A keyboard is a keyboard, right? I mean, in the grand scheme of things, we’ve all become pretty accustom to using a keyboard. Whether its on a laptop, desktop, on a screen, or as part of a folio case, the ubiquitous keyboard is a part of everyday life for many of us. So, when one comes out that claims to be a bit unique, there needs to be a good reason to substantiate that claim.
Dell’s new wireless Chromebook keyboard does just that. Sure, nothing about the appearance of this keyboard is shocking or ground-breaking, but there is something profoundly different about this keyboard when compared with most wireless keyboards: the actual keys on its top. Though Chromebooks are really beginning to come into their own, the Chrome OS keyboard is still largely found only on Chromebooks. Wireless accessory makers have not been quick to build Chrome OS-specific keyboards apart from Logitech’s K580 and Brydge’s C-Type. In a market of hundreds of wireless keyboards from countless manufacturers, Chrome-specific variations are clearly the minority.
That’s why it’s refreshing to see Dell roll this keyboard out. Again, there’s not much out of the ordinary here except the key layout. The key travel is great, the click feels solid, and I spent quite a few days using it with no issues whatsoever in the accuracy department. The addition of the number pad is nice and using the keyboard felt completely natural with all the Chrome OS function keys clearly labeled up top. The unit is solid and enjoyable to use in every way.
The black plastic and aluminum feel premium and won’t stand out on a desk and the included dongle is small and works as expected. My only real gripes here are the lack of key backlighting and the fact that there is nowhere on the device to store that dongle. This isn’t a Logitech universal adapter, so if you lose it, I’m not sure exactly how you would go about replacing it. This keyboard isn’t standard Bluetooth, either, so there’s no backup in the event that you misplace the dongle.
At roughly $50 (on sale for $43 as I’m writing this) over on Dell’s website, I’d say if you want a fantastic keyboard for a Chrome OS system, this is a no-brainer. While the Logitech K580 does offer more functionality, the build is definitely cheaper and the typing experience on the Dell is far better. If you need a knock around keyboard to throw in a bag and you don’t care about the typing experience, there are other options for sure. If you want a solid keyboard with Chrome OS keys and great build quality, this could easily be the one for you.