I bought a proper rig in October, and loving it, but i am having trouble finding a proper place for my keyboard. I don’t want a holder for it, because I don’t want it to take up the space, when I don’t use it. I very rarely need a keyboard really, it’s not a huge problem to have it laying net to the seat.
Some times, you need to type in a password, or a quick message to a driver in-game. For this, I felt it was a bit awkward to get the keyboard up just to type “ok” or a 4 digit pin code.
The solution(s)? A tiny, pocket Bluetooth keyboard! But i actually bought two models, to also run on a lap top that I use for telemetry.
Both Keyboards are from the peripheral manufacturer called Rii. I got the Rii X8 and the Rii I8. The X8 is slightly more expensive than the other, but it features backlight, on the buttons and a handy red scroller, that I find very useful on my timings overlay that I run on a laptop computer net to my rig. They both come with an USB cable for charging, But the cheapest one came with a clever cable, that still kept your USB available for other uses!
You also get an USB dongle to connect to your device. The USB receiver is a standard HID device. Although i just wanted it for my sim rig, it works well with most Smart TVs, TVBoxes, XBOX and PCs using either Windows 10/8/2000/XP/Vista/CE/7, or IOS and most Linux OS systems. I actually run Linux on my timings laptop and had not checked compatibility before i bought them, but they both worked perfectly!
Touchpad And Scroll
One of the cool features both keyboards have, is the touchpad. You can use it in a similar way as you’d use a trackpad on a laptop. It even recognizes different types of input, so you can use your finger as a mouse, tab with one finger for click, two fingers for right click, and scroll with two fingers. It works well, but I would only recommend this for short tasks. For regular use of a PC, you can’t replace an actual mouse with this touchpad. It is simply too small. To help with scrolling, they have added a scroll button on the X8 model. This is the first model from Rii, to feature a scroll button and it really feels comfortable and practical! After all, we do spend a lot of time simply scrolling down feeds. Still, even though the I8 does not have a scroll button, it is fairly straight forward to either use the touchpad to scroll with two fingers, or the up/down arrows. Its not a huge improvement, but one of those nice things to have.
Unlike the I8, the X8 offers backlit buttons. Not only are they backlit, but you can choose between 8 different colours. This is more a feature than a function, but some might like this, especially if using it in the dark, or badly lit rooms. For me, this was not a selling point, although it does look very pretty with all the fancy colors! The I8 has not light. Although i expect battery life to be shorter when you use the backlight, I don’t think battery life will be any issue for either keyboards. They both recharge fast through USB and can be used while charging.
I am very happy with both keyboards. They work well, and both feel very comfortable to use. If I would do one thing over, it would be to buy two I8 instead of an I8 and na X8, but having said that, I do use the scroll button quite a lot on the X8 now that I have it. I can strongly recommend a pocket keyboard for your rig, to supplement a regular keyboard. It is very handy, and makes quick inputs even faster. Rii seems like a very trustworthy manufacturer and distributor. I bought mine through Amazon, but I am sure you would be able to find their products through other retailers.