Today we have another product from Sandberg that sounds great for people on the go due to its portability as well as its universal appeal. The Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard is great for wireless use on your windows PC if you are short of real estate on your desk but because it uses Bluetooth instead of a WiFi signal you can also use it for any tablet or even mobile phone or phablet that supports Bluetooth 3.0 – which is pretty much everything nowadays. Its use cases don’t stop there since there are numerous Roku-type TV devices that don’t come with a proper keyboard but would support this and greatly benefit from it, as well as any gaming console that features Bluetooth, after all, typing on an on-screen keyboard display is frustratingly slow and a keyboard that you can use comfortably would make searching for movies or even sending an email infinitely quicker.
It sounds like everyone and their dog should rush out and buy it, right? After all, with all the usability of this fairly simple device what could possibly go wrong? Well, that’s why I’m here to see just whether or not the Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard can not only live up to Sandberg’s claims but also if it can live up to our expectations as well as justify the somewhat expensive asking price of £54.99. Let’s have a quick look at the feature list and specifications and then on to a close-up of the device itself.
Features and Specifications
- Available in UK, German and Nordic layouts
- Bluetooth interface (HID)
- Bluetooth v/3.0 Broadcom chipset
- Built-in 190mAh LiB Battery
- Operating distance: Up to 10 meters
- Supports Adaptive Frequency Hopping(AFH)
- 13 hot keys
- 82 standard keys
- LED indicators for Bluetooth, Caps Lock and Low Battery / Charging
- Touchpad with scroll function
- Weight: 290 g
- Dimensions: 369.10 x 111.25 x 6.3 mm
The packaging for this keyboard is just a simple and rather flimsy plastic enclosure that’s almost totally clear up front to give you a good view of the keyboard as well as the generous touchpad that’s as large as the missing number pad would be.
The back of the pack is given over to the product description that’s repeated in just about every language on earth, with the contents and feature list at the bottom in English only. One of those items on the feature list though is “5 mouse buttons with scroll wheel” which don’t actually feature on the keyboard itself though the touchpad does have a scroll function.
The contents are pretty simple, the keyboard itself, a USB cable and the user guide are all that is included.
From the top, the keyboard looks similar to any laptop keyboard that you may find though perhaps a little larger than most as its proportions are that of a full-size keyboard.
Where the number pad would normally be situated is a large touchpad which sadly misses out on mouse buttons of any kind; this is a shame as there is certainly enough room for them to have been included. Above the number pad, you will find three LED indicators, from left to right these are: Bluetooth pairing, caps lock and battery low/charging.
The bottom of the keyboard is simply a large aluminium tray painted black with a product sticker in the centre.
Most of the borders of the Sandberg Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard are featureless with the exception of the right-hand side. This is where you find the on / off switch as well as the micro-USB charging port.
As I mentioned in the intro, for all of its features this is still a fairly simple keyboard and there’s no a great deal to show off in the photos, so let’s see how it performed.
Using the keyboard for general typing in an office environment was an absolute pleasure. I’m not sure what I was expecting and it’s not quite in the same league as my G.Skill mechanical keyboard that I use daily but the scissor switches used on the Sandberg V gave a surprising amount of travel distance and were soft and gentle to use compared to the hardness of the G.Skill. The touchpad was also nice to use, especially when it came to office docs as it was so much faster than a mouse but the missing left and right buttons is an unacceptable oversight. I simply can’t understand why they were not included when the touchpad is so large. For other daily tasks like photo editing those missing buttons made the touchpad almost useless so unfortunately I was back to using my mouse.
Bluetooth connectivity is of course where the versatility of this keyboard is supreme. Being able to swap easily from desktop PC to tablet or Android TV was wonderful and the inclusion of shortcut keys that are pre-programmed to Apple’s IOS, Android and Windows made a lot of sense but again here was an expected feature that was missing. It would have been great to see a few profiles that I could switch between but instead I had to sync the keyboard to each new device and with my PC also being in the living room I had to remember to disable the Bluetooth on my computer before being able to sync the Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard to the Android TV box. Profiles would also have been useful when it came to testing other products since I would have been able to use the keyboard for my main PC as well as the test bench but this was not to be.
