Thursday, April 7, 2011

One or two things about keyboards. [Part 1]

Yeah, I gotta admit: I am a programmer. Therefore I've quite a fetish when it comes to keyboards.

I simply can't work with a crappy keyboard, so I went through quite some lengths to find a good one.

First: No, I don't really hate a numpad... but if you have a limited workspace, like me, you will go nuts at least the 10000th time, you bump with your mouse on the way too big keyboard.

So you start looking for alternatives.
You might think: Oh, let's check for a wireless solution... probably something from a well known brand... not too expensive... and there you go with the Microsoft Arc Keyboard

Microsoft Arc Keyboard
First things first: It comes with a reaaaaally nice cloth thing to store it somewhere... kinda protective covering. I guess most people throw it away, but it was just too nice to do that, so I kept it. It is not a Bluetooth keyboard, so you get this little transceiver that is cleverly stored under the keyboard itself using a magnet. This can be a pro or con. If you still own floppy disks, don't put this keyboard on top of them.
This thing runs on AAA juice... not quite the money friendliest power-solution (at least here in Austria it isn't), but I haven't had to replace the batteries yet. (not bad, not bad)
So, here are the con's: It is one of those super-shiny-glossy-accessories that you will love at first and damn later, because it attracts fingerprints and smudge like nothing else... and a keyboard is way more difficult to clean than a touchscreen. Second, very uncomfortable fact is, that the keyboard is too flat to be comfortable for typing... It is super-portable, super stable on the desk, but simply too flat on the edges... next problem is the way the keys feel while typing.. I always hat the Impression there was too much friction while I typed. It felt like the keys would start to wear off quickly... not so pleasant. And here is the biggest downside: the d-pad or whatever that should be.
It is almost impossible to use. I guess it was designed for powerpoint presentations or something like that, because it is as userfriendly as the left and right click buttons on the Acer Aspire One A150.
Drivers are sometimes an issue too, so you might check if you plugged in the transceiver into a different USB port than last time, because sometimes the driver does not load and the keyboard does not work just because of that.
Overall: Nice try... It is definitely a nice keyboard, but not for programmers or people who write a lot... or that use the arrow keys to navigate. I'll still use it for XBMC... But coding? No way.
Uh yeah, before I forget, the price... It is about 33$ on or 33€ on

Second try: The infamous Apple Wireless Keyboard

Yeah I know... "Booo, you bought from the enemy!". I just needed a Bluetooth keyboard that is 100% working with my Samsung Galaxy Tab :-P
Of course it is fancy packaged and smells like Apple things smell... Pairing was easy and even batteries were included.
Yeah it has arrow keys... big plus. But the arrangement of the keys is different & "<" and "^" keys are exchanged (default mapping)... ok, I can live with that. It has a similar typing experience as the Microsoft keyboard... slightly better though, but not so much better that it would justify the 66€ I paid for it... and most annoying thing: no "DEL" key o.O That really sucks. and I mean really really...
I haven't had much time to test the battery-life though, so I'll probably report another time about that :)

So much for the first part... but I'll add a little information another time.

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