|#1||Bastron Bluetooth Keyboard Transparent|
|#2||Bastron Ver.3 Transparent Touch Glass|
|#3||Transparent Glass Keyboard by Brookstone|
|#4||Bastron B6 Glass Touch Smart Keyboard|
|#5||Q-gadget KB01 by UPQ|
5 Highest Reviewed Glass Keyboards to Consider
Technology is expanding at an ever increasing rate, but sometimes that means some technology progresses quicker than others. This is called asynchronous development, and its effects can range from crippling to merely annoying. Glass keyboards, for example, snuck up on us out of nowhere! But don’t worry after reading this list and the users guide below it, you’ll be up to speed!
First, let’s take a look at the top five keyboards made from glass and their cool features, as well as the drawbacks. These are all great choices, with some offering subjectively better features than others.
The first glass keyboard on this list is also one of three that is manufactured by Bastron, a manufacturer headquartered from China. This brand may have started with a spotty reputation, but is has quickly built up a catalog of quality products that now dominate the glass keyboard market.
This Bastron glass keyboard was the fourth to be developed and the first to include Bluetooth connectivity. This connectivity provided an advantage of ease and comfort. No longer was the user physically tethered to their device. Though, not all was well for this first model.
The key recognition does not play that well with the fourth version and will often lead to either absent keystrokes or double taps. Depending on your bluetooth receiver, this could render the keyboard virtually unusable. However, there still existed a micro USB connection to charge the keyboard which also transferred the keystrokes it necessary.
- Can connect via Bluetooth
- Waterproof for easy cleanup
- Provides 10 hours of battery life
- Key response time is substandard
This glass keyboard was the previous iteration of the Bastron. In many ways, the two products are nearly identical. In fact, one of the primary differences between the two is that this keyboard does not feature a Bluetooth connection. Of course, that carries with it some advantages and disadvantages.
Unlike the fourth version, version three does not suffer any of the key response issues, with every press corresponding accurately and without delay of double tap. However, this does mean that the keyboard must be plugged in the the micro USB cable to function at all.
Still, this model features a waterproof design that, while not submersible, can still easily handle a full glass of liquid spilled onto its surface. Moreover, this glass keyboard is reasonably priced in a market that still charges a premium for innovation.
- A fully responsive keystroke
- Waterproof for easy cleanup
- A more reasonably priced glass keyboard
- Must connect with a micro USB cord
This is the first glass keyboard on the list not to be made by Bastron. Instead, this glass keyboard comes from Brookstone, a retailer known for offering innovative products well-before the general public catches onto them. As such, it should come as no surprise that they offer a glass keyboard.
This glass keyboard is especially enticing. For one, this is only the second keyboard on the list to provide a Bluetooth connectivity. Again, this allows the Brookstone keyboard to be used without tethering the user to the device. However, this Bluetooth connection remains far more consistent throughout use.
Moreover, the Brookstone glass keyboard is also a bit larger than the other models on this list. This allows the fingers to sit in a more traditional, natural position compared to other models. Unfortunately, this also necessitates that the keyboard weigh more.
- Can connect via Bluetooth
- One of the larger glass keyboards
- An incredibly affordable glass keyboard
- A fairly heavy glass keyboard
The final Bastron on the list is also one of its most recent. Considering that one of the largest markets for glass keyboard, smart devices, continues to develop at a breakneck pace, the peripherals intended to accompany them must as well. That is the philosophy going into the B6.
While the other Bastrons feature a touchpad support, the B6 goes above and beyond. While it features the same transitional function of the others using a single button on the keyboard to switch from one to the other, its massive compatibility also necessitates the inclusion of numerous gesture commands. In fact, this model recognizes up to fifteen different gesture commands depending on the device.
Unfortunately, the B6 is not quite as high-tech in terms of connectivity as the fourth version, and requires the use of a micro USB cable to connect. However, this does mean that the keystrokes are accurate and responsive.
- Supports up to 15 gesture controls
- Made from tempered glass and aluminum
- Compatible with most major operating systems
- Requires a micro USB connection
The Q-Gadget glass keyboard is made by UPQ, a Japanese company located in Tokyo. While the Chinese may lead the way in terms of manufacturing, the Japanese have long led the electronics industry in terms of hardware innovations.
