The biggest feature pushed by the JLAB Go Wireless Keyboard is the ease of connection. With so many devices and operating systems out there, it seems fairly smart to make a device that is easy to connect. I don’t know if this thing is a little overkill though. According to the box, it can connect wirelessly to 3 devices and switch between them easily. Either through Bluetooth 1.0 and 2.0, or the included 2.4.GHz USB dongle, all of which are a decent choice. Finally, it can switch between the Windows, iOS/Mac, Android and Chrome OS systems fairly easily. All apparently doable through a selection of shortcut keys available on the keyboard. Seems like a pretty overly-capable little keyboard.
A well-packaged box
Housed in a well-designed cardboard box when bought off the shelf, it is easy to unbox. Two seals need to be broken, and two tabs need to be unfastened. After this, the top section of the box can be lifted up. Inside the appealing enough box, the JLAB Go Keyboard is nestled in some blue tissue paper. This is a big plus for me. It’s fantastic to see that companies are being conscientious with their packaging. Aside from the device itself, there isn’t anything non-recyclable inside.
Study and compact
Measuring just 28.5 x 13cm with the highest part of the board standing at just 2.5cm, this thing is pretty discrete. I feel like a lot of these portable wireless keyboards are too compact to be usable. Not this one though. It took me a short amount of time to get comfortable with the key layout, with most of the keys where they should be. The space bar is a little short for my liking and sometimes I feel like my fingers were falling over themselves trying to press everything but it isn’t a terrible keyboard to type on. There is some strangeness going on with the layout due to the need to accommodate several different devices, with some of the keys being overladen with functions. But most everything is where it should be.
Build quality is decent, with slightly more flex than I was comfortable with when tested. All the keys and surrounding areas are made from matt black plastic, along with the back. There is also a nice teal variation for those who like to live a pretty wild life. No adjustable feet are available but there is a raised area on the back to help with ergonomics. The raised area also doubles as the battery compartment. With no internal battery, the device relies on two AAA batteries. One gripe I have is the top section of the front area. The kind of plastic used here makes it very easy to leave fingerprint marks.
Plenty of bells and whistles
This is mainly due to the buttons and knobs across the top. From left to right is the one/off switch, the colour indicator, the connection toggle and the media knob. More on all of those shortly. The on/off switch is easy to understand, just a very simple slider rather than a button. Always a fan of physical sliders. The connection button needs some more explaining though.
By quickly pressing the button, it cycles through three preferred options. Purple means the 2.4 GHz wireless connection. Blue is Bluetooth 1 and Yellow is Bluetooth 2. Once selected, the button can be pressed and held to initiate pairing mode. The device is then pairable. As advertised, it is a very simple and quick way to get going. Although I wasn’t out-right timing, I would estimate about a 2-minute setup. The only problem with this is after clicking and pressing and holding, my prints are all over that aforementioned shiny plastic. I would much rather have the matt black material.
Another feature of the JLAB that I’ve hardly mentioned is the media knob. This is a solid little rotating bit of plastic on the top right of the keyboard. It spins smoothly for volume manipulation and can be pressed slightly for play/pause functionality. Even though I find it extremely fun to use, is it really necessary? It doesn’t replace the function keys. In addition, it adds a single centimetre of height above the main body of the keyboard which is kind of annoying. It does offer a great way to advertise the JLAB logo though. Maybe that’s the most important use it has.
A specific use case
I bought the JLAB Go Wireless Keyboard for one specific reason. To pair with my tablet that I use on the go for writing when I have the space for a keyboard. And so far, it fits that specific use case extremely well. It doesn’t come with an included trackpad or mouse, something some users may miss. A version with a mouse does exist, so maybe I should have bought that one.
Whilst the inclusion of the dongle is a valid addition, the main draw was the Bluetooth connections. Having tested both the 1.0 and 2.0 versions, I found the response time when tapping the keys to be very lacklustre on the 1.0 version at best. This ended up disrupting the flow of my writing and made me switch to 2.0 extremely fast.
Overall, the JLAB Go Wireless Keyboard is one of the best compact wireless keyboards I’ve used. It is a slick minimal design, with a slight case of feature creep. Weight definitely took priority over build quality here. I will be getting a protective case for when it is resting in my bag. But for a £20 wireless keyboard with Bluetooth capabilities, I feel like I could have done a lot worse.
And yes, I have used the keyboard to write out this entire review. If you want to pick one up yourself please consider buying one through my Amazon Affiliate link.