Gear review: Arteck HB030B Bluetooth keyboard lightens up my travel life

The Arteck HB030B Bluetooth keyboard weighs less than my favorite mobile input solution, the Logitech K780, but it also has backlit keys, which the K780 lacks.

My Arteck is light, and it lights up, thus doubly lightening my travel life!

Bluetooth keyboard Logitech Arteck compare - 5Please pardon that little bit of inane wordplay. I can’t help myself sometimes.

Arteck HB030B Bluetooth Keyboard: At a glance

  • Connects to (pairs with) one device at a time
  • Suitable for use with iOS, Windows, and Android devices
  • Rechargeable lithium battery uses standard micro USB cable (included)
  • Backlit keys
  • Frustration Free Packaging consisting of a sturdy cardboard box sufficient as a case for my travel use; zero plastic garbage
  • Weighs 214 g or ~¹⁄ 3 lb
  • 9.7″ x 5.9″ x ¼” or about as small as a useful keyboard can get for adult sized hands
  • $20 (US) retail

Why buy another keyboard when I love my Logitech K780?

I bought my Arteck from Amazon in April 2018 for $19.99. That makes it noticeably cheaper than my K780. I paid $75.90 for the Logitech in 2017.

The Arteck HB030B weighs 214 g, simply annihilating the Logitech’s 863 g. In a one bag travel scenario, shaving off 649 g—75% of the heavier K780’s total—can make an appreciable difference to my carrying comfort.

I use a Bluetooth keyboard paired with an iPad Pro as an alternative† to a weightier, bulkier, less flexible laptop. The Arteck keyboard together with my iPad weighs in at 59% of the K780 + iPad Pro combo.

Here are some more visuals to show the difference in size between my two portable input devices.

I do usually travel with my keyboard in its cardboard box as a cheap free protective case. Arteck HB030B in its box: 307 g. Boxed Logitech K780: 1061 g.

For comparison, my deceased MacBook Air 13″ was spec’ed at 1.35 kg, but add 448 g for a minimalist SlimFolio cover.* Total: 1798 g.

If I didn’t want to leave an expensive laptop in the car while running into a shop, say, I had to tote the whole weight to mitigate the risk of theft. I can carry just my costly iPad and leave the cheaper keyboard in a less secure environment if necessary with the split setup.

Along the same lines, I often leave my stack of library books and keyboard to hold my table at the local coffee shop. I’ll do so even if I step into the ladies’ room for a few minutes. I would never leave a laptop or my iPad sitting out under the same conditions.

Dimensions as carried

  • Arteck HB030B dimensions, boxed: 10 ¼” x 6 ¹⁄8″ x 7/8″
  • Logitech K780 dimensions, boxed: 15 5/8″ x 6 5⁄8″ x 1 ¼”

All these lovely and light features aside, the Logitech K780 remains my preferred keyboard for use when its size and weight aren’t burdensome. I do find myself wondering why something that big doesn’t offer backlit keys, however. Battery life? Durability for the price?

Where does the dividing line fall between my need for “portable enough” and “ultra light”?

For me, toting the heavier Logitech from house to car or into a coffee shop is no problem. I also like the K780 for use at home on my couch with a lapdesk, or in my bedroom balanced on a book or its own cardboard box any time I’m not feeling up to working at my sturdy desk where a desktop computer still supports my most serious efforts.

The K780’s extra heft is a benefit when it is helping to counterbalance a large iPad Pro.

I actually use the number pad routinely to input data. I think that might be proof of my geekhood, but its true. Even my geeky husband thinks this is weird. Only a full width (full size) keyboard will have a numeric entry pad.

Switching between three devices, which I do often, is by design much easier with the K780 that features dedicated buttons for the job. They are big, white, and prominent in the top row, left corner.keyboard in use - 1

Travel bluetooth keyboard Arteck - power buttons backlightArteck offers only two buttons aside from the standard keys required for typing: one for Bluetooth pairing, and a power switch. The tiny, recessed power switch can be tricky to slide with arthritic fingers, but the device does automatically put itself in power saving sleep mode after a period of inactivity.

I usually only switch mine off when I’m packing it up in the box to take it somewhere and fear it might get switched on while being jostled in a travel bag.

All that being said, the Arteck keyboard has performed reasonably in my tests these past few weeks, and its size advantage for travel can’t be overrated for certain scenarios. So long as it connects reliably to my iPad (it does) and has adequate battery life (it does), it will be my go to solution for air travel involving shorter trips or more stringent carry on requirements.

