the USB cord got immediately stuck in its retractable casing as I tried to pull out some slack. I understand where they were going with this repelling design, trying to keep things more compact, but it doesn’t work as easy as it should. It is sort of like trying to roll in that long garden hose only on a much smaller scale – it is going to get tangled or creased along the way. It is not the end of the world as any other micro USB cable will work and you probably have a half-dozen of them spread throughout your house, charging you other electronic gadgets.
Also available in black and sold for around $70, the Penclip Mini Keyboard K2 would be a great keyboard for the mobile user always on the go or for the apartment dweller that has little to no computer desk space if the power, charge, and functionality was more reliable. Its portability is by far the stand-out feature but the inconsistencies make this board feel like a poorly funded and hastily produced Kickstarter product. Users will probably see better results from other inexpensive mini keyboards instead.
On Par With Or Even Worse Than: that freebie keyboard that came with your computer
Also Try: impressing the ladies by navigating your PC with ONLY a keyboard (no mouse)
Wait For It: futuristic keyboard gloves that lets you type without a board
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com