The louder a keyboard is the better... it's not a good keyboard unless your colleagues are forced to wear ear muffs!
I feel sorry for keyboards. Despite tapping away constantly at one, I can't say I give mine any regard. Fairly rapidly, so it seems, they get covered in reminders of our lifestyle excesses and tacky habits. And when our computers are to blame for something, its usually the keyboard that soaks up the frustration. Well, I'm going …
... those IBM clicky-clicky ones were the dog's. One thing I like to do when i get a keyboard is to swizzle the keys round into the Dvorak layout. It's getting harder with most modern keyboards because the keys from different rows are different sizes, or because some keys have nipple cutouts (GHB on a Thinkpad, frinstance).
They'll do you a hard wired Dvorak keyboard in PS/2 for about 50 quid (plus about another 20quid to ship to the UK.. best to get more than one - they're heavy beasts)
Either plug that direct into your computer or buy an Aten UC10KM or an Aten UC100KM to convert it to USB, and you're sorted :)
Not just the Model M, but anything with Cherry's 'blue' switches. Not quite as loud as buckling springs, but personally I prefer them. By Cherry's standards the one reviewed here probably is quiet, though I suspect not as good a keyboard as one of their more conventional ones with 'brown' switches.
A fabulous Mac keyboard with microswitches under the keys. I've never been able to type as fast as with this beast, but had to retire it when we moved to an open plan office as the clickity-clackety sound could be heard on the other side of the building.
It's USB with two USB unpowered sockets and weighs a ton. A really nice touch is that all the alternate symbols are also marked on the keyboard, so it's easy to find all those weird accents less fortunate languages insist on using.
You have to hunt them down in the UK, but if you're a Mac user who likes a proper keyboard they're hard to beat.
Yes the Apple keyboard works on Windows 64-bit, as long as your Bluetooth driver works on Windows 64-bit (mine's fine). Beware not only the horrific absence of a 'Del' key, but also no Home, End, Page Up, or Page Down. There are ways to fiddle these with Fn+various keys, but if you're a coder or even just a keen copier-and-paster your productivity will tumble.
My UK Apple wireless keyboard has a £pound sign, but the @ and the " are in the US position, i.e. shift-2 is @.
You can use the Apple keyboard with Vista/W7 64-bit.
In fact I have a Macbook here running W7 64-bit under boot camp, with a wireless keyboard to use when I at my desk. It works very well.
However, the issues (not mentioned in the review) are:
If you have the US keyboard, you don't get a £ sign, (as you would expect). The UK version has £, but no #, CTRL-ALT-3 works in most applications, but not Outlook 2007.
On the UK keyboard, € is CTRL-ALT-2 (and marked on the key), but again, this doesn't work in Outlook 2007.
Many keys are not in their usual PC places, which is fine when you're used to it, but a pain if you have to switch from one layout to another.
Otherwise, it's a great keyboard and I find it really nice to type on.
By far and away the coolest and slickest wireless keyboard I've seen is the Logitech diNovo Edge.
It's perfect for the living room PC, albeit a little on the pricey side, but works great with the PS3 even if I do use it with my Media PC (XBMC+MythTV) these days rather than the PS3
I had a Logitech diNovo Edge and it was an amazing keyboard and worth every penny. Shame I spilt coke all over it (It still worked, it was a little sticky though).
However, now I'm using the Logitech Solar K750 and I love it. The keys aren't quite as good as the diNovo but it was half the price and its solar powered (Charge has never gone below 97%). There's something strangely fun about watching the power bar go up and down as you move your hands over the solar panels.
I used to really like Microsoft keyboards but I was given a Wireless Media Desktop 1000 for Christmas.
Whilst it feels nice and works nicely, in Microsoft's infinite wisdom they've relabelled the function keys with little pictures that bear zero relevance to what I actually use the keys for.
To be fair, it does still have the F1..10 labels, but they are written in dark blue (on a black background) above the keys - so they are almost impossible to read.
