Penclic device review: Sleek and functional for the mobile Rickatron!

Penclic Mini Keyboard with BEPO layout

I had an opportunity to review some new devices recently and was really excited to do such. I’m going to shift my personal blogging from the Enterprise IT space (You’ll still see plenty of Veeam and releated data center technologies from me) but I also am on a new quest to have some different content that can be something I work out personally here.

The first opporutnity came up to review two Penclic products. Before I had this opportunity, I took a look at their website to see what this is all about. Right from the first page: Design, Ergonomics, Functionality and Comfort are key takeaways. This has my attention because I’ve changed a lot how I stay productive; and input devices are critical to that.

penclic pen.jpg

A little history on why this is important to me.. For years when I travel I’ve boasted how I usually travel very light in regards to technology. I usually leave my new (and nice) Lenovo laptop cable locked & docked at the office, and usually travel with just a Surface tablet. Those of you who know me also know that from 2014-2016 I used a Surface RT when I was on the road. Yes a Surface RT. Why? It’s light, I have 3 of them (in case I lost one), it is a real computer when I needed it and anything I did is usually in a cloud or data center. In 2016 I got a Surface 3 (still cheap, not even the Pro) and I am enternally happy now for when I travel. Couple that with VPN and Remote Desktop (to the Lenovo), I was good. But one tacky thing is that I always brought along a full size keyboard for when I needed to be productive. I take the productivity on the road as a must. The one piece of technology that makes or breaks my productivity believe it or not is the keyboard. I usually only kept the keyboard hooked up in the hotel to not incite public IT embarassment.

For a frequent traveller, it’s all about the ability to adjust. I keep a completely separate inventory of many things at home and in my bag so that I’m ready to go just in case (health and beauty products, Surface tablet and associated peripherals, cables and charging) and with that, this Penclic offer caught my eye immediately.

Got a Mini Keyboard C2 and B2 Bluetooth Pen.. This was a great opportunity to use these new products on the road, and I set them up at home but didn’t quite replace my fixed input devices as I wanted to give this a go on a trip. Last week I had a one day trip to Cleveland, and this was the perfect opportunity to give these new devices a try.

Mini Keyboard C2.. This keyboard is slick. It has really nice spacing between keys on the device, good texture for the home row letters and a num lock capability to go to 10-key if you want. If you are a financial professional, they have separate 10-key units as well. I had the USB unit, they also have wireless units. For this keyboard here is a list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Really smooth textures on the keys themselves and good touch feedback/spring effect on keys
  • 2 USB ports (more on that in a second)
  • The same size as my previous keyboard but completely more comfortable and usable (will not use the previous one any more)

Cons:

  • I didn’t test on a MacOS device, but on my Surface RT it wouldn’t recognize. Surface RT is a dead operating system, so I’m literally the only person in the world using it.
  • The NUM LOCK seems to start “on” when connected, easy enough to turn off but it is a function button for NUM LOCK on and off

Game changer: The 2 USB ports built-in are clutch. I also carry a small USB hub, which is now unnecessary. I do indeed love my Surface 3 tablet (Can’t wait for a Surface 5 Pro), but know that it will likley continue to have only 1 USB port. This no issue with the Penclic. The 2 USB ports are on the back of the unit:

penclic usb

B2 Bluetooth Pen.. The Bluetooth pen replaces a mouse. This one is quite a bit different and not what you may think.First of all, it isn’t a pen like you may think of like a Surface Pen. It’s a pen that takes the scroll of the mouse to the form factor of a pen on a horizontal surface such as a table. I like this also as it is Bluetooth so a mouse won’t consume a precious USB port. I’ll admit it took about 20 minutes or so to get comfortable with the input functions with this mouse, additionally the right-click I had to keep looking for another hour or so. The pen however did make the cut and I used it just fine (it’s actually really hard to change your input format/style I found out!). Here are some pros and cons of the Bluetooth Pen:

Pros: 

  • Is Bluetooth to not take a USB port
  • Includes a USB cable that will charge the battery on the B2 Bluetooth Pen – very handy to not have to carry another battery that may fail on the road
  • Uses less space than a traditional mouse (see point below about scroll speed)

Cons:

  • Takes a while to get used to that new format of computer interface
  • May need to slow down it’s scroll speed (I did)

Penclic in use!

I went the day very productive (the picture below shows my “station”) on the road. I was able to charge my phone (no issue on weak charging by the way – this phone likes the higher amp USB ports and complains if it doesn’t get it). I don’t mind the cables, though I could have tucked them in a bit, it works find for what I was doing and had full productivity in a very small space.

penclic station

Final Verdict: The keyboard is a winner and will make it into the travel kit (note it’s about the same size of my Surface 3). The pen I will travel with as well, namely as the rechargable characteristic of the battery is a big benefit.

You can find more information about Penclic and other products (they have some cool looking bags as well) at Penclic.Se.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary Mini Keyboard C2 and a B2 Bluetooth pen mouse.

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