Rii K09 Bluetooth Keyboard with RGB Backlight
This summer, my daughter received an updated iPad for school, which includes Apple Pencil support for her art projects. That means I ‘inherited’ her old 2017 iPad. Good as it is at most things, it really falls short without a good external keyboard.
Being notoriously low budget, I went scouring the depths of the Amazon for iPad-sized portable Bluetooth keyboards. preferably something backlit, for use in dark rooms. At just $21.99, the Rii K09 Bluetooth Keyboard with RGB backlit keys fit the bill nicely.
But just how “RGB” is it?
The image in the Amazon listing really says it all. It runs true to “BRG,” actually. Starting at blue on the left, to red in the middle, to green on the right, with gradients in between. It’s not customizable (at least not that I can find), there’s no dancing patterns, there’s no mention of anything but having the backlights on or off in the very brief instruction manual either.
But man, do I love the feel of these keys!! Yes, it’s a compact layout, so things are tighter together than I’m used to on my big full size num pad keyboards, but there is really nice key travel, there’s a nice bit of clickyness to them, and SHOCKINGLY for a $22 RGB backlight keyboard, there is almost no wobble in the key caps whatsoever. Even the space bar is solid from edge to edge.
The media keys work perfectly on the iPad, play/pause, next/previous tracks, volume/mute controls all handle my Spotify playlist perfectly while I’m typing away here.
Oh? Did I not mention that I’m typing all of this with the Rii keyboard on the iPad instead of on my desktop rig? What better way to dog food the product!!
One addition I really like in the soft keys, that I’m not sure I’ve seen on other keyboards like this I’ve used, is a key that will toggle the on-screen keyboard on mobile operating systems! There is also a screenshot key, search key, and screen brightness keys. Then on each end are a home key (left) and lock key (right).
Connecting the keyboard to my desktop, Windows shows the battery came with a 99% charge – ready to go! iPadOS doesn’t appear to show the battery life anywhere I can find.
On the topic of charging, the Rii Bluetooth Keyboard uses the old standard micro USB, so you can charge it from your computer/laptop/any charger with a USB port on it, really. It does include a cable in the box, in case you somehow don’t own one already.
Also in the box, a little nylon mesh bag. I suppose someone might use it? Maybe? Meh. I know I likely won’t. That’s really about it, other than the small “Installation & User Manual.” Basically you’ll need the section on how to pair … TLDR; hold Fn+C until the BT light flashes quickly. 1-2 seconds.
Here’s an annoying thing though – and this is probably i*OS related – if you try to start a sentence with anything lowercase, it won’t let you. Just to get “iPadOS doesn’t” there, I had to bring up the on-screen keyboard and tap the shift key. Nothing on the keyboard would get rid of the uppercase I on iPadOS otherwise.
Here’s one more. Not sure if this is on the keyboard-side or the iPadOS-side though. After connecting to my PC, I couldn’t get the keyboard to re-pair with the iPad until I turned Bluetooth off and back on on the iPad. I was going to blame iPadOS for handling it poorly – but this is squarely on the keyboard. It did the exact same thing on Android! Tried to connect again as a remembered device on my Galaxy Note 10+ after an initial test (which was just fine) and it would not connect – but did as a new Bluetooth device.
On an up note, if you’re not switching the keyboard between multiple devices, it automatically re-pairs with your tablet/device within a few seconds of flipping the power switch back on.
Continuing with positives again, turning the backlighting on and off is REALLY simple with a dedicated key between the space bar and right Alt key. Even when you don’t need it on, like in a bright room, it still looks nice. I do kinda wish there were some brightness adjustments to the backlighting though. It’s either bright or off. In a dark room, it may be distractingly bright.
Oh! It does actually also include an LED light for CAPS LOCK! It’s just a little white light up by the BT/power light, but it’s a nice touch, often overlooked – especially on budget devices.
Now, if you’re expecting a solid metal build for under 22 bucks, you’re crazy. It’s plastic. It’s textured to kind of mimic brushed metal, but it’s plastic. And it does have flex if you’re inclined to twist your keyboards instead of typing on them. But I haven’t noticed any sort of distracting deck flex while typing. Is there some? Of course. But if you’re hammering the keys enough to notice, you’re typing wrong. Seriously.
There’s enough of a lift in the back from the battery bump to make things comfortable enough, even though it’s still flat, and I’m used to curved ergonomic keyboards. But for the smaller size, it’s surprisingly comfortable to type on. Normally these little keyboards make me want to just use voice dictation and fix the mistakes after a few minutes.
Overall, I’m REALLY liking the Rii K09 RGB Bluetooth keyboard. Obviously I’m now going to have to buy a second one for my daughter, because I’m keeping this one for myself!
If you’re looking to pick one up, you’ll find it here. (Not an affiliate link.)