Hands-on review: Penclic KB3 Bluetooth wireless keyboard
Image credit: Penclic SE
Cut the cord and carry your keyboard with you, with the Penclic KB3 Bluetooth wireless keyboard for Mac, iOS, Windows and Android.
Wires mean restrictions. We consumers increasingly dislike being tied down or tethered, so if you can make something wireless, yes please, we want to roam free. Swedish consumer tech company Penclic has taken this wire-free philosophy and put it at the heart of its product range, offering a variety of Bluetooth computer peripherals.
We tested the KB3 Bluetooth keyboard, the company’s first such offering. It supports Apple’s macOS and iOS, Windows PCs and Android devices. You can also pair it with multiple devices, so you’re able to start work at home or in the office on a desktop or laptop computer, then take the KB3 on the road to continue your work.
While Bluetooth is the primary appeal of the KB3, if you want to save battery life (which, in our months of testing, seems to last for weeks at a time between charges anyway), you can also directly connect the keyboard via the same supplied micro USB cable that recharges the internal Lithium-polymer 250mA-capacity battery.
The Herculean battery life is aided by the fact that the keyboard automatically enters sleep mode after being idle for thirty minutes, so there’s no need to fiddle with the on/off toggle switch on the back edge of the device every time you walk away from your desk. When stashing it in your bag, you might choose to manually turn it off, but most of the time leaving it to sleep is perfect.
Pairing was easy: turn it on for the first time and a blue light indicates that it is searching for a Bluetooth 3.0-compatible host. Once successfully paired, you should never have to do this again. The KB3 has a wireless reach of up to 10m, so you can work at some distance from your screen or carry the keyboard with you to the sofa, for example, so you can continue to control the operation of applications.
The modest size of the keyboard (280 mm x 115.5 mm) is about more than just making it small, light (284g) and easy to carry; it is also designed to enable users to bring their mouse, trackpad or pointing device closer to the keyboard for a more comfortable working position, helping to reduce fatigue and issues arising from repetitive strain injuries (RSI). All of Penclic’s products are designed with the ergonomic requirements of the human body in mind, in fact.
The build quality of the KB3 keyboard is not throwaway. Its minimal footprint has approximately the same dimensions as a 13” laptop keyboard or an iPad Pro, with an aluminium metal frame that imparts a reassuring sense of solidity. The plastic keys themselves have a rounded, low profile and their travel is quiet and responsive. We rarely had to think twice about striking the right key in fast typing and the special functions specific to one OS - e.g. a Mac - are clearly indicated by a different colour printed on the relevant key.
Common OS shortcuts are supported; you just have to remember which Penclic key corresponds to its twin Apple key. This is a (very) nice touch. If you’re familiar with a certain keyboard set-up - e.g. the differences between a Mac and and a PC, in terms of where certain special characters can be found, such as the hashtag, and how you access them with a certain key combination or key strokes - the KB3 obliges and honours established conventions. Swapping between different computers with a single keyboard makes for an effortless transition each time. This is truly a renaissance keyboard, embracing multiple platforms equally.
The KB3 also embraces a wide gamut of colour preference and laptop materials, coming as it does in gold, pink, black (the version tested here) and grey. The keyboards are identical in operation and functionality, regardless of colour, naturally: this is purely a question of personal taste.
With the world of work becoming increasingly peripatetic, the ability to effortlessly carry our tools with us and set ourselves up to work any time, any place, anywhere is becoming a necessity. A portable, professional, wireless keyboard is a core weapon in the mobile worker’s arsenal and the KB3 is one of the strongest all-rounders we’ve encountered. There may be cheaper alternatives in the portable, wireless keyboard sphere, but there’s not many better.
Available from Penclic.se for £79.99