The Casio CDP-S150 is one of the slimmest keyboards available under $500, yet it still offers an accurate piano feel (aka its key action, which we’ll discuss below), as well as excellent sounds and useful student/teacher features such as a duet mode for playing a lesson together. This piano lacks a digital readout, but adjusting sounds and other functions is still easy enough. The only real drawback is the lack of Bluetooth for connecting it wirelessly to a mobile device to use Casio’s Chordana Play app, which provides access to additional controls and features; you have to use the less convenient USB Type-B port for a wired connection instead.
Some of our testers (including me) slightly preferred the Roland FP-10 over the Casio CDP-S150 for its more authentic piano feel and accurate sounds. It has Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to a mobile device running Roland’s Piano Partner 2 app, but its physical controls are far less intuitive than the CDP-S150’s. Still, the FP-10 would likely be our top pick if not for the fact that it’s scarce currently. Roland told us that it expected more stock to come but couldn’t give us a timetable for the model’s return to general availability. If you can find one, pick it up. Otherwise the Casio is a top-notch choice.
Although the Alesis Recital Pro doesn’t sound quite as good or play quite as well as our other picks, it’s clearly the standout value. It’s typically about $100 less expensive than the Casio CDP-S150, and that savings is somewhat evident in the quality of the sounds that this piano produces. But thanks to its intuitive button design and LCD readout, this keyboard is the easiest to use of our picks. It doesn’t come with a sustain pedal, so it requires an extra purchase of about $20 to make it fully functional.
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