The KB01, however, seems to have missed a step in that department. While this model features many of the features one would come to expect–specifically the ability to quickly transform from a glass keyboard to a touchpad, this is one of the few models on the list which carries with it some compatibility restrictions–specifically with Android.
However, whatever compatibility issues it has do not affect its ease of use as this is a plug-n-play glass keyboard with a set of controls to effortlessly switch from Windows device to an Mac device. Moreover, one primary difference is its LED lighting. Whereas the Bastron seems to favor incredibly bright LEDs for use in darker environments, the KB01 opts instead with a subtler LED that only complements the inherently elegant design of a glass keyboard.
- The LED lighting is subtle
- Easily converts from Windows to Mac
- Comes ready with plug-n-play
- Only compatible with computers
Brief Guide to Glass Keyboards
What Are They?
Easily one of the biggest technological development since the turn of the century has to be the rise of smart devices. Where once people were tethered to a desk or, at best, a hulking laptop, now they carry a computer with them in their pocket. Of course, desktop and laptop computers often come with a number of peripherals–even if some of them are built into the machine.
The best example of this would be the keyboard and mouse. These two devices allow people to interface with computers effortlessly. However, they are also somewhat sizable pieces of hardware–the former often being larger than many smart devices.
That is why the development of new technologies to replace the mouse and keyboard combo are becoming more and more popular. In this vein, few advancements surpass the elegance and simplicity of the glass keyboard.
Designed without true “keys,” the glass keyboard places touch sensitive sensors at the top of the keyboard and translates where your fingers touch to a command. Moreover, glass keyboards are often incredibly small in profile due to the absence of needing to actually press down a key.
A glass keyboard is completely transparent and can be backlit differently depending on what you need. There aren’t any actual keys that click as you type. Instead it is more like typing on a tablet, except that the keys are larger. They can plug into a desktop, or function separately with a rechargeable battery that charges via USB.
Easy to Clean
They are incredibly easy to clean – they just need a quick wipe with a wet cloth. They can be simply a keyboard, or a keyboard and mouse. The glass is backlit so easy to customize, which means you can sometimes make the keys different shapes and looks and also change to a foreign language very quickly too. They aren’t as tactile as a traditional keyboard, but they look very cool and futuristic, and have other benefits.
There is a enormous potential for different uses for a glass keyboard, since with some of them you can change what it functions as. Potentially they could convert just as an iPad or tablet does, into a piano keyboard, or a sound mixer – but of course you need to make sure you have the right keyboard, and software and computer to make that happen when it is connected.
Some of them have touch sensors and sense when you touch the keys. Others have a light and camera source and see where you touch the glass. Some glass keyboards are wired to a computer, whereas others connect via Bluetooth and are wireless.
The design of the keyboards with cameras is based on a technology called FTIT or Frustrated Total Internal Reflection, which was worked on by an aerospace engineer to get to this concept. There are infrared LEDS at the side of the glass.
The light bounces around inside the glass because of the low angle it enters at, and when the glass is touched it disturbs the reflection. This directs the infrared rays downwards so that the cameras can see it. Software then works out the location of the touch and send it to the computer or device you’re working on.
Who Can Benefit
Glass keyboards are ideal for classrooms, because if they get liquid spilled on them it will just run off. If you like having the coolest and latest stuff and showing off to your colleagues then this would be a great buy for you.
It also makes a stylish and elegant living room keyboard if you have a computer in there and want it to look good. It looks very cool and like something out of a Sci Fi movie. It is also a good fit if you’re used to typing on tablet and touch screens as it is a similar feel but larger.
If you end up hooking your laptop to your TV to watch movies frequently, then a wireless glass keyboard would also be ideal as you can manage it from the couch, switching to the mouse pad when you need the touch screen.
Tablets and smartphones will link with many of these keyboards via Bluetooth, so you can simply get one to augment your tablet and give it a larger keyboard. Also many of these glass keyboards have a simple switch to switch between a touch or track pad and a keyboard, so you don’t necessarily need a mouse anymore.
A wireless keyboard will help you reduce the clutter on your desk and give you more freedom to move it around as needed. LED backlighting is great if you’re a gamer or want to work in the dark but still see your keyboard.
