Imagine a keyboard with a detachable standard interface that you could quickly plug into any other computer. It sounds like the promise of wireless Bluetooth or even regular USB keyboards! Unfortunately, Bluetooth re-pairing is a pain and USB cables inconveniently detach on the back of the computer.
Lenovo has found a new solution. You still plug the USB cable into the back of the computer but the other end of the cable is a MicroUSB connector that you plug into the keyboard itself.
Detach the keyboard, and the MicroUSB cable can then be used to connect and charge other things like smartphones, tablets, and cameras.
I recently got a ThinkPad Compact USB Keyboard with TrackPoint from Lenovo. The introduction above describes exactly how this keyboard works. This innovative feature isn’t touted anywhere on Lenovo’s product pages nor in most reviews.
The keyboard can easily be put aside when I want to use a laptop or tablet on my desk. On-screen keyboards controlled with a mouse or touch can be used if you urgently need something of the keyboard-less machine while the keyboard space is otherwise occupied.
I’ve a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One in my living room. Both support keyboards over USB and both have MicroUSB cables dangling from them at all times. The cables are used to charge the game controllers, and they now serve as a means to connect a keyboard to the gaming consoles.
This little keyboard has been a game-changer for how I use my different computers and devices. I hope to see more MicroUSB keyboards in the future from other manufacturers.
The specific keyboard mentioned above from Lenovo has problems with rollover keys for keystroke combinations such as AltGr+V-B (for quotation marks on Norwegian layouts). I don’t recommend this particular model because of this problem. However, I do recommend the general idea of keyboard-side detachable MicroUSB cables.