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Monday, May 27, 2024

Best Travel Keyboard 2023

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Being constantly on the go can leave you stuck with a tech setup that's less than ideal. You may not always get a full desk to work on, and odds are good that you won't be bringing along your best keyboard, mouse, and monitor. If you're lucky, you'll at least have a laptop that can give you decent input options, but even that might not be comfortable for long work sessions. And only taking a tablet on a trip almost requires you to bring along a keyboard if you plan to get any work done. Fortunately, a good travel keyboard can help in these situations.

Since the way you travel and what you travel with can vary, finding the right keyboard to work for you may be tricky. It could be that the most portable option proves best for you, especially if you're constantly looking for extra room in your luggage for long trips. Maybe you need something wireless and slightly smaller than your full-size keyboard to avoid cables that can snag and tangle in your backpack. Whether you want a travel keyboard that folds up or just stays low profile, or you need one that can connect to your gaming PC, tablet, and smartphone, we've found a capable option to fit your needs.

TL;DR – These are the Best Travel Keyboards:

1. Logitech K585

Best Travel Keyboard

Logitech K585Logitech K585 This compact full-size keyboard with 12 FN keys, a number pad, and an integrated slot to hold your phone or tablet can connect to your device via Bluetooth or USB dongle.

Logitech continues to excel at making keyboards, which extends to the travel space, so you know you’re getting a reliable, well-built peripheral for on-the-go. The K585 exemplifies that expertise, delivering an impressively compact design under an inch at its thickest point and weighing slightly over a pound. However, it’s still a full-size option with 12 FN keys, a number pad, and even a handy integrated slot to hold your phone or tablet. Those scissor keys are pretty quiet, though they are slightly cramped and feel a bit mushy, which may take some getting used to.

The Logitech K585 is ready for use with a wide variety of devices, coming with a Logitech Unifying Receiver USB dongle for a lag-free connection and an option to connect over Bluetooth LE. You can even pair it with two devices simultaneously, letting you use dedicated keys on the keyboard to seamlessly switch from typing on your laptop to your phone and back. Of course, solid battery life is essential in a wireless keyboard, and this option is not rechargeable, but the two AAA batteries should last about two years.

2. Omoton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard

Best Budget Travel Keyboard

Omoton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth KeyboardOmoton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard Easily connecting to your device over Bluetooth, this slim, affordable option features responsive scissor keys, though there’s no num pad.

Thin, light, and fantastically affordable, what’s there not to love about the Omoton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard? It’s an easy option for the traveler on a budget, as it costs $20 and provides most of the keys you’ll need, though it skips some of the extras to stay compact. You still get that QWERTY layout with hot keys like music control and brightness, only you will miss out on a num pad. And it uses responsive scissor keys that look pretty snazzy, mimicking the standard Apple white aesthetics.

The Omoton Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard doesn’t need any wires to pair with your devices, instead opting for Bluetooth. Once you’re connected, you’ll find the keyboard sits at an ergonomic angle, which feels good on your wrists. That angle is due to the pair of AAA batteries on the bottom, giving you about a month or so typing between battery changes. Omoton also provides several different color options, so you can travel in style even when you’re traveling light.

3. iClever BK05 Bluetooth Keyboard

Best Foldable Travel Keyboard

iClever BK05 Bluetooth KeyboardiClever BK05 Bluetooth Keyboard You can fold this keyboard for extra portability while a sturdy aluminum frame ensures safe stowing.

Foldability makes a keyboard significantly more portable, and the iClever BK05 Bluetooth Keyboard has a convenient trifold design. You can pack this compact, durable keyboard just about anywhere, so it’s ready to get typing from wherever. It keeps a small footprint by offering the basic QWERTY layout, with the left and right sections folding into the middle. Essentially, cutting the keyboard in half when not in use. However, a balance stand locks the keyboard in place when you’re ready to mash some keys. And it is built onto an aluminum case for safe stowing while still weighing under a pound.

iClever makes it easy to get this keyboard connected to your computer, phone, and tablet with multidevice Bluetooth or a USB-wired connection. There’s even RGB backlighting thrown in, so you can easily see the keys in an airplane cabin or dimly lit room. When the backlight is off, the 300-hour runtime can last you weeks, and you just need to plug in a USB to charge it back up. The keyboard also automatically turns off when folded to ensure you don’t accidentally drain the battery.

4. Logitech K480 Wireless Multi-Device Keyboard

Best Travel Keyboard for Tablets

Logitech K480 Wireless Multi-Device KeyboardLogitech K480 Wireless Multi-Device Keyboard An integrated slot is ready to hold a tablet or phone while pairing up to three devices at once over Bluetooth and swapping between them is easy using a dial on the keyboard.

