The only way to test a keyboard is to use it! So that’s what I did, for a period of about three weeks. I used the Laptop Pro wherever possible, including on the train for writing up articles and for gaming at home. I examined the keyboard with respect to three main factors – gaming, writing and portability.
As this is a gaming-focused site, we’ll begin here. I found the Laptop Pro to be quite fine for gaming, as long as one’s Bluetooth adapter is of a good standard. My motherboard includes Bluetooth, but for some reason it is absolutely terrible – the range is about a foot, and anything outside of this encounters frequent errors. I ran into this while helping to test a Bluetooth headset, and it happened again for the Laptop Pro. Once I replaced the anaemic onboard unit with a USB dongle, all was well – key presses were consistently recognised and there wasn’t any discernible lag compared to a wired keyboard.
The mechanical switches are both quiet and tactile, with a noticeable bump as the switch actuates. This made it good for all manner of games – I tried the keyboard with success on World of Tanks, Saint’s Row The Third, Counter-Strike Global Offensive and Total War Rome II. While if I was playing competitively I would probably want the peace of mind of a wired keyboard, the Laptop Pro surprised me by being a genuinely capable gaming keyboard.
Again, my initial impressions were hampered by the faulty Bluetooth module. Once this was rectified, I found typing quite pleasurable. No matter if I was on a train using an Android tablet or at home, I was glad for the relative silence of the keys – the tempered report of the switches were actually quite lovely, with my girlfriend telling me it reminded her of a rain storm. I typed the entirety of this review (as well as a number of other pieces) on the keyboard and was overall impressed. While from time to time I noticed errors due to the Bluetooth connection, these were far less frequent than my own typos and ultimately didn’t make me want to switch back to a wired keyboard. The only real annoyance was the Mac-centric layout, which was technically fine for a PC and Android but sometimes caused a bit of confusion. If I were on a Mac or iPad though, I’d certainly be glad to have use of the extra shortcut keys and so forth. Still, the overall writing experience was quite pleasant.
Here my impressions of the Laptop Pro are a little more mixed. While the keyboard is indeed lighter than many of my other mechanical keyboards, it was still considerably heavier than the Apple Wireless Keyboard – and even some of my smallest 60% size mechanicals, which boasted the same real mechanical switches and had a more intuitive layout.
Where the Laptop Pro excels therefore is not weight and size, but ease of use. With one exception (the forthcoming Filco Minila Air), all of these keyboards require a chunky adapter to connect to an Android smartphone or tablet. This is certainly possible to take with you, but it’s a bit fiddly. By contrast, the Bluetooth connection of the Laptop Pro was happily wireless and didn’t require me to remember that USB OTG cable.