The Rii i8+ mini keyboard has made navigating around my Amazon Fire TV Stick a lot easier. If you’re using the Amazon Fire TV Stick with Kodi, Terrarium TV or any of the other streaming services, you know how cumbersome using the Fire Stick remote can be. Searching for movies by title or actor requires a lot of remote clicks. Even more cumbersome is when you attempt to install software programs like Terrarium. Typing in URLs is not fun. Heaven forbid you insert a typo. Fortunately, with the Rii i8+ mini keyboard, typos are not a problem.
Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard Initial Setup
Before using the Rii i8+ mini keyboard you must charge it. The keyboard comes with a USB charger. It’s a three-way cord so you can sideload things if necessary. I’m not exactly sure what side load means but it’s there if you want to do it. Guess it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
For my purposes, I plugged one end into the keyboard (located on the top near the On/Off switch) and the other end into the USB charging station. While charging the middle indicator light shone red. When it shut off I knew the keyboard was charged. If I’m remembering correctly, the unit took a little while to charge (longer than I expected).
Learning the Keyboard Features
To explain the keyboard, I’ve decided to take it in halves. I’ll first discuss the bottom half of the keyboard, then the top (bottoms up).
Bottom Half of the Rii i8+
This tiny keyboard packs a lot of functions in a small space. In addition to having a full QWERTY keyboard, the lower half of the Rii i8+ has mouse controls. There are the left and right mouse buttons on the left side of the QWERTY keyboard, and the Page Up and Page Down buttons to the right of the keyboard. When pressing the FN keys simultaneously with the Page Up or Page Down buttons they act as the Home and End keys. The Enter key also doubles as the Three-finger salute (Ctrl, Alt Delete) when pressed with FN key. Depressing the FN key with the space bar adjusts the sensitivity of the mouse.
As with a regular keyboard, the numbers row is located above the letter keys and the F function keys are in the row above that. Each F function key has an alternative purpose when it is pressed simultaneously with the FN key.
How Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard Differs from Full Sized Keyboard
There are a few minor layout differences, however, in the Rii i8+ keyboard layout. This is to be expected on such a small device. The dash/underline and equal/plus keys are located to the left of the spacebar. The semicolon/colon, apostrophe/quotes are located to the right of the last row of letters. And finally, open and close brackets, forward slash and question mark are located beneath the semicolon/comma keys.
In order to get everything on the keyboard, some things had to be altered. It takes a little getting used to, but nothing major. Since I wouldn’t use it to replace full-sized keyboard for typing things such as this post, the changes are insignificant to me.
Top Half of the Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard
The top half of the keyboard is pretty self-explanatory. But since I was verbose about the bottom half, I might as well yammer on about the top half too.
Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard: Top Left
In the upper left-hand corner are the media keys. Arranged in a circle you’ll find the controls for the volume (V+ and V-), Rewind, Play/Pause and Fast Forward. Beneath the media keys circle are three indicator lights as follows:
- Left – Blue light: The blue light illuminates when the device is turned on. It turns off when in standby mode or off (after a few minutes the device goes into standby mode to save battery life).
- Center – Red light: Indicates battery charge level. I believe it flashes when the charge is low, but I’m not sure because my batteries have yet to run down that far. I do know, however, that it does remain illuminated when charging and shuts off when the device is fully charged.
- Right – Orange Light. This light flashes when input occurs, i.e. when typing or using the mouse.
To the right of the media keys are 4 buttons as follows:
- Open media player: I’ve not used this since I’m using it with the Fire Stick. Haven’t tried it with a computer to see if it actually works.
- Turn backlighting on and off. Great when using at night (just like standby mode, the backlight will turn off after a minute or two to save battery life).
- Mute and un-mute sound
- Left mouse button
Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard: Top Center
Here’s where the fun happens. The top center top of the keyboard is the mouse pad. It’s pretty interesting to get used to. Fortunately, they have instructions printed on the mouse pad for people like me who need the extra help in figuring a few things out.
Actually, I’m kidding. The instructions are pretty simple. Single tap invokes the left mouse button and double tap the right mouse button. Using two fingers while dragging up or down on the mouse pad scrolls the TV/computer screen.
Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard: Top Right
To the right of the mouse pad are the following buttons:
- Bluetooth Pairing: Press this button for pairing to make the keyboard discoverable.
- Search: Use it to open a search window or, in my case, search for a movie/TV program.
- Home: Takes you back to the Home screen.
- Right mouse button
Even farther right is a circle of directional keys. On a full-sized keyboard, the directional keys (arrows) are usually found next to the number pad. On the Rii i8+ mini keyboard it’s located on the right with an OK button in the middle. The OK button has the same function as the Enter or left mouse click.
Pairing Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard with Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Rii i8+ pairs with any Bluetooth device, but since I’m using it for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, that’s what I’ll talk about here. You can actually pair it with your Bluetooth phone, computer or tablet if you’d like.
On the Fire TV Stick navigate to the Add Bluetooth Devices screen. You get there by going to Settings – Controllers and Bluetooth Devices – Other Bluetooth Devices – Add Bluetooth Devices. Once you’re at the screen, press the pair button on the keyboard.
When the Fire TV Stick discovers the device, select it with the Fire Stick remote. The Fire Stick will pair with the keyboard and you’re done. Test the keyboard by pressing the Home button to bring you back to the Fire Stick’s Home screen.
The Rii i8+ mini keyboard also comes with a USB dongle for non-Bluetooth devices. Since I paired this with the Amazon Fire Stick I didn’t need the dongle. However, if you choose to use the keyboard with a non-Bluetooth device, the dongle is necessary.
My Opinion of the Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard
Being the dinosaur that I am, I’m not proficient at texting. On a full-sized keyboard, I can type upwards of 80 WPM, but texting reverts my WPM to approximately 3! With this in mind, I had concerns about using this mini keyboard. Surprisingly, however, I’m able to type pretty quickly and accurately with it. I think it’s the rubber-like (silicone?) material of the keys. My fingers don’t slip off the keys and create typos. It has a nice feel.
All in all, I’m happy with this little keyboard that I purchased from Amazon.
BTW, if you want to read the manufacturer’s manual, you’ll find it here: Rii i8+ Mini Keyboard Manual
Rii i8+ Keyboard Flashing Blue Light
Update 12/12/18: The other day I went to use the mini keyboard and I noticed the blue indicator light was flashing. That was odd so I figured I’d go online to find out what was going on. In Google, I typed “mini keyboard rii i8 blue light flashing” and couldn’t find an answer. Surely, someone else had the very same problem with their mini keyboard so I tried wording it differently. Well, apparently, no one but me has had this problem.
Being that I couldn’t find a solution online (not even in the manual), I decided to play around with the keyboard. Actually, the solution was simple. I charged the keyboard for a few hours and voila! The blue light stopped flashing. Now I know that when the blue light begins to flash, I need to charge it up. Guess I’m the only one who didn’t know this.