With #CrossBorderRail South East Europe now just over a month away, my thoughts are turning to what (not) to take with me. This year I am going to be much more radical in terms of packing – I am not going to take a laptop with me. That’s 1.4kg removed from my luggage for a start.

But given I am going to have to be writing blog posts from hotel rooms and on board trains, and even make a few presentations en route (these I can prepare before I depart – and project using a Lightning to HDMI dongle) I nevertheless need something other than my iPhone screen for writing.

And so began a long search to find the right portable Bluetooth keyboard.

This 2020 Wired write up was the best overview I found, neatly explaining the pros and cons of each model. The problem – the Arteck HB066 that matches my needs better than anything was nowhere to be found in the EU. Amazon UK stocks it, but I was not keen on messing around with customs charges shipping it to the EU. And I would also prefer QWERTZ German layout with umlauts, rather than QWERTY anyway.

I then simply searched for HB066 – the model number – and discovered that on Amazon DE the same keyboard with a QWERTZ layout is sold as eSynic HB066, rather than Arteck. Please do not shame me for using Amazon here – I could find no reasonable way to get this any other way.

€42,99 is not cheap, but the initial impressions justify the investment.

The keyboard is well engineered, and at 183g is a lot lighter than carrying around a laptop. It charges with USB-C (a cable is supplied, which is probably not necessary these days), and it is comfortable to type on. The only slight downside is that the outer edges of the keyboard slope downwards slightly. Pairing it with an iPhone is a breeze, and best of all the folding mechanism is also the on/off switch, so simply opening it up pairs it with the phone. I followed this guide to make sure the keys match correctly, regardless of the language I am using to type. A Vanguard table tripod that I already take with me everywhere will support the phone while I am typing.

So there you have it. 1.2kg of packing weight saved. Let’s hope I don’t come to regret this!

eSynic HB066 in the box
German description on the back of the eSynic HB066 box
Front of the box – shows how the keyboard folds
Closed keyboard next to iPhone 13
USB-C and small instruction leaflet are included
The setup ready to use – with the iPhone on the Vanguard tripod


  1. Life, especially yours is about finding new ways to do things. It might not work as you would wish; there may be more challenges than you would like but as my ex was fond of saying, If you don’t try/ask you don’t get.

  2. Keep us updated on that keyboard as you travel, Jon. That set-up looks really handy.

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