Keyboards have taken many forms throughout the years. Some have become more lightweight and portable, while others have focused on delivering better quality and durability. One unique keyboard design that has been seeing moderate success is roll-up keyboards.
Roll-up keyboards are portable keyboards that are meant to be connected with other portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. What makes these keyboards special is their ability to be rolled up like a piece of paper. This easily makes them more portable than slim and lightweight Bluetooth keyboards.
Of course, since roll-up keyboards have a non-traditional design, many users are wondering whether or not they are good and reliable. In this article, we will be tackling everything that potential buyers will need to know about these keyboards.
We will go through all the basics as well as the durability of these keyboards. We will also be comparing them to more traditional Bluetooth portable keyboards to see how they stack up.
Quick Introduction to Roll-up Keyboards
A roll-up keyboard is a type of keyboard that is mainly used for handheld or portable devices, like cellular phones, personal data assistants, and tablets. Roll-up keyboards are used as an alternative or another way of operating a virtual keyboard on a cellular phone or gadget. The keyboard was named after its ability to be rolled up like a piece of paper.
Roll-up keyboards are usually made from flexible and pliable plastic materials. The roll-up keyboard is also known for being easily portable; it can be easily stored in a bag, a briefcase, portfolio, and other types of portable storage. Roll-up keyboards are also fairly cheap and inexpensive to sustain.
The size of the roll-up keyboard is exactly like the size of a regular or standard keyboard, which makes it easier to operate for people who are used to operating a regular computer keyboard. The roll-up keyboard usually has all the keys present in the standard keyboard.
Roll-up keyboards are also well suited to be paired with various handheld devices, such as smartphones, tablets, etc. To pair the roll-up keyboard to a device, the user must have a regular USB connector port for their device and just connect their device with the keyboard through the use of the USB connector.
The roll-up keyboard is somewhat considered to be waterproof or liquid-proof. This is due to the plastic materials used for its covering or coating. All the keys and the whole body of the roll-up keyboard are covered in plastic or rubber, which makes it less susceptible to liquids.
Some of the roll-up keyboards that were manufactured can also be used on any smooth surface because of the collapsible cradle that was added to it. With the collapsible cradle, there is no need for the user to use a table. All he or she needs is a flat surface to work on.
Where are Roll-up Keyboards Used?
Just as previously stated, roll-up keyboards are usually used or connected to handheld devices like cellular phones, tablets, and personal data assistants. The roll-up keyboard is connected to the handheld device through the USB connector. Roll-up keyboards are mainly used as an alternative or a proxy for a stylus pen to operate a virtual keyboard.
Roll-up keyboards can also be used for computers and laptops but mostly for laptops. They are commonly used with laptops because both devices are easily portable. The user can take the laptop and the roll-up keyboard anywhere and just find a spot to work on.
Some of the laptop users prefer to use another keyboard even though their laptop device has a built-in keyboard because of the fear of easily wearing out their pristine laptop. Some of the users also work in a messy environment, which makes their keyboards susceptible to liquid spills, but with the roll-up keyboard, they don’t have to worry about the liquid spills. On the other hand, the roll-up keyboard, just like any other keyboard, is susceptible to dirt, dust, and hair, which can damage the keyboard.
How Durable are Roll-up Keyboards?
Roll-up keyboards are considered to be somewhat durable. As previously stated, roll-up computer keyboards are usually made and covered with plastic, rubber, or silicone materials, which makes them impervious or resistant to liquid spills. However, due to its silicone and rubber covering, it tends to draw dirt, hair, and dust in the keyboard.
Some of the roll-up keyboards are also prone to wearing down when used often, which questions the durability of the roll-up keyboard. Another problem with the roll-up keyboard is that when it is rolled too tightly, the internal membrane circuit of the roll-up keyboard may be damaged.
To sum it up, the durability of the roll-up keyboard is somewhat questionable. It is durable because, unlike the other type of keyboards, it can withstand or resist liquid spills. However, it is also susceptible to hair and dust particles which can damage the keyboard. Furthermore, some models of the roll-up keyboard are easily worn down when used frequently, which makes the durability of the roll-up keyboard questionable.
Roll up Keyboards vs. Bluetooth Keyboards
Just like the roll-up keyboard, Bluetooth keyboards are a type of keyboard that is used to connect or tether to a cellular phone, a laptop, or a personal data assistant. The roll-up keyboard uses a USB connector to connect to different devices. The Bluetooth keyboard, however, is a wireless keyboard that can connect to different devices through a wireless receiver.
The Bluetooth keyboard is powered by batteries, which means that the user should change the batteries of a Bluetooth keyboard now and then for continued usage. The roll-up keyboard, on the other hand, does not require a battery to function; all it needs is a USB connector to function.
Some modern Bluetooth keyboards have mechanical key switches that can cater to the needs of a gaming user. These types of Bluetooth keyboards are very responsive and smooth to use. This is why some Bluetooth keyboards are considered to be good for the gaming community.
The roll-up keyboard, on the other hand, tends to have a mushy feeling when being used, which is not preferred by the gaming community. The responsiveness of the roll-up keyboard is also frowned upon by some users because they feel that you need to specifically press the center of the keys in a roll-up keyboard for it to register a keypress. To sum it up, both the roll-up keyboard and the Bluetooth keyboard are primarily used to connect to a cellular phone, a laptop, and a personal data assistant. The two, however, differ in so many aspects.
Should You Use Roll-up Keyboards?
The answer to this question depends on what kind of user you are. If you prioritize portability over everything else, then roll-up keyboards are a no-brainer. However, for those looking for a more satisfying typing experience or better build quality, then there are plenty of other keyboards available in the market.
Roll-Up Keyboard Advantages
The roll-up keyboard is also very suitable for people who use handheld devices such as cellular phones, tablets, and other devices. If the user is someone that is used to using a regular keyboard and not used to using a stylus pen, then the roll-up keyboard can easily cater to their needs.
Roll-up keyboards are also advisable to use if the user is someone who works in a messy environment. The roll-up keyboard is good for a messy environment because it is liquid proof, and some of the models are even washable. With this feature, the user can easily clean their keyboard, and they can worry less about liquids like water and coffee spilling on their keyboard and destroying it.
Roll-up keyboards are also good for people who have a low wpm or words per minute and for people who use two fingers for typing. The roll-up keyboard is good for users like them because their typing speed won’t be affected by the roll-up keyboard.
Roll-Up Keyboard Disadvantages
On the flip side, the roll-up keyboard is not advisable for people who do not like the mushy feeling when pressing a key. The roll-up keyboard is also not suitable for people who are used to mechanical keyboards because they are not responsive in comparison to the mechanical keyboard.
Frequent use of the roll-up keyboard can also easily wear down the keyboard, which means that it is not that durable in comparison to other types of keyboards. The roll-up keyboard is also not recommended for people with high wpm or words per minute. It is not advisable for people with high wpm because of its lackluster responsiveness. Some of the keypresses will not be recorded, which will slow down and aggravate the user.
To conclude this post, the roll-up keyboard is somewhat in a weird spot, it can cater to the needs of a user that seeks portability and convenience because of its ability to be rolled up, but it also fails to meet the expectations for some because of its lackluster responsiveness. The roll-up keyboard is great for users who use handheld devices, but it is considered to be subpar for the computer enthusiast. It is resistant against liquid spills but is susceptible to being worn down with frequent use. The roll-up keyboard also has little to no tactile feedback, which can be very aggravating for some people. Overall, the roll-up keyboard mainly offers portability, which it is able to splendidly provide, but there are some drawbacks in using it.