If you’re searching for the perfect companion to make typing a breeze on your new tablet, look no further than the Logitech K480 Wireless Multi-Device Keyboard. This sleek, compact little number offers a quality build with a few extra perks. Our favorite feature is the integrated cradle for you to slot in a phone, tablet, or both, holding them at an ideal angle for typing and eliminating the need to prop up the device somewhere else. The keys themselves tote a space-saving layout while still being easy to type on. And the keyboard is also durable, so it can withstand an occasional spill or drop when you’re toting it along.

Bluetooth makes it easy to connect the Logitech K480 to all your devices. You can even have your tablet, laptop, and phone all paired to the device at the same time, and by simply turning a dial on the keyboard, you can switch between them. Flow technology also makes it easy to use the keyboard with a compatible mouse to share data between different computers. Battery life shouldn’t be much of a concern either, as the two AAA batteries will last about two years with moderate use.

5. Happy Hacking HHKB Professional Hybrid

Best Mechanical Travel Keyboard

Happy Hacking HHKB Professional HybridHappy Hacking HHKB Professional Hybrid Offering Topre key switches for more travel distance and reliability, this mechanical keyboard still works for on the go with its compact build and multiple connectivity options.

Mechanical keyboards may not be for everyone, as they’re not as portable as other types of keyboards. And the Happy Hacking HHKB Professional Hybrid delivers a unique typing and navigating experience that may attract even fewer people. It offers up Topre key switches, which some say are the best you can get. The keys offer a lot more travel than typical portable keyboards, but they also aren’t so flat, giving you a bit more ergonomics. This keyboard has also shifted some keys around and swapped the positions to make more frequently used keys easier to press, which can help you speed up while avoiding strains.

However, where the HHKB Professional Hybrid does step up its portability game is in its connectivity options, as it supports both a USB-C wired connection as well as a Bluetooth connection for up to four devices. And compared to other mechanical keyboards, this one manages to remain relatively lightweight at slightly over a pound.

6. Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch TV Keyboard

Best Touchpad Keyboard

Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch TV KeyboardLogitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch TV Keyboard This keyboard maintains a small footprint and low profile despite features like a touchpad, media controls, and a long-lasting rechargeable battery.

This option isn’t only a portable keyboard — it’s just as comfortable on the sofa as on the road. That’s because the K400 Plus has an integrated touchpad and media controls, which makes it great for controlling your media PC. The touchpad is 3-by-2 inches and is a solid substitute for a mouse when the keyboard is resting in your lap. Even with that convenient touchpad, the keyboard manages a small footprint with low-profile, responsive keys and a lightweight build.

Like many Logitech keyboards, this model uses a unified USB controller for a lag-free, seamless connection to devices within 33 feet. Lacking Bluetooth, you can’t control iOS or Android phones, but it works great with other Windows, Mac, Android, and Chrome devices that offer a USB port. It also rocks an 18-month battery life, so you’ll rarely worry about charging the K400 Plus.

7. Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard

Best Compact Travel Keyboard

Microsoft Designer Compact KeyboardMicrosoft Designer Compact Keyboard Running on four watch batteries that should last up to three years helps this ultra-compact keyboard keep a thin form factor.

When you're traveling, sometimes you just want the slimmest, most compact option and don't want to fuss with extra little doodads like USB dongles that can easily get lost and turn your travel keyboard into a lump of extra baggage. The Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard will make sure those woes are avoided. It's a sleek package, measuring less than an inch thick, and most of the keyboard is even thinner than that, as there's only a small raised section at the back to give the keyboard a little ergonomic tilt.

The Microsoft Designer Compact Keyboard uses Bluetooth LE 5.0 to pair with up to three devices at once, and you can seamlessly swap between them using a dedicated key. The keyboard also includes handy shortcuts for inserting emojis and capturing screen snippets, along with all the other necessary keys in an optimized layout for speedy typing. And as simple as it may seem, having an actual power switch on a keyboard that's likely to go in and out of a lot of bags can make a big difference in stretching the battery life. Though you do get up to three years of battery life using just a set of four watch-style CR2032 batteries.

8. Microsoft Surface Keyboard

Best Full-Size Travel Keyboard

Microsoft Surface KeyboardMicrosoft Surface Keyboard A full-size keyboard with 110 well-spaced, responsive keys that still manages a slim profile for extra portability.

As the name suggests, the Microsoft Surface Keyboard intends to let you turn a Surface tablet into a full PC with the addition of a portable keyboard. On that front, it’s likely everything you could ask for; it is a full-size keyboard that offers a desktop-like feel in a form factor that’s compact enough to tote along with you. You get 110 responsive, perfectly spaced keys on a keyboard with a slight tilt for improved typing speed and accuracy.

