I found a reasonably good, inexpensive keyboard for the Sero 7 Pro

I bought a keyboard this week for the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. It’s a universal keyboard/case made by Afunta, and I paid $12.50 for it. I took a chance on it, and now you don’t have to. Its spring-loaded jaws nicely accomodate the Sero 7 Pro, and the keyboard works with the Sero 7 Pro with no issues. Plug it in, wait a moment, and it starts working, replacing the onscreen keyboard when you need keyboard input, basically turning your tablet into a convertible. It has a micro USB connector, unlike many 7-inch keyboards, so it works with the Sero 7 without an adapter. It’s odd that most keyboards seem to have full-size USB connectors but most 7-inch tablets have micro ports.

I wouldn’t want to type at length with the keyboard, but it’s much nicer than using an onscreen keyboard on a 7-inch screen.

It fits. As with anything designed to be universal, it’s not a perfect fit, but works relatively well. The top jaw is spring-loaded so it should fit most 7-inch tablets and might even fit some 8-inch tablets. My Hisense Sero 7 fits with a good quarter-inch to spare on the top, and more than that on the sides. The jaws looked overly small when I first got it, but then I realized the top grip is spring loaded. I pulled the top jaw grip all the way to the edge, slid the tablet in, and the grip closed to hold it tightly. I threw it into my bag, took it to and from work, and the tablet stayed in place without issue.

It’s even better for the Nook Color, which fits like it was made for it. To enable the keyboard, download and install the Nook Tweaks app if you don’t have it, run it, go into USB Settings, and enable USB Host Mode and External V Bus to get the keyboard working with it.

As for the looks department, it looks like a $13 case. I think black stitching would have looked better than white stitching, but for the money, I won’t nitpick. Some cases cost $40, so I won’t expect $40 looks for $12.50. It does look considerably nicer than the $5 case I typically use with my Nook Color.

There’s no opening for the rear camera. That’s par for the course with universal cases; not all tablets have rear cameras, and those that do won’t put them in the same place. You can live without it and take the tablet out when you need the camera, buy a case designed for the Sero 7, or cut a hole in the right place and cinch a grommet over the opening to protect it. I’ll just take the tablet out if I ever want to use it to take a photo.

Let’s talk about the keyboard, which is the main reason I bought it. I can blast back a 60-word e-mail message much faster than I could with an onscreen keyboard. It feels like an early netbook keyboard. That’s not a coincidence; it looks about the same size as the original Asus Eee keyboards. It’s a USB keyboard, so it’s not as sleek looking as a Bluetooth keyboard would be because you have to contend with a wire, but it’s more responsive than Bluetooth will ever be. I’m perfectly willing to tuck the wire through the jaws and live with a plug in the size of the tablet to avoid lag. I don’t expect it to hold up under heavy use, but cheap keyboards rarely do anyway. The USB keyboard that I used with my netbook lasted about 18 months before some of the keys quit working. I’ll use this keyboard less heavily, so I might expect 2-3 years from it.

I find the keyboard nice for navigating web pages. I’m used to navigating web pages with the arrow and page up/page down keys, and these work fine for that.

The included stylus is a bit clumsy. Frequently when I try to use it on the screen, it zooms when I want to scroll. I probably use it on the keyboard more than I use it on the screen. I like the idea of a stylus, so I’ll just have to buy a better one.

For $12.50 plus shipping if applicable, it’s a good buy. It extends the utility of the Sero 7 Pro, turning it into a netbook when you need to type, and you can still fold the keyboard away or remove the tablet and use it like a tablet. I recommend it.

 

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