I agree about skimping on the keyboards. I think it's utter BS that there's NOT ONE ergo keyboard in the lot. Check the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 (can be had for roughly the cost of the Apple keyboard) and it even comes with a mouse! I think the keyboards without a numbers keypad should have been docked points too. Especially if you're going for a "business"-type look'n'feel (yes, I'm looking at the Apple keyboard, among others in this faux review). Now, if you really want to quibble over not having a numpad, you can check out the MS Wireless Entertainment Desktop: the receiver is a USB hub, keyboard and mouse RECHARGE with the dock, backlit keys, power indicator, comes with a mouse, slightly ergo keys...only thing not to love is the MS sticker on the top (and the price), but should have been considered. Utter trash of a review IMHO.
First, the review doesn't mention what form of communication the keyboard requires, which is important when there's plenty of interference in the environment.
More importantly, they're all a bag o'shite. Quiet, spongy keys? Eww..
Here's 50p kid, buy yourself a real keyboard : http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/
Get a lovely clicky keyboard with a variety of layouts and can be customised to your personal needs. Buckling spring rules!
I have tried various wireless keyboards and mice in the past, and have now standardised on a Unicomp Endura Pro and a Logitech MX518 - both wired..
I got this keyboard for my TV setup and it's great, it's very very very light, easy to hold with one hand and type with the other and PERRRRRRRFECT for using with your TV pc, or 10 foot interface setup.
I use it with a microsoft wireless mobile mouse 4000, both tiny dongles and although I can't say much about the quality of microsoft software, the hardware is amazing quality, probably cause they buy it and rebadge it rather than build it themselves :) mwhahahah
When I first got involved with desktop IBM compatible PCs, my extended keyboard had keys in certain places that I got used to, and now instinctively expect them to be there. Any keyboard that varies from this layout such that when I know I've hit the key where the 'end' option should be and it ends up deleting something instead, should automatically score 0%.
Any wireless keyboard that forces one to buy a mouse with it, when one already have a brilliant wireless trackball, should automatically get dropped 10% for the manufacturer's damned cheek.
Does that affect your rankings any ?
Wireless keyboards are for nunces. I'll take my Model M any time of the week. In fact, I have it stacked on top of my laptop's keyboard most of the time. I like to pretend its broad masculinity is dominating the weedy effeminate Dell keyboard underneath. Actually, it's no pretence at all. This thing effing dominates alright!
I remember my first wireless (bluetooth) keyboard experience. Poxy thing kept dropping the connection at the logon screen and I had to plug in a wired one then re-pair it once in. Utter waste of space. Also, 95% for the Mac keyboard seems high. I just hope nobody goes and pairs it with one of their wireless mice - total piece of shit that drops out all the time.
The logitech wireless keyboard I've used for the last 2+ years only needs replacement batteries* once a year despite constant use and when the batteries are running low I get several days of warning from the indicator LED.
You're argument makes no sense, it's like saying that you tried TV just once in the 1950s but the screen was tiny, the picture quality awful and it was in black & white.
The lack of desktop clutter that wireless allows is invaluable to me, I wouldn't go back to wired if I was paid to do so. With my monitors mounted on the wall behind the desk with extending brackets I can put the keyboard/mouse in a drawer, push back the monitors and have a completely clear desk to work on if required. Polishing the desk is also considerably easier.
* Pair of rechargeable AAs
Your review focusses more on aesthetics and noise than how they feel when typing. Personally I'm not arsed what the thing looks like, nor whether my colleagues can make phonecalls when I'm typing (frankly if they can't, so much the better). What I am concerned with is can I still use my hands after a marathon of bodging code.
Which OSs are supported -- any chance of booting into Ubuntu or something and seeing what works and what doesn't, for example?
