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Connecting your computer to a TV casts your action onto the big screen and savs you the hassle of getting a media streamer, or building a dedicated gaming PC. But controlling it from your couch can be annoying.
Instead of balancing a keyboard on one knee, and a touchpad on the other, the smarter solution is to get a mini Bluetooth keyboard. These ultra-compact keyboards look more like a smartphone turned on its side, but have physical keys. They have the same key layout as a full-sized keyboard, plus a small touchpad to control your computer’s mouse curser.
Because they connect to your devices via Bluetooth, these mini keyboards can connect to your computer, tablet, or smartphone without a USB dongle. Their touchpad will only work on computers, but this accessory can help reduce the amount of touch typing you do on mobile devices.
In any of these cases, a mini Bluetooth keyboard will give you a similar experience to using a full-sized one in a much smaller package.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Mini Bluetooth Keyboard
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right mini Bluetooth keyboard for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Size: We defined the term “mini” to mean under nine inches long, which is slightly longer than a smartphone held sideways. We chose this size because it allows you to comfortably hold the keyboard in both hands, and hit each key without straining your palm and fingers very much.
Battery: Every mini Bluetooth keyboard in our guide has a rechargeable battery. In most cases the manufacturer doesn’t give its exact battery life, but if you turn your keyboard off after every use, and charge it once a week, you should be fine. In some cases, the mini Bluetooth keyboard has backlit keys; using this feature will drain its battery more quickly though.
Compatibility: Bluetooth is an open wireless standard adopted by almost every modern gadget — from game consoles, to computers, to smart TVs — so you can connect any of these keyboards to most of the devices in your house. If you want to pair it with a particular electronic, be sure to read its manual to make sure it supports Bluetooth.
1. Rii i4 Mini Bluetooth Keyboard with Touchpad
This mini Bluetooth keyboard has earned the top spot in our guide because of its ultra-compact size, input methods, and extras.
At 6.1 inches long, its the smallest option in our guide, which means it’ll put the least amount of strain on your fingers as you type. It has the standard QWERTY layout that keyboards have had since the days of the typewriter, plus a “Fn” function key, which lets you use the number row to type symbols like “$, &, and ^.” Each key is backlit, which makes it easier to use this keyboard in the dark.
Volume adjustment keys are located on the top right, as well as shortcuts to refresh a page, and go back to your device’s home screen. The shortcut keys are limited compared to other keyboards in our guide, but that’s because the manufacturer designed it with three mouse-like inputs.
The touchpad in the middle can be used to control your computer’s cursor, and it has dedicated places where you can press to initiate a right and left mouse click. A wheel on the right side of the touchpad lets you scroll up and down a page, while a circular keypad to the left side lets you navigate up, down, left, and right. The keypad is what allows you to navigate between menu items on a media streaming site, or jump between text fields on a form.
This mini Bluetooth keyboard also does well on compatibility; the company says it can work with computers (PC, Mac, and Windows), smartphones and tablets (iOS and Android), Smart TVs, and game consoles (Xbox and PS4).
Pros: Despite its small size, this mini Bluetooth keyboard has a wide range of mouse-like inputs, a full array of backlit keys, and compatibility with all major electronic devices.
Cons: A limited selection of shortcut keys.
2. Fosmon Mini Bluetooth Keyboard
If you’re interested in a mini Bluetooth keyboard with all the functionality of the standard-sized keyboard you’re used to using, this is the best choice.
It’s 6.25 inches, which puts it in the middle of the pack in terms of size, and its angular shape resembles a game controller. In addition to standard QWERTY keys, this mini Bluetooth keyboard has a full series of shortcut keys on the top row. These keys are typically cut to save space, so they’re a welcome addition here.
Hitting these keys can adjust your device’s volume, screen brightness, and media controls (play/pause, next track, previous track). If you’re used to these creature comforts on your current keyboard, you’ll appreciate having them here, too. All of these keys are backlit, so you’ll be able to see them clearly in the dark.
This keyboard’s touchpad, mouse click buttons, and a dedicated keypad to scroll up and down pages are all located directly to the right of the keyboard. This means its mouse controls will be easy to reach, but keys on the right side of the keyboard may strain your thumb.
The manufacturer says you should expect to get 10 days of continuous use and 50 hours of standby time out of the keyboard per charge. That’s impressive, but again, using the keyboard at night with its backlights on will drain the battery much more quickly.
This mini Bluetooth keyboard supports the same range of smartphones, tablets, game consoles, media streamers, and computers as the other options in our guide. The company who makes it also says it can be connected to VR glasses, which is a nice bit of future proofing if you’re a hardcore gamer.
Pros: A complete row of shortcut keys let you adjust frequently used settings like brightness and volume with a single tap.
Cons: The touchpad’s location makes some keys difficult to reach.
3. iPazzPort Backlit Keyboard
If your primary need for a mini Bluetooth keyboard is gaming, this is the best choice in our guide. It’s 8.3 inches long, which makes it the biggest keyboard we’re recommending, but its curved design should still feel comfortable in your hands.
It features the traditional QWERTY layout, but separates its shortcut keys (volume, screen brightness, and media controls) into three areas: the function row, two rows of vertical keys on either side of the touchpad, and the circular keypad on the upper left-hand side of the keyboard. All of the keys are backlit, so you can see them easily at night.
This keyboard’s touchpad works a little differently than the ones we’ve seen on other mini Bluetooth keyboards. It has a dedicated area for scrolling up and down pages, but its mouse click buttons are on the far-left side of the keyboard. Splitting these functions may lead to some awkward hand movements if you’re on pages with a lot of links.
The design feature that differentiates this mini Bluetooth keyboard is that it has two circular keypads, which emulates the dual-joystick setup on a modern game controller. It’s great if you want to use this keyboard for gaming on a media streamer or web browser.
Keep in mind that this will only work with some devices — modern game consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 only allow specific third-party controllers to work, so you can’t use this keyboard to play games on those systems. Additionally, digital keypads do not have the same fidelity or level of control as a real analog stick on a dedicated gaming controller.
While its gaming feature can only be used in some cases, the keyboard can be paired to smartphones, tablets, and computers that run any popular, modern operating system. Think of the gaming option is a neat extra the other keyboards we recommend can’t pull off, and you’ll have the right expectations.
Pros: Its dual-keypad design allows you to use it as a basic game controller when paired to some devices.
Cons: Bigger than the other options in our guide. Its mouse click buttons are located in an awkward place.