Bluetooth keyboard K780 Logitech on couch - 1Around the house, since my Logitech basically lives on the couch, I’ve taken to using the Arteck in my bedroom for lazy weekend morning blogging at a little table.

Though I usually resist electronics when my insomnia rears its head, the backlight is perfect for those sleepless nights when I give in to temptation and get up wanting to write.

The Arteck offers seven backlight colors and two brightness settings. It’s easy to make the adjustment, but I have to look up the simple key combination to do so every time.

Travel bluetooth keyboard Arteck instructions - backlight batteryI also seem to have missed a color when snapping pictures. There are two shades of yellow, but I only photographed one. Sorry! Obviously, the fact that purple is an option stopped me from much further investigation of the matter.

Speaking of the manual for this keyboard, it is worth noting step six of the Bluetooth pairing instructions. After switching devices, I couldn’t get my iPad to reconnect to the Arteck until I “forgot” then re-paired the device. I hadn’t read the manual, so had failed to do step six.

Travel bluetooth keyboard Arteck instructions - pairing important step 6Admittedly, I don’t bother to disconnect and reconnect my lesser used devices with the Arteck the way I switch on the fly all day long with my K780. In the absence of the quick-swap buttons, it doesn’t seem worth the trouble for a brief text message or to enter an appointment on my business iPhone.

By comparison, with my Logitech, it is worth it to spare my aching finger joints a bit of less comfortable tapping vs. easier typing.

I have tried my Arteck keyboard with an iPad Pro, an iPhone 5, and an Android phone. All paired easily, and have worked without drop outs.

Amusingly enough, today, as I put the finishing touches on this review, I had to forget and then re-pair the HB030B with my iPad Pro. Hmm… Pairing isn’t tricky, however, so my evaluation of usefulness vs. weight hasn’t changed.

Finally, the typing feedback on the little Arteck isn’t quite as satisfying as it is with the heavier, sturdier Logitech K780. The click doesn’t have a solid sound, rather a plasticky tick.

Then again, neither of these is as pleasant as my favorite wired desktop keyboards. For me, this is a reasonable trade off for use on the go, but “feel” is a very subjective** aspect of any input device.

I’ve used an Apple travel keyboard, and it was both bigger and vastly more expensive than the Arteck. The Apple was easy to carry and had a high quality feel, but I lost it and felt bad about the fact. The tactile experience with that one was better than the Arteck, but not more so than the Logitech. More expensive isn’t always more satisfying.

At this price, and with Amazon’s usual easy return policy, it seems a no brainer to give the Arteck HB030B a try for yourself if the specs fall within your desired parameters. It’s unlikely to make you fall in love, but it might be the inexpensive, lightweight solution to your travel needs as it seems to be for mine.

A keyboard is the key to letting me get serious writing done with an iPad when I’m away from my desk. I’ve regretted traveling without one every single time I’ve left it at home since I started blogging. The greater scrutiny due to security measures makes flying with a laptop a burden I can’t bear. Besides, my teen fried my laptop last autumn. Sigh.

*Left to my own devices, I probably would have kept the laptop bare. I dislike added bulk and weight, generally, unless it is serving some useful purpose. I think devices should be built to handle careful normal use, and I treat mine as such.

In this case, DH accidentally took my laptop to work one day instead of his own larger model. I added a purple SlimFolio to the outside and a red Twelve South Surface Pad trackpad bumper to the inside to give my MacBook Air some extra character and make it less confusing to an absent minded professor in a hurry at 5 am.

Unlike the experience of some reviewers, my SlimFolio never cracked or became damaged/worn. It outlived my MacBook Air. The Surface Pad also remained whole and attractive throughout several years’ use.

DH takes the boys to judo on Saturday mornings after their grandmother feeds them breakfast, so I’m free to linger in my boudoir and make use of my tea set up at my leisure. These quiet hours are when most of my serious writing gets done.

**I’m a Logitech trackball fan going wa-a-a-a-a-ay back, too. My parents, husband, and one child consider this insanity on my part, but it’s how I like to work. (Another joke to pardon coming up!) That’s how I *ahem* roll.

Here’s my current M570.

In my ideal world, all peripherals would be available to all people. Who cares how you enter your data so long as you get it done and the output is transmittable to others? That’s my utopian black box vision of computing and has been so since I was a young geek in the early days when sneakernet was the only way to share anything…

One thought on “Gear review: Arteck HB030B Bluetooth keyboard lightens up my travel life

  1. Sneakernet, wow, I was on CompuServe bulletin boards at 9kbps sooooooo long ago 🙂 This looks like a great piece of travelling kit. Thanks for such a great review!

What do you want to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s