If you hold a key down in an FPS, for example, do they "get stuck" and need tapping again to turn them off? I've used a few wireless keyboards and they've all done that, but that was years ago and I'd like to know if they have moved on. I realise "serious gamers" probably won't touch wireless keyboards but it would be nice to know if they work OK.
At that point I realised how useful the rest of the reviews were going to be to me, given i'm also happily clattering away right now on a unicomp keyboard. Yea verily the spring doth buckle!
(Having said which, I also like and frequently use the current apple chicklet keyboards; somehow they make it work even for a buckling-spring enthusiast, when most others of that ilk are godawful. Must be that positive non-spongy feel they have.)
Not one split keyboard. While the two without a numeric pad would be fine, for as much money as the Apple is, there should be a separate one included. If these companies want to be innovative, then cut the price on them to something more reasonable. They haven't pushed any envelope in technology to justify the expensive plastic.
1. Water or soda-pop proof (kids) and not look tacky.
2. Make it easier to clean dust (or cigarette ashes from the neighbor's) from under the keys.
3. Keyboard with an adjustable split.
4. Built in universal remote for the stereo equipment... just sayin'.
5. An occassional color other than silver/beige/black (for the parents).
6. Built in mic for voice commands.
7. M.S. could integrate their Kinect into one.
8. Numeric pad that can be attached to the left side of the keyboard.
9. Encrypted pairing between the keyboard and the dongle.
For typing on it is *horrible*. Keys are too light, though even then probably not spongy enough for you ;-) feet are so small and the additional rake they provide so slight they're not worth having, especially as they tend to spontaneously fold up again, and the spacebar is so short I always miss it with my right thumb (which is what i usually use when hitting space) which completely destroys my touch-typing.
And yet I'm completely happy with it. After struggling with various remote apps I settled on that as a living-room controller for my XBMC box, where most of the time i'm just using the arrow keys, return and backspace, but occasionally need to type something in or mouse around the desktop (it has a built-in trackpad) usually when an enthusiastically-applied update goes wrong. It's very thin, very light, and comes with a handy recharging dock. Don't expect to get any significant typing work done with it, in its context it's just right.
Why you got a £30 cheapo Microsoft keyboard when the 'Wireless desktop 3000' is available for £36, I don't know:
I have a set, bought my parents a set, and everyone loves it. Good mouse, good keyboard. Uses bluetrack too. Pleasant keys is perhaps a bit loud for your liking!
My current device and very nice it is too.
What's with 95% for something that doesn't even have a piggin' numeric keypad? 57 quid for half a keyboard? I don't think so. Personally I reckon the best thing about sitting at a desk is getting a proper keyboard, the concept of buying something like a notebook board for desk use just seems, well, silly. ...
"A rather novel idea is the built-in trackball at the top right corner clever and with the two mouse buttons over to the left. It takes a bit of getting used to though, and wouldn't be ideal for left-handed folk."
Ahem, lefties that use the moiuse in the right hand have no problems with surfing and drinking tea, eating pizza etc. with the other hand.
(using an ancient Compaq wired keyboard that has a steel plate inside for us who tend to type with fists and forehead - I kill cheap keyboards very quickly)
...I've had the odd leftie colleague in the past who insists on using the mouse with their left hand and the keys the other way around; hideous. I'm a "normal" leftie who gets on fine with the mouse in my right hand.
To be honest, most of the keyboards reviewed here are pretty underwhelming. Why no Microsoft Arc? And the Logitech DiNovo Edge should be in there, along with the DiNovo Mini instead of that cacky Expansys thing.
All USB-dongle keyboards should work fine with Ubuntu, and anything really, and those I've tried bear that out, working with no issues whatsoever. You'd expect that, they just appear as normal USB HID devices.
Of course, as someone has already pointed out, the reviews unhelpfully don't clearly state whether the keyboard is USB-RF or Bluetooth; though often it's gleanable from the text or pictures (ie: presence of a dongle).
