Cheap alternative keyboard for Surface Pro 3, 4 – 2017

Moko keyboard for Surface Pro

Some of the most popular keywords searched on Google that ends up landing on Love My Surface Blog are “keyboard”, “problem”, and “surface pro”. Apparently many people are having issues with their keyboards.

The original keyboard sold by Microsoft cost a small fortune (check the current price here on amazon), so this may not be a valid option for many. Are there any GOOD alternative keyboards for those who are facing this issue?

Please read on….

Moko Wireless Keyboard

First of all, lets get one thing out of the way. The Moko keyboard does NOT feature any connectors where the keyboard meets the Surface Pro hardware. This is a bluetooth device, that requires pairing up.

Bluetooth

Keyboards based on Bluetooth connectivity has several consequences:

  • The keyboard can be used while disconnected from the tablet
  • The keyboard needs to be charged separately! A tiny rechargeable battery is built in, and a regular microUSB connector is present on the right side of the keyboard for charging. It takes less than an hour to charge, and it is supposed to last over 40 hours.
  • You must pair the keyboard with your Surface Pro just like you would with any other Bluetooth devices. But this is a one-time setup process and you can forget about it afterwards.

Connectors

  • As mentioned before, there are none. Just magnets. It would have been nice if they allow users to charge the battery when attached.
  • As with the Surface Pro keyboards, the Moko keyboards provide two positions – flat and slanted. Flat position is just about the same as that of the Surface Pro’s keyboard. But when raised up, it sits higher – high enough that it may prevent you from touch-clicking near the bottom of the screen.

Here’s what the microUSB charging connector looks like:

Positives

  • Touch feel – these keys feel nice to touch. They are little clickier than the original keyboards and to be honest, I prefer these clickier ones. It is far from being noisy but very useful when you are looking for some positive response to what you are typing. The key travel distance is about the same, however.
  • Palm resting area is covered with cloth-like material, just like the original.

Negatives

So are there any negatives with the Moko keyboard? Here are the list of some of the potential issues:

  • No backlit keys. Moko does have a backlit version. So check this model if you need such feature. It may not be available in all countries.
  • Layouts are not identical to that of the Surface Pro’s keyboard – this could be seen as either positive or negative depending on your preferences.
  • Each keys are slightly smaller, especially height-wise, if you observe them from the top. If you have big hands, this could be troublesome for you. With my petite hands, it’s quite easy to get used to them.

Here’s how the two keyboards compare side-by-side (well, top to bottom):

Typing Speed

Obviously, this will depend on your typing skills. I am a touch typist and I normally use Logitech G410 keyboard without the built-in numeric pads for its compactness on my desk. Since I don’t normally use Surface Pro’s keyboard, I do believe this is a fair test even if I’ve never tried typing on the Moko keyboard.

Here are the results:

Surface Pro keyboard Moko Wireless keyboard Logitech G410 wired keyboard
Speed (words per min) 73.6 72.5 80.5
Errors 4.6 3.5 3.5
Adjusted Speed 69 69 77

Each of the above test has been performed 5 times and average numbers have been recorded in the table. Each test lasted 60 secs.

Some of my thoughts during the test:

  • I am clearly used to the Logitech’s mechanical keys. I find them far more comfortable to type than either of the add-on keyboards.
  • Moko feels slightly more cramped than the standard Surface Pro keyboard.
  • Perhaps because it sits higher when raised, Moko appears to vibrate slightly more.

At the end of the day, my typing speed appears to be nearly identical between the two keyboards.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t replace the standard Surface Pro’s keyboard with Moko if it is still in working order, unless wireless aspect is of use for you. (I could see myself using the Surface Pro body to drive a TV display and use the keyboard remotely on my coffee table)

But, if your existing keyboard no longer works, and you need a portable keyboard, then this is a legit option. And this is much cheaper than the original keyboard by a big margin.

5 Comments

  • It’s kinda weird that so many people are experiencing such problems with a premium device like the Surface Pro. You would normally expect a bit more durability from such a high cost keyboard. As a side note, I do feel you with the mechanical keyboard. Once you try one, normal rubber Laptop keyboards will not feel so comfortable any more.

Leave a Comment

Tweet
Share
+1