|Purple Hudl2 in use in the keyboard case|
I've always been a fan of physical keyboards. I can type much faster than I can write - certainly for any sort of prolonged periods - and definitely faster than I can get the words that I want (with or without autocorrect interfering) with a touch keyboard of any sort on a phone or tablet. In particular, a soft keyboard in landscape hides so much of a phone or tablet's screen that it drives me mad. I've tried a number of portable bluetooth keyboards over the years, but have been mostly disappointed. My favourite is still the Freedom, which folds in half, and opens out as more-or-less a full-sized keyboard, but it's a bit of a faff unless you're sitting at a table with some serious typing to do.
Bluetooth keyboardsAs I've said, I've always liked my Freedom Pro folding bluetooth keyboard, ever since I got it. But, because it folds, it's really only suitable for use when you have a table or other hard surface to stand both the keyboard and your device on. I wanted something that would be a little more versatile and usable in slightly less perfect conditions.
I confess that I've been interested in the Logitech K480 for a little while - the slot at the back of the keyboard in which to stand your devices and the fact that it's switchable between three devices definitely appealed to me. In my case, the three candidates would be my Z3 Compact phone, my Hudl2 tablet and probably my Z-Ultra. However, I took my Hudl 2 along to John Lewis to try it out a few weeks ago, and found that
a) the Hudl in its folio case didn't really fit in the stand, and
b) I could get it to pair, but not to actually work (although the keyboard would pair and work quite happily with my phone).
So I put the idea on the back burner for a while.
Then this weekend I thought I'd see if I could find out whether anybody else had had problems with the Hudl2 and bluetooth keyboards, and Googled Hudl2 Bluetooth keyboard. I didn't find anyone else who'd had the same problem, but I did discover that Tesco sell a Hudl2 Bluetooth Keyboard case. It's £40, but as with all Hudl2 tablets and accessories, it's eligible for Tesco Clubcard boost. So off I went to my nearest Tesco Extra, armed with £20 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers to see what I thought of it.
|Mostly standard UK keyboard layout ...|
with a few "small keyboard" exceptions,
and an inexplicably red Enter key
The closure flap is slim, and uses magnets to hold it closed. It doesn't feel like it's in the way whether the case is closed or folded open but not in use, which is good - I'm not a fan of bulky flaps and closure tabs: they always seem to catch on things.
Set up and use
Initial set up is much the same as for any other bluetooth keyboard - put it in pairing mode (as described in the brief instruction leaflet), and search for devices from the Bluetooth settings on the tablet. Once you select the keyboard, you'll be prompted to type a 6 digit code on the keyboard and hit Enter. Job done.
How well does it work?The keyboard feel is surprisingly good, and I'm a bit picky about that, since I touch type. In my world, many a portable keyboard has been bought in optimism, and returned in disappointment. Portable keyboards that I get my hands on always get compared against my memory of the one on my old beloved Psion5 - frequently to their detriment. (I'm prepared to believe that after all this time, I may be looking at the Psion keyboard through rose tinted spectacles. However, I used to run my life on that thing a couple of decades ago, and touch-typing was key for me then too.)
The question mark is on the bottom row, out of position too, but that doesn't seem to bother me as much. It's a little frustrating that there is physically room on the keyboard to have added an extra key or two to the right of the P, L and M without compromising the raised stops on either side of the bottom row of keys, which could have avoided this non-standard layout.
On the other hand (see what I did there?), a very good point in its favour is the presence of a Shift key on both sides of the keyboard. I've tried so many keyboards that only have one on the left, like a soft keyboard, which makes proper touch typing impossible.
Your soft keyboard choice makes a differenceAfter a few anomalies whilst typing, I realised that some of the keyboard functionality depends on which Android on-screen keyboard you're using. One of the things that confused me at first was that when using Swype, suggested words still get offered, and using the left and right keys allows you to select one of the options offered ... sometimes! I haven't quite worked out under what circumstances this fails to work (and I'm guessing its not intentional), but it's a bit annoying that it's not entirely predictable. Having said that, you can always touch one of the suggested words on the screen to pick it. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of that is that you can't use the usual Shift-Left/Shift-Right keyboard shortcuts to select characters to be deleted, copied, etc. However, I found that if I switched to the standard Google keyboard, that particular problem went away - largely because so did the word suggestions! - and I could use Shift-Left and Shift-Right to select text as I'd expect. Maybe with different settings, Swype would behave differently too. When I switched to the TouchPal keyboard, things got even more funky, so it seems you get the hardware keyboard sort of overlaid on your screen keyboard of choice, which might make some functionality a bit unpredictable, depending on what provision for hardware keyboards your software keyboard has.
|In use in conjunction with Swype's word suggestions - pressing on the right arrow will select the next suggestion|