Assuming the computer has bluetooth, bluetooth keyboards should work too, but here I'm less confident. The only bluetooth keyboard I have is a revision 1 (3 batteries, not 2) apple wireless keyboard, and I had trouble pairing that with Ubuntu Maverick running on a Macbook Pro; specifically, the keyboard's LED just double-blinked at me and I couldn't find what that was about or any workaround that worked. Works fine with the same machine in OSX so it's unlikely a hardware fault. At the same time the Apple Magic Trackpad paired and worked instantly, so this might be an issue with the revision-1-ness of the keyboard I have, and the later, current, model may be fine.
The real advantage of wireless KBs is you can control your below-the-telly media centre PC from the sofa - but what's the point if you need a separate mouse! OK - a true ubergeek don't need no steenkin' mouse but Win7 is a sod without one and there is a SHOCKING lack of these on the market with one built in. I eventually found the Zippy RF 666 - there are others with more functionality but I frickin' hate touchpads.
At first I hated the flat keys of the Apple keyboards (and now others have copied them as always) but you get used to this fairly quickly -- and they're very easy to keep clean. In fact that was one thing I always hated about computer keyboards, use them a month or two and they get really filthy and are almost impossible to clean. The chiclet things though are different, just wipe along, clean again. Very nice.
it's great. By far the best keyboard I've used. The keys are the same size as a normal keyboard but it only takes up a fraction of the space on your desk.
As it's very thin, it means you don't have to raise your wrists off the desk to use it. It works with Windows 7 (on a normal PC as well as on a Mac).
I suspect you'd miss the numeric keypad if you were a counting type person, but everyone else will get used to it not being there.
Hard to beat the Rii Mini Keyboard - a palm sized keyboard with trackpad, backlighting and laser pointer built in. Great for the HTPC, particularly if you can get the earlier model with the larger USB receiver for better range.
Also handy for laid-back computer repairs, and for fixing customer computers where the kids have nicked the cordless mouse batteries.
If the keys are in the wrong place, how are you meant to use it? This is seen occasionally when for no apparent reason; the arrow keys and the block above them are rearranged for no apparent reason. Any touch-type will then keep hitting the wrong keys. Overall the keyboard is not really any smaller, so why do this. Avoid!
Unless you need to use a PC from some distance away I really don't see why you would want a wireless keyboard. Most spend their entire lives sat on a desk where the wireless feature is utterly redundant. However, more importantly, why are Wireless keyboards SO expensive? A cheapy media keyboard with a wire is £10. A cheapy wireless one is £25. A fairly decent media keyboard is £20. For the wireless equivalent you are getting on for £50 - maybe more. Bluetooth adaptors retail for about £5 so why the enormous hike? In terms of materials I can't imagine there is more than £2-3 between them.
Is this just a case of the sort of people who feel the need to have a wireless keyboard sat permanently on their desk also being the sort of people perfectly willing to shell out £50 for the privilege of said fixed-wireless device so the manufacturers are simply making hay whilst the sun shines?
I do most of my home computing sat in a comfy chair (or cross-legged on the couch) with the keyboard on my lap, but I need to be able to chuck it somewhere if a cat wants to assert its right to lounge. That can mean waving the keyboard in the air while typing, for those bits that the trackball can't manage. For this sort of use a compact ergonomic wireless keyboard is ideal, plus I can use it as a remote for music and video. It's also great fun if you plug it into someone's laptop when they're not looking, and mess with their input while they're trying to do something.
According to Amazon there are plenty of mid-range wireless keyboards (some come also with a mouse) from £15-£20, so your £50 price point seems to be way off - unless of course you're buying from PC World or Maplin.
Given that the price difference between a wired and a wireless one seems to be in the region of a five to ten quid and for the latter you aren't constrained by cables and don't get two of them snaking across your desktop, I can see how many people decide to pay little extra.
