ProtoArc XK03 Foldable Ergonomic Keyboard Review: amazing for road warriors

For the smallest, practical yet portable split keyboard, you can't go wrong with the ProtoArc XK03. It's perfect for any business trip.

For corporate road warriors looking for a portable, split ergonomic keyboard with the smallest practical form factor, the ProtoArc XK03 is an excellent choice. The XK03 has full sized keys despite its form factor, comes with wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, and is a delight to use. It uses the standard qwerty layout and requires no retraining to use. Weighing only 400g, it also folds in half, making it easy to throw into a backpack and forget it’s even there.

Price: USD 50

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  • Incredibly portable, folds in half, and is super slim
  • Has full sized keys with decent key travel, and comfortable ThinkPad-esque concave keys, providing an great typing experience
  • Very affordable compared to alternatives
  • Portable and reasonably priced
  • High quality build
  • Longer typing sessions may be tiring due to the slim form factor
  • If set up incorrectly, slim form factor, and lack of negative tenting, may place pressure on your wrists

Typing experience

The ProtoArc XK03’s keys clearly draws inspiration from Lenovo’s ThinkPads, with concave keys which cup the fingers, and good key spacing. It means that your fingers stay on the keys even during intensive typing sessions, helping to maintain speed and accuracy. While I can manage around 83 WPM on the Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard (my desktop daily driver), I can type at the same speed on the ProtoArc XK03, a good indication of how well the XK03 is designed.

The keyboard has full sized keys with scissor switches, has decent key travel, and feels like a good laptop keyboard. While the key travel is nowhere near the depth of a mechanical keyboard, it is enough to give you that tactile satisfaction that you’ve pressed a key. On the scale of Apple’s butterfly keyboards (terrible), and Lenovo’s Thinkpad keyboards (amazing), it trends towards the ThinkPad.

Typing is generally comfortable, and I have written entire documents using the ProtoArc XK03. However, at the end of particularly long sessions I do feel my fingers are fatigued, probably due to the low amount of cushioning given how thin the keyboard is.

One small gripe is that the keyboard isn’t completely centred. On the left side of the keyboard with the indicator lights, there’s a large area which seems to contain the main electronics. When touch typing and trying to hit keys on the left such as Shift or Ctrl, I sometimes end up hitting that blank bit of the keyboard. It’s a matter of practice and revising muscle memory, but it is a bit frustrating at first.

Design and Ergonomics

This is a roughly 65% keyboard with a split layout, which means keys are omitted to keep the package small. There are compromises, such as the omission of a function row and dedicated page up and down keys, but these are all accessible using combination key presses. For example, to access F1, you’d press Fn+1. For page up, you’d press Fn+Up.

The design has markings for both Windows and Mac keys, so either camp won’t feel lost. There is also a dedicated Escape key, which sounds like a strange call out, but some keyboards omit this key to make the keyboard even smaller.

To keep it small, the keyboard lays completely flat on your desk, with no tenting capabilities. The flatness means that you may end up placing pressure on your wrists on the table. This is not good ergonomics, and may make carpel tunnel problems worse. You can get around it if you have a decent ergonomic chair, and by adjusting the height of the chair and armrests correctly, you can make your hands hover over the keyboard.

The outer part of the keyboard is protected by PU artificial leather, and in my travels it hasn’t scuffed at all. 

There are also magnets between both sides of the keyboard, so there’s little chance it will open (and drain the battery) while you’re travelling. It works well and provides good resistance to accidental openings.


The Protoarc XK03 is supremely portable, and if you need the smallest usable keyboard possible, then this is your choice.

The keyboard is extremely compact once folded, and is only 1.3 cm thick, 19.5 cm wide and 14.3 cm high. It isn't just thin, it's very thin. You can easily slip it in your bag or even a folder. Weighting at only 400g, it’s easy to forget it’s there.

When unfolded, the dimensions are 14.3 cm high, 39.3 cm wide, and 0.6 cm thick.

The only possible call out is that this keyboard really needs you to use a desk. Because it folds, it does not do well on a lap. In smaller spaces, like on the back of an economy class table, you can place the keyboard on top of the touch pad to save some space, although this does mean you will need to use the TrackPoint for all your mousing needs.


Unlike other keyboards such as the Keychron K11 Pro (full review here), you can’t customise anything on the ProtoArc XK03. This isn’t a problem though, as the keyboard is designed well and it just works.


To start using, all you need to do is open the keyboard up and it immediately connects to your machine, with no lag or other problems. You can connect the ProtoArc XK03 to up to 3 devices using Bluetooth, and switching between each device is quick and simple. I’ve had around a month of use between charges, which is pretty good given its size. It also charges through USB-C.

In my daily usage, connectivity is stable with no dropped key presses, and it wakes up very quickly.


If you’re looking for a supremely portable split keyboard, which has most of the comforts of a desktop keyboard, this is a no-brainer. It is one of the few split ergonomic keyboards which has full sized keys, decent key travel, a layout which doesn’t require retraining, and just works. At USD 50, it is relatively cheap for such a quality build. It is the keyboard which I always bring on a business trip.

While you could use it as a replacement for a larger split keyboard, it’s really not designed for that, and I would steer you towards options such as the Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard (review pending), or the Keychron K11 Pro (review here).

Purchasing Options

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Buy directly from ProtoArc

To buy, click on the ProtoArc logo below. If you want 10% off, use the following code during checkout: KBBLOG



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K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: ProtoArc XK03 Foldable Ergonomic Keyboard Review: amazing for road warriors
ProtoArc XK03 Foldable Ergonomic Keyboard Review: amazing for road warriors
For the smallest, practical yet portable split keyboard, you can't go wrong with the ProtoArc XK03. It's perfect for any business trip.
K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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