Is it time to replace the keyboard that came with your original desktop? Or perhaps the white keyboard that came with your iMac is so junked up that a black keyboard might be a nice alternative… The Kensington C170 Keyboard with USB Ports is the newest offering from Kensington.
This keyboard features three built-in 2.0 USB ports; one on the back and at the top rear along the back concealed behind a sliding door which also houses a mini-USB connector.
The ports are unique in the sense that a jump drive is positioned vertically, and the mini-USB connector cord offers close proximity for a digital camera, MP3 player, Bluetooth earpiece, or phone without fussing with an additional cable. The mini USB cable adequately powers any device hooked to it with ease.
When I load photos off a SD card, it’s a minor hassle to reach behind a PC or the side of a laptop. Having the port front and center is a great design idea.
The 1 ½” ledge is a perfect perch for my phone as well. It’s the little design touches that make this keyboard worthy of replacing the standard keyboard that came with my iMac.
The C170 keyboard sits flat with two rear legs that elevates the rear an additional ¾”.
It worked fine for me, however some typists may prefer a higher rear elevation.
I was impressed with the sharp and very responsive tactile touch of the keys. The keys “float” above the surface that should make for easy air cleaning of dust and the gunk that gets recessed deeply in most keyboards with deep molded keys.
The C170 keyboard is PC and Mac compatible with the appropriate OS function keys in the lower left corner.
Along the top ridge in the recessed well are quick hot buttons.
From left to right are keys for Eject (ejects disk for Mac OS X only), Search (starts default search engine); Internet (starts the default web browser); Media (starts the system default media player and Mail (starts the email application).
The sliding door slides from left to right along the enclosed groove by pushing on the raised Kensington logo and name.
On the right side above the number pad are the media keys with the usual controls: Previous Track, Play/Pause, Next Track, Volume Down and Volume Up which works nicely with iTunes.
Here’s the back side of the third USB port. With a simple plug and play USB connection, there are obviously no batteries to contend with.
If you’re looking for an economical replacement keyboard with a decent footprint of 15 ¾” x 7 ¼” that performs well, then I would highly recommend the Kensington C170 keyboard. Having the added USB ports, especially the mini plug is pretty smart. Reducing cable clutter on my desktop is a good thing to contend with. For only $49.99 list, it’s a great buy and added value of three USB ports. There’s a five-year warranty on the keyboard against defects and workmanship.
MSRP: $49.99 The Kensington C170 Keyboard with USB Ports is available online from Kensington.
What I Like: The responsive touch of the keys, built in USB ports, especially the mini connector and the vertical port. Works like a charm with any software or training for a special OS (even works with Vista!).
What Needs Improvement: Some typists may prefer a higher elevation that the ¾” rise.