How can you have a review of a wireless keyboard and not mention battery life? Early wireless keyboard mouse combinations needed new batteries all the time, some of the newer models can do years on a single set, where do these fit?
What's the range like? What's the range like with people in the path between the keyboard and the receiver?
Bluetooth isn't a good thing on a wireless keyboard, it's just makes the battery last less time, it means you have to have a power switch, it makes attaching the keyboard to the computer an annoyance.
Only a few of the reviews mention the size of the receiver, I have an Acer keyboard and mouse that came with my revo. The receiver for that works for the keyboard and mouse and just protrudes from the port, you could leave this in a laptop all the time without fear of knocking it. In contrast I have a logitech air mouse which has a dongle that, whilst small, protrudes from the port.
Telling us which keyboards look nice doesn't make a review I can get most of that from the pictures.
You're right on most points.
Battery life is crucial although I'm inclined to think that as long as we're only talking of keyboards then batteries can last at least half a year without change (MX5500).
Mice on the other hand are hogs by virtue of their need for constant communication.
As for Bluetooth, I disagree. Bluetooth has proven extremely resilient in interference and has unbeatable range in comparison to alternatives.
P.S. You're right too on the dongle thing. Having snapped a couple of those over the years, it's become an important details for us clumsy people.
I disagree concerning the comments on the keypad. I got one of those MS Sidewinders X6 keyboards. It has a detchable keypad that you can plug in either side. I like it because I can detach the keypad and put in the draw. This makes my keyboard smaller. So really, its down to choice. My choice, no keypad :)
Given the productivity ability in these new fangled tablets (no keyboard) and mobile phones (no physical or really small keyboards) could you do a review of bluetooth, folding keyboards?
Love a real keyboard, like the one on an IBM selectric typwriter. There was a machine sadly killed off by the computer, even though many had a digital interface to hook into a computer. Mains voltage for a keyboard does seem a little like overkill!
Well it looks like when it comes to wireless keyboards Logitech has it sussed.
I've tried countless "wireless" and "laser wireless" combos only to be frustrated in no time.
Since the DiNovo and the bluetooth MX5500 I haven't looked back. They're both used right in the middle of interference central (Wireless router, 5 wireless cameras, wireless speakers, wireless DisplayLink etc. Oh, and a phone too) and they never miss a beat, especially MX5500's mouse.
I'm with the old-schoolers of haptic feedback keyboards with their wonderful clicks and old-school reliability design but that's out of the question on a wireless keyboard.
I'm using a Maxi-Switch 124-key model - has a double-set of function keys - across the top but also down the left-hand side like in days of olde. Also 5 programmable keys and four more for accessing other special features.
Anyone know of a company still making such a keyboard? Mine's nearing 20 years and I'd like to find a backup for it's eventual demise.
The Lenovo Wireless Keyboard N5901 seems to be a niche gadget that so far has been the best for my needs. While its not going to be great for a desktop replacement it has been a great "remote control" replacement for my make shift home theater. Fits in one hand has a smooth trackball and most of the buttons I wanted for home entertainment. If it had a mouse wheel for scrolling on a website it'd be perfect.
I do like the apple keyboard but only for a tablet addition. The lightweight and compact feature makes it portable, stacking the blue tooth to make it an excellent choice.
None of these could ever replace my aging 101 key PS2 IBM clicker (who is turning 21 this year!!!).
My PC is wired into my home theater and I use it heavily for gaming and multimedia. My logitech MX5500 has been absolutely fantastic and the keyboard and mouse or both responsive. The mouse goes 5 days between recharges and the keyboard goes 4-6 months without new batteries (so I have to disagree with the claim that bluetooth uses too much battery).
I switched from a corded G15 and G7 gaming mouse setup when I started using my system from the couch and I have to say, the MX5500 setup isn't quite as good for gaming, but it's still very very good.
