And here we have the first sentence typed on my new Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio by HTC. First, thoughts: the keyboard is a bit small for my hands at first. But I quickly got used to it. That being said, the keyboard is much, much better than the Nexus 9’s native keyboard or the free SwiftKey keyboard app.
The set up is simple, even for someone like myself, who has zero experience with Bluetooth. Seriously, as simple as it seems, Bluetooth has often confused me. Especially when I tried to stream Pandora from my phone to my living room surround sound system via bluetooth. It worked for five minutes, then quit. No clue what happened and I couldn’t get it back. However, my lack of experience was no match for the ease of linking the Nexus to the keyboard.
The buttons are flat, but raised from the case. So those who want to feel each and every key, this is for you. The keyboard is standard fare. HTC added in an emoji button to both sides of the space bar. It’s all the ones available through Google Hangouts. Nothing super special. The only issue I have with the physical keyboard is a lack of caps lock and the apostrophe key could be slightly bigger for my fat fingers.
Since the Keyboard Filo is connected to the Nexus 9 using only magnets, it’s not the sturdiest set up. The combination is fine if you’re at a desk, table or kitchen counter, but the tablet tends to bounce a bit when resting on your lap. If you’re planning on a lot of couch or Lazy Boy typing, a laptop would be better suited for couch typing.
Navigation with the keyboard is possible. Instead of home, back or carousel buttons, the keyboard uses button combinations. That’s well and good, but it’s easier the icons on the Nexus’ touch screen. They’re right there. Might as well use them.
As I mentioned above, the HTC Keyboard Filo attaches to the Nexus 9 metal casing with magnets. Two on the back for support and one just above the numbers on the keyboard, acting as an anchor and keeping that rascal from sliding all over the place.
However, when you close it, the keys are very close the touch screen. The keyboard does have a small, hard plastic lip on its perimeter. That may keep the keys from causing any problems. I doubt that lip would do much when the tablet is being jostled around in a book bag or purse
If this is going to be your every-day Nexus 9 case, I’d recommend putting a soft cloth between the two or shell out for a screen protector. Again, I don’t know if this is an issue at all. But when you shell out the $$ for the tablet and case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. After a day of use, I haven’t noticed anything…yet.
The retail price of $130 bucks is a bit steep. Combined with the $499 price tag for the tablet, you’re paying more for less. Chromebooks and Window laptops, both with more power and come with a keyboard, would be easier on your bank account. However, if your in laws or family gave you a decent amount of Amazon or Best Buy gift cards, then the Nexus 9 keyboard might be more palatable. It depends on where your financial threshold is.
Honestly, if Amazon wasn’t running a sale and I didn’t have the gift cards, I would be scoping Ebay or Craigslist for a used one. The keyboard is nice to have, but it’s not worth the full asking price.