Review : Jorno Bluetooth keyboard and stand

Collapsible Bluetooth keyboard with regrettable connectivity issues

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Product Manufacturer: Jorno

Price: $100

The Good

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Protective case that doubles as a stand
  • Long battery life

The Bad

  • Users with large hands may not enjoy nine percent smaller keyboard
  • Frequent Bluetooth connection issues
  • Lack of indicators for connection and power
The Jorno Bluetooth keyboard and stand for tablets certainly looks nice. The gunmetal grey shell of the keyboard looks great while the unit is folded up. That's right -- the keyboard folds with two hinges into a swank-looking brick when not in use. There's also a nice case with a magnetic closure that transforms into a tablet stand. This keyboard and its care are ideal for travel -- it's lightweight and compact when not in use. There were some things we didn't like about it, but the designers were certainly on the right track when they came up with this one.

As we've mentioned before, we like replacing the prospect of lugging around a laptop with a Bluetooth keyboard and a tablet for short trips. We like the design of the Jorno for being light, compact, and protected. We can drop it in a backpack or purse without worrying about any of the keys getting messed up by other stuff. When it's folded up and in the case, the unit is about the size of a 3 x 5 card and a little over a half an inch thick. The user could even just slip it into a pocket if they wanted.

With so many keyboard cases on the market for full-size tablets, one might wonder why anyone would opt for a separate Bluetooth keyboard (that has its own cover) versus the integration of a keyboard cover. The answer is simple; keyboard covers are, by definition, no bigger than the length of the tablet, which is about nine inches or so versus a standard laptop length of 11 inches.

Using a separate Bluetooth keyboard allows users the option of full-size or (as is the case here), just slightly smaller than standard to make it more compact, but still be larger than a keyboard cover's keyboard. The keys on the Jorno are only nine percent smaller than standard keys. This isn't a problem for us, we have smaller than average hands, so typing on the Jorno was a little strange at first, but we got over it fairly quickly.

Delightfully, unfolding the keyboard turns it on and folding turns it off -- there's no switch to forget to turn off that runs down the battery. The documentation suggests the battery will keep a charge for hundreds of days on standby, or 85 hours of continuous typing. We didn't have the time to test those claims, but we are still on our original charge after a couple of weeks of use. For those times the keyboard does run down, or just if the user doesn't want to ever find out if the charge claims are true, there's a micro USB port on the top edge of the device for charging.

What we do find strange is that there are no indicators to show what the charge level is, or if the bluetooth is connected. There are green and blue LEDs on the top of the keyboard. The green one flashes when the keyboard unfolds and turns on, and it's also lit when caps lock is down. The blue LED only flashes when the Jorno is looking for a Bluetooth connection ("discovery mode"), and turns off when it finds one. Considering the battery claims, we don't think it would have been too taxing to have at least one LED lit to indicate an ongoing Bluetooth connection, or to warn of us of impending depletion.

Speaking of the Bluetooth connection, that's the bit of a problem we had with the Jorno. When we work, we tend to leave the app we're typing in to do something else for a while, or we might get up to make ourselves a sandwich or something. During this time of inactivity, the keyboard may or may not drop its connection to the tablet, particularly if the to which it is paired goes to sleep -- but once this happens, the Jorno didn't seem to be able to automatically re-connect.

This was particularly a problem with our iPad Mini 2, but it has also happened with an iPhone 5 and a Galaxy Tab 3. In order to properly reconnect the keyboard, we have to turn Bluetooth on the device off and on again and put the keyboard back into pairing mode. It didn't happen constantly, but it did happened enough to become irksome. We don't recall having this same issue with other Bluetooth keyboards or other devices.

Even with those issues, we have to admit the Jorno is pretty nice. We love the compact size and the protective case that doubles as a stand. If it weren't for the connection issues, it would be our favorite thing right now. It has a retail price of $100, and can be purchased on the Jorno website.