As far as using the keyboard with the Android TV and other Android devices went I could not fault the Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard at all. It was just so much faster than typing with the remote controller and substantially more comfortable than the miniature Bluetooth keyboard I used to use. Typing an email and even editing reviews on my mobile phone changed from being an unbearable chore to absolute simplicity and increased my productivity substantially. I didn’t have an opportunity to try gaming on it as my Android box isn’t very powerful but with the responsiveness of the Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard, I can’t see there being any problem there. I did try a few games with the keyboard and a mouse rather than the touchpad and the better accuracy from the larger surface area on the keycaps made for a very enjoyable experience, though it’s not really a gaming keyboard and doesn’t come with the myriad functions and features that we are used to having.
The Sandberg Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard was a gem to type on. The scissor switches are so comfortable on the fingertips and the large flat keys improved my typing accuracy. I didn’t notice any delay from the Bluetooth transmission whether from the keys or the mouse pad, every input was faithfully and quickly translated to the screen whether that be my monitor, phone or TV.
The Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard is suitable to use as a desktop replacement for a neater, cut-down and cable free working environment, though you would probably benefit from a mouse to compliment the set-up. You can use it for your tablet or smartphone, or even for typing on and controlling your Bluetooth enabled gaming device or set-top box. Typing on a keyboard is simple, faster and more comfortable when done on a keyboard compared to using a controller or remote and the included touchpad with its scroll function makes your controller almost obsolete.
Of course, there were some downsides that come with it as well. The touchpad is huge which is great, but it’s not really necessary to have it that large when Sandberg could have instead included some mouse buttons for better functionality. Sandberg have seen that users will want to use multiple devices and so have included shortcut keys for Windows, Apple and Android operating systems, but the keyboard would have been so much better with user profiles that bind the keypad to those different devices instead of either having to unpair the keyboard every time you switch and go through the pairing process on the new device or turn off Bluetooth on the device that you are not using the keyboard for – not easy for a mobile phone or tablet when you may also have a watch, Fitbit, wireless earphones or any of the myriad devices that attach themselves to our phones.
While the Sandberg Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard is missing some pretty fundamental options its good points do still outweigh the bad. The tiny battery takes only a few hours to charge and even if you don’t remember to turn it off after each use you still get plenty of use out of it. I’ve been using it for around an hour to 3 hours at a time, a few times a day and leaving it turned on in between and I’m still yet to see the battery indicator after a week so even in an office environment that should translate to a minimum of 3-4 days of use between charges, and it may indeed be much longer than that.
Whether or not the Sandberg Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard gets my recommendation ultimately comes down to the price, since it’s a deciding factor for so many of our readers, and at £55 the keyboard sounds pretty expensive. There simply are loads of alternatives on Amazon from unknown brands, but trying to find a full-size Bluetooth keyboard with a touchpad has been a bit challenging, after a lot of searching I couldn’t really find anything that ticked all the buttons. Most are designed as tablet covers and the closest full size one from a recognisable brand, Logitech’s K400 Plus uses their Unifying receiver rather than standard Bluetooth. Even so with the K400 Plus available for around £20 less it really does depend on whether you need the full Bluetooth connection or if there’s an option for using their setup. I still think the Sandberg Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard is expensive, but it’s not wildly off the mark for what you get.
I would like to thank Sandburg for letting me review their Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard and look forward to future designs for this product.
I totally forgot to mention the 5 year warranty, which for any product is pretty amazing and shows that Sandberg have faith in what they are offering consumers.
Shortly after publishing the review I was notified that the keyboard is available on Amazon at just £37.08 + £5.40 UK delivery. Since price was an important factor in assessing this keyboard I thought it appropriate to make readers aware of this seller that I hadn’t seen at the time of writing. The keyboard does still have some drawbacks, but with the lower price, 5 year warranty, excellent battery, along with its versatility and comfort, I have reconsidered the possible awards that the Sandberg Bluetooth Touchpad Keyboard might have earned and awarded it our Gold Award.
- Very comfortable to type on
- large flat keycaps promote accuracy
- Great battery stamina with fast recharging
- Shortcut keys for Windows, Apple and Android
- Full size with large touchpad
- 5 year warranty
- No additional user (or device) profiles
- No backlighting
- No mouse keys