Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard review: Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars 3 user reviews

The Good Sturdy construction and thoughtful design make the Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard stand out.

The Bad It's a tad pricey at $79, and (no surprise) it lacks universal hot keys that work in non-Microsoft operating systems.

The Bottom Line The Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard offers one of the best-designed wireless Bluetooth keyboard and tablet-stand combinations on the market, especially when you pair it with a Windows 8 device.

8.3 Overall

Tablet owners, Microsoft has a new keyboard you should know about. Yes, it's meant for Windows 8, but the Bluetooth-based Wedge Mobile Keyboard will connect with any current operating system -- tablet, computer, or otherwise. The keyboard itself is sturdy and responsive, but just as useful is the rubber cover that doubles as a tablet stand. To be priced at $79 when it goes on sale in late September, it's one of the more expensive tablet keyboards. Still, a simple, versatile design for the stand, the strong keyboard, and an assortment of thoughtful touches make this keyboard one of the best tablet accessories to date, and an easy recommendation.

At roughly 10.25 inches long (almost 10.5 with the cover) and 4 inches deep, the Wedge Mobile Keyboard is one of the smallest tablet keyboards available, coming in under both the Logitech Tablet Keyboard and Apple's Wireless Keyboard. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard's suggested retail price is higher than that of either of those devices, which are $69, but street prices for all three should be considerably lower.

The Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard, at bottom, compared with the Logitech and Apple models.
The Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard, at bottom, compared with the Logitech and Apple models. Sarah Tew/CNET

Made of an aluminum base, plastic keys, and a rubber cover/tablet stand, the keyboard weighs exactly 1 pound with its two AAA batteries installed (there's no provision for rechargeable batteries, but if that's a concern, you can always invest in a set of third-party AAA rechargeables). Its size and weight already make the keyboard an easy travel companion, but Microsoft has gone the extra mile in terms of its on-the-road friendliness.

With the rubber cover on, the device automatically turns off, meaning you don't need to remember to hit a power button. The battery tray is also convenient. The batteries slide into one end of the rubber wedge on the bottom of the keyboard. Simply push the battery icon in and the tray slides out, but only far enough to slide in a pair of AAAs. Since you can't completely remove the tray, it can't fall off or get lost.

Don't let its small size fool you, the Wedge Mobile Keyboard feels great to type on.
Don't let its small size fool you; the Wedge Mobile Keyboard feels great to type on. Sarah Tew/CNET

The keyboard itself has shallow, tapered keys with a 17.5mm key pitch, close to that of a full-size desktop keyboard (typically 18mm to 19mm). Typing on the Wedge Mobile Keyboard simply feels right; the keys have satisfying bounciness without feeling mushy. The biggest size sacrifices come with the supersmall arrow keys and the function row keys. There is also no number pad, but you do get a series of four Windows 8-specific hot keys, Search, Share, Devices, and Settings, each mapped to a "charm" icon function in Microsoft's new operating system (I'll let our review of the most recent Windows 8 build provide the full background).

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