What to Consider When Buying One
When shopping for one of these futuristic looking computer accessories, keep the following in mind. There are three major things to remember and evaluate per product basis.
This is arguably one of the most important factors of a keyboard–regardless its makeup. If the keys of a keyboard are not responsive, the keyboard itself may ultimately be useless. This factor can often be measured in terms of accuracy and latency.
The accuracy of a keystroke is just what it sounds like. Does the keystroke send the proper signal when commanded? However, it is fairly uncommon for a keyboard to actually send the incorrect command when pressed. Instead, a more common issue is that the keyboard will double tap the key instead.
The latency quality of a keyboard involves how quickly the command is sent from the keyboard. Considering people who type well will often type sixty words or more in a minute, a keyboard with latency issues will often not register all of the keys and omit some of the commands.
This quality is truly an issue of ergonomics, or how comfortable the product feels to use. With glass keyboards this can be a bit of a tricky issue due to differing demands depending on the device that the keyboard is connected to.
For instance, keyboards connected to smart device–whether glass or otherwise–are expected to be incredibly light with a small profile. This is in a large part because the most smart devices themselves are fairly small in their own right.
However, desktops and laptops are a more substantial piece of hardware. Moreover, people are often more comfortable using larger peripherals at a desk than they are in their lap. As such, glass keyboards need to strike a balance between light and small as well as substantial.
How a glass keyboard connects to a smart device can make it either a breeze, or add an additional step to using an almost necessary peripheral. The most common method for a peripheral to connect to a device is with a USB cable.
However, different devices will require different cables. For instance, connecting to a desktop or a laptop will often require a standard male USB connection. However, connecting to a smart device, which is inherently smaller, will generally require a male micro USB connection.
Of course, that entire issue can be skipped altogether if the glass keyboard features bluetooth connectivity. This method of connection is wireless, allowing the keyboard to connect to the device with the push of a button.
However, it is important to remember that many desktops and even a large number of laptops require additional hardware to support a bluetooth connection. Moreover, Bluetooth is a fairly high frequency signal meaning it does not extend that far and will not penetrate obstacles all that well.
What To Avoid?
If you have a Mac, be careful which keyboard you get, as some are designed more traditionally and not so much with Macs in mind, so you may not get all the keyboard shortcuts that you’re used to having.
Also make sure you get the right kind for you – if you want a wireless keyboard that works as a mouse and a keyboard then avoid getting one without reading the description, as some are only keyboards. Instead look for one that can switch to a touch pad.
Avoid getting one too small, or you may end up with more typing errors as the keys can end up quite close together in the smaller versions. This is particularly because there is no need for spaces between the keys since they aren’t real keys.
Can you touch type on a glass keyboard?
No, you can’t touch type, because there are no ridges or key edges to feel. However, as Bill Bennett explains, it is possible to learn to type quite fast on glass. You just need to look at what you’re doing and at what the screen says so you can correct typos as they come.
Can you connect the keyboard to a computer via USB?
Yes, with some of these you can turn off the Bluetooth connectivity and connect the keyboard via the USB port.
Can you feel the keys when you’re typing?
No, it is just like typing on a tablet or phone – it is smooth glass so you need to look at what you’re doing.
Are they full size keyboards?
Some are, but some are 60-70% of the size of a traditional keyboard. It is worth checking in the manufacturer’s specifications so that you get the right size for you.
Are glass keyboards durable?
The actual material of these is often very durable as they have an aluminium frame and are made with tempered glass. However the LED and batteries may need replacing after a while, so it may be worth looking at reviews to see how long they last.
How far does a Bluetooth connection stretch?
Generally a Bluetooth connection will stretch to a distance of up to 30 feet, so you can use your keyboard across the room from your device if you want.
Will it make Repetitive Strain Injury worse?
If you already suffer from repetitive strain injury, it might not be good to use this type of keyboard too much as there is no travel in the keys and you are simply hitting glass. However some work on it should be fine.
Ultimately, the best glass keyboard will be the one that satisfies the buyer’s needs at a reasonable price. If the buyer intends to use the keyboard in a desktop setting, the B6 offers a solid product that does not need to roam.
However, if a wireless connection is preferred, then either the Brookstone of the Bastron V.4 are the better options. Between them, the Brookstone is not only less expensive, its Bluetooth connection is also more reliable.