A compact Bluetooth keyboard, the Penclic KB3 is designed to make your laptop more comfortable to use on the move, while also being small and light enough not to add a lot of weight to your laptop bag. It’s well made and high quality, offering the full range of keyboard functions and is easy to plug and play.
It’s an excellent option for an ultra portable keyboard that works with PCs and Macs, as well as Android and iOS tablets and phones.
The keyboard layout gives you access to the full range of keys including function keys and some specific to the device itself for setting up with different operating systems. You do have to resort to using the function key to access some useful keys such as Home and End, but the only thing missing from a full-scale keyboard is the number pad. The only issue we found was the cursor keys, with the right shift button where you might expect the up button to be – the up and down buttons are half keys occupying the space of a single key.
A benefit of doing away with the number pad and having the keyboard smaller is you can position your mouse closer to the keyboard and directly in front of your shoulder. This reduces the amount of reaching you have to do and has been shown to reduce the effect of repetitive strain injury (RSI).
It’s a good setup and the keys are of a decent size, with a reasonable travel distance (how far they depress when used) and a smart click to know you’ve hit them – but not noisy enough to annoy anyone else. It feels like a good quality laptop keyboard, just with the freedom to move it around and a subtle slope so the far keys are raised. This does make it feel a lot more comfortable to use than a built-in keyboard, although the board doesn’t include a kickstand so you can’t exaggerate the slope if that is what you are used to when typing.
It’s clearly well made with the aluminium body giving it a premium feel, but also keeping the weight down to a fantastic 284g. The fact it is so slim and light means it’s ideal for slipping in a bag and won’t compromise the portability of your nice light laptop. It’s available in silver, gold or black, so should match most computers.
Battery life doesn’t seem to be a problem with a reasonable 250mAh battery included and a battery saving auto shut off after being idle for 30 minutes – it is turned back on by pressing any button. Penclic doesn’t quote a specific figure for how long it lasts, but after a day’s use it was still going strong for us so it shouldn’t be a major concern.
You can also test how much charge is left by pressing the Fn key and backspace and the power LED will flash up to four times, with each flash representing 25% charge. Once it has run down it is charged with a standard microUSB cable – the kind used to charge most smartphones – and the USB cable supplied will allow you to use the keyboard while it charges.
At around £80 it’s not a cheap option and you will be able to find plenty of Bluetooth keyboards cheaper that do a reasonable job. But as with many things you get what you pay for and the quality of the materials, build quality and performance are all of the kind you are only likely to find at this price level.
If you have a high-end, stylish laptop and you want a decent keyboard that won’t look out of place next to it, the KB3 is a great choice. It’s well made and performs well, with a fantastic setup and great slim design meaning it should fit in any bag.