Setting up a Linux firewall/RAID/server which is located in the server room (kitchen) - it wasn't running truely headless yet, didn't like all the wires (monitor, keyboard, mouse) so persuaded self that a wireless keyboard and mouse would be worth a punt. Purchased a Logitech MK250 keyboard and mouse set - because they were cheap but not the cheapest, and on sale.
Would suggest/recommend them for similar scenarios as the only time they haven't worked flawlessly was initially when motherboard USB keyboard/mouse support was disabled. This is in a potentially interference rich environment: in an almost direct line over the 3 meters between keyboard/mouse and the USB sensor/dongle are a monitor, speedy PC, metal shelving, sundry accompanying modems, routers, speakers and power cables, a wall, a fridge, a freezer, a stack of USB drives and the server itself.
For all the shiney/clickiness discussed here I'll take the one that works through walls during a reboot.
Any and all keyboards type whatever you tell them to type.
I live in Switzerland and all my keyboards are qwertz. They still behave and type exactly as a UK keyboard.
That point is only valid if you don't remember where each key is or what it should be under your preferred keyboard layout.
Give a tick for each category. Most ticks == best keyboard
1) Can it be used as an offensive weapon.
A good keyboard should be solid enough that you can grasp it two handed (right thumb on ctrl, left thumb on escape), and smash an intruder around the face with it. It should still be fully usable afterwards.
A good keyboard should be able to go straight in the dishwasher. An excellent keyboard can go in the washer.
When you press a key, there should be adequate travel (there should be enough space between keys, keys should not be small or hard to access) and action (the key should depress noticeably, and should reinforce that the key has been pressed with some sort of click)
4) Abuse (see #1)
A keyboard is your primary interface with a computer. Sometimes you need to show the computer who is boss, and should be able to abuse it by thumping the keyboard.
5) Durability (see #2)
Sometimes, you just don't have time to fix every little thing, so when the reports server has died, your keyboard shouldn't let you down, just because you've poured your latte/coke inside it.
tl;dr? Buy a Model M
Everything depends. As I use keyboard for work, not for a showoff, but I can do without adding ANOTHER cable on the desk, these are my (rather angry) thoughts on your reviewing piece:
Such a small Enter? Having to press two keys for a basic functionality? And with those unusable direction keys? Not to mention absence of numeric keyboard...
You have to be kidding giving it 95%.
That Apple cramped keyboard is maybe good for someone doing exactly nothing, as in operating their media center, but that's about it. If you like a cramped keyboard, you don't have to buy an additional one. That on your notebook will suffice. Come to think of it - if you have an iPad and a backpack full of iPad accessories, then...
85% with blinking blue LED? This is a showstopper. End of story. Maybe 10% for trying. Next...
90% with no space left above direction keys? HOW COME? This is a waste of little, but otherwise perfectly usable money...
This review is rubbish, to put it mildly. And if those authors, who write such reviews don't start to really think like end users, we'll be stuck with the crap we are served now. Actually, from those keyboards tested, only Fujitsu and maybe Logitech Solar are worth more than 60-70% for general use. And not by much at that (Fujitsu looks a bit better due to keyboard layout). Unfortunately, Logitech forgot how to make interesting and usable wireless keyboards with a volume knob.
I have had an Adesso keyboard (RF) for ~2 years and though I use it more as remote control/browsing on TV, it is amazing. Very reliable, excellent range and battery life (4 AAA). The mouse pad is great. It came for ~100USD I think. It has sleep mode which is interrupted by press/hold Fn key. Love it.
I cut my teeth on Sun hardware.. to me, nothing feel right outside of one of their keyboards. I like the keys resistance, the quietness - the little 'pucker' sound the keys made when typing. My presumably midrange Dell keyboard here is a rattletrap. I dont like all the clatter that comes from it when I get all frenzied with ill thought out rants and the 'I forget that vi command so I'll just repeat these keystrokes 100-times' moments.
I totally dislike the chicklet type keys/keyboards.
Is anyone making anything comparable to Sun?
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021