I’m doing tech support these days and I get to work on a lot of Microsoft Surface devices. Typically the SP7+ and SP9.

Sometimes people come in with broken keyboards and I need to be able to type stuff anyway. Yes, I know there’s a touch screen but it’s so painful to use. Sometimes I’m setting up Windows from scratch and one weird thing about the Surface devices is that they can’t always talk to their own keyboards until after you run the software updates to get all the new drivers.

Yes, a Microsoft manufactured Surface Pro device can’t talk to it’s own Microsoft manufactured keyboard. I don’t get it.

Anyway, I got tired of this situation and bought a cheap Bluetooth keyboard and mouse combo that talk to the computer via a single dongle, leaving the other USB port free for … whatever.

I bought the “Rapoo Bluetooth keyboard and mouse” combo (no I don’t have any associate links). Given that it was only $36AUD, it’s a surprisingly good setup. The keyboard far exceeded my expectations. It has a solid feel to it and the keys are nice to type on (I don’t like a lot of travel in the keys) and they aren’t noisy. It reminds me a lot of my Logi keyboard, which I note I bought almost exactly one year ago (and I still use happily at home).

The Rapoo is smaller, and the keys are closer together, but that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem. The only thing that irks me is the position of the cursor keys, being squashed in under the right shift button, but I get that it’s because they were trying to save space.

The Bluetooth has been great. It connects quickly and has no dropouts.

Basically I’m very happy with this keyboard.

What I’m not so happy with is the mouse. It really does feel cheap. The weird thing is that this keyboard/mouse combo has an underwhelming mouse, but a champion of a keyboard. I guess they balance out, and given the price, it’s a good deal. If I had to buy this again, I’d buy the keyboard separately and find a better mouse to go with it.

On a side note, quite a few of my customers are buying the “Rapoo XK200 Bluetooth Microsoft Surface Pro Keyboard” (again, no associate links) when their Surface Pro keyboards die. This Rapoo keyboard is only compatible with Surface Pro 7+ or lower because it magnetically connects via the plugs at the bottom of the Surface device. Microsoft changed the connection style in the SP8 and above. This keyboard is Bluetooth so it doesn’t talk to the Surface device through the plugs at the bottom like the native Microsoft keyboard does. I’ve played around with them a bit when people come in with them and they seem good. It’s why I tried out the bigger keyboard that I bought. For around $60AUD, this off brand Surface Pro keyboard sure beats the Microsoft branded keyboard (Typecover?) which is around $200AUD.

For a budget brand, I’m quite impressed with Rapoo. I can’t speak for their longevity yet, but I’m happy so far.