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21 February 2008
This is a review of two different wireless keyboard & mouse / touchpad devices. I looked at these after an older cheap wireless keyboard I had stopped working. The keyboard and mouse was used on a Linux computer in the living room, so that the computer can be operated from the sofa. Unfortunately the old keyboard / mouse did not work over sufficient range, especially the mouse.
I am reviewing these in the order that I tried them. I returned the first one as I was not happy with it's operation, but am continuing to use the second one. Either of these could be useful in the correct circumstances.
These were tested using a Laptop running Linux (specifically Vector Linux), and appeared to be compatible from a hardware point of view. I did not try any of the advanced multimedia keys. These did not work out of the box, but most likely could be made to work in Linux with a bit of tweaking.
The Advent Wireless Aluminium Laser Desktop consists of a separate wireless keyboard and mouse. The controller part was shaped a bit like a mouse, and was connected to the computer using a usb connector on a lead.
The keyboard and mouse are both brushed aluminium effect looking quite good. The keyboard at first look appears to be a full size keyboard complete with numeric keypad. The keyboard however turned out to be more comparable with some laptop keyboards due to the positioning of the keys. In particular the Enter key is smaller than normal, and the "\" key and "#" keys were moved onto different rows of keys. As a touch typist and programmer these are important keys and make it much harder to use.
When touch typing I also found that many keys presses were not correctly passed onto the computer. This meant that to use the keyboard required that the keys had to be pressed slowly and deliberately.
The keyboard and mouse worked a good distance away from the sensor.
As a touch-typist I found the keyboard frustrating to use and so returned it shortly afterwards. If you do not do much typing and don't touch-type then you may find it good.
After the experience of the previous keyboard I decided to try again with a different make. Instead of a full keyboard and mouse this keyboard from Keysonic includes a built in touch pad, and has a compact keyboard without numeric keypad. This meant that the keyboard is smaller (although a little deeper to accommodate the touchpad) and so is quite convenient to use.
The keyboard is silver with black keys. It doesn't look quite as stylish as the first keyboard.
The keyboard is compact with some of the keys moved around similar to the other keyboard. At the risk of contradicting myself, I think that it is acceptable on this keyboard as it helps in making the keyboard more compact, whereas the other keyboard was considerably bigger.
The keyboard still suffered with some lost key strokes, but not to the same extent as the Advent keyboard.
The touchpad works, but moves extremely slowly. It requires multiple strokes against the touchpad to move it a reasonable distance.