Even with Surface in the name, this Microsoft keyboard works with a variety of other devices, including Macs and Androids, as it uses Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and has an impressive 50-foot wireless range. You don’t get a rechargeable battery with this pick, but it runs on a couple of AAA batteries for about a year, so you’ll rarely need to worry about it dying.

9. Logitech MX Mechanical Mini

Best Multi-Device Travel Keyboard

Logitech MX Mechanical Mini Logitech MX Mechanical Mini The compact but sturdy mechanical keyboard connects to up to three devices simultaneously over Bluetooth and a USB-C dongle with a dedicated Fn key to switch between them.

The Logitech MX Mechanical Mini proves to be a capable little keyboard with a sturdy build. It’s compatible with a wide array of devices using Bluetooth or a USB receiver. You can even pair with three devices and quickly cycle between them on the keyboard — handy if you’re working on a laptop and tablet at the same time. Backlighting is on board for easy visibility in the dark, and the keyboard can run for 15 days with backlighting enabled or an impressive 40 weeks with the lights off. You won’t need to carry fresh batteries either, as it’s rechargeable over a USB-C connection.

This compact typing tool is built with tactile mechanical keys that remain low profile for quality performance and excellent ergonomics. The key switches are super quiet, ensuring you don’t bother those around you, making the keyboard perfect for use around the office or during a flight. However, if you prefer a more clicky response or a smoother typing experience, those linear or clicky switch options are also available.

10. Seenda Ultra Thin Low Profile Rechargeable Keyboard and Mouse

Best Portable Mouse and Keyboard Combo

Seenda Ultra Thin Low Profile Rechargeable Keyboard and MouseSeenda Ultra Thin Low Profile Rechargeable Keyboard and Mouse This mouse and keyboard combo both connect wirelessly using the same single USB receiver, and the keyboard offers a full num pad despite its small size while the mouse keeps a slim profile.

When you’re on the go with a mouse and a keyboard, you don’t want to fuss with multiple dongles or cables to get your connection. The Seenda combo package makes connecting your keyboard and mouse extra simple, as they both can connect wirelessly using the same lag-free USB receiver. When not in use, that USB receiver handily stows away in a compartment on the underside of the mouse, helping you avoid losing it while you’re on the go.

Both Seenda’s thin keyboard and low-profile mouse are compact and durable, making them perfect on-the-go partners. The keyboard provides handy scissor switches and even includes a number pad despite its small size, while its aluminum construction helps the keyboard hold up during rougher travels. The mouse has super smooth tracking and quiet clicks, so you will never disturb those around you. The batteries on each are good for any vacation or work trip, as they’re made for weeks of operation and can recharge using a micro USB cable.

What to Look for in a Travel Keyboard

Keyboards are very personal devices; you want one that’s comfortable and ergonomic to minimize injuries like repetitive stress and laid out in a way that keeps your typing errors to a minimum. Travel keyboards can be especially challenging because a lot of the ergonomics important on the desktop – like angled keyboards, sculpted keys, and generous intra-key spacing – often go out the window in an effort to make them as portable as possible. It’s always a good idea to try out a keyboard before you commit to it if possible.

All travel keyboards are wireless, but not all wireless is the same. Some keyboards rely on 2.4GHz USB adapters, which means that phones and tablets won’t work with those models. But for more universal Bluetooth models, you may want to look for ones that can pair with up to three devices, letting you quickly switch between your PC, phone, and tablet.

Then there’s the battery. You’ll find an enormous range of battery performance among keyboards. More convenient models will turn on and off automatically; if you need to remember to slide a power switch manually, you’ll inevitably forget and drain the battery between trips. You also get rechargeable options or ones requiring separate batteries. Both offer a decent amount juice between charges or changing batteries for the most part.

Most keyboards use some variety of membrane keys, but even so, the feel and travel of the keys can make a big difference. A few travel keyboards are mechanical, and these are great for gamers and touch typists. But they’re noisy and make the keyboard both bigger and heavier.

Finally, the single most obvious differentiator: form factor. Some keyboards fold in half or into thirds. Others come with integrated covers for protection, or are built into a folio cover to protect your tablet screen. There are compact 60% keyboards and some that are close to full size. Choose the one that suits how you travel, what kind of travel bag you use, and how you plan to use your keyboard. If you need a larger keyboard with media controls or programmable function keys, you probably won’t want a tiny fold-up keyboard.

Check out next: Best Portable Chargers

Dave Johnson has been writing about gaming and tech since the days of the Palm Pilot. See him shout into the Twitter void @davejoh

Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian.

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