I’ve never given much thought to how important using a keyboard is. If one thinks about it, a proper keyboard should have a good tactile feel, minimize wrist and shoulder pain, and have some flexibility with the function keys.
I admit I’m not a touch typist, but I have mastered the hunt and peck style of typing and fully utilize the cut, paste and spell check combinations for successful clickity-clack typing.
I’ve been using the new Kensington SlimBlade™ Media Notebook Set along with the optional SlimBlade Media Remote. Let’s take a look inside the packaging.
The 3-module set includes a wireless keyboard, laser mouse, and numeric keypad. The setup was very easy. After inserting the batteries and the micro USB receiver – my two primary computers – the Apple iMac using Leopard and the Dell Inspiron laptop running Windows XP immediately recognized the modules immediately.
Here is the 2.4GHz wireless USB receiver that allows wireless connection of the modules within a 30 ft. range line of sight range.
I really like the flexibility of the keyboard with its separate components. Basically I can rearrange the set according to my needs and desktop space. There is a magnetic catch with a rubber tab that fits into the open slot on the right hand side of the unit.
So for accounting lefties the keypad can be attached on the left side or separated or not used at all. The left or right magnetic edge can be used for an optional SlimBlade Media Remote multimedia remote control, which is sold separately.
The keyboard is a real joy to type on. I like the flatness of the keyboard; it is only one inch at its highest point and 3/8 “ at the lowest point. It uses notebook style keys, which are basically limited-travel keys that allow for the reduced height. So if you like typing on a notebook style keyboard, the Kensington SlimBlade™ Media Notebook will fit the bill for you.
The layout is pretty straightforward. There are the standard six rows. The only change to get used to is remembering the functions to adjust the volume controls and the five hot keys at the upper right of the keyboard. At the lower left is a Windows and Apple control keys to accommodate the two operating systems.
The hot keys in the upper right corner are PC specific; from left to right is the eject key, media player (PC only) BackUp (PC only) Gadgets (for Vista) and Dashboard (for Mac) and Search & Organize (for Vista) and Spotlight (for Mac). The PC functions only work after installing the drivers from the supplied CD disk.
The only missing items are no LED indicators for the caps or number locks.
If space is a premium, the keyboard itself is about 13” x 6” x 1”, and the keypad measures 4 ¼ wide.
The SlimBlade feels very solid and has metallic titanium color finish.
The SlimBlade wireless laser mouse has a very responsive 360º scrolling ball. It has left and right click pressure points. Although it is not as tall as other mouses, the fit is good for either hand. The rubber strips on the both side add a subtle grip. Best of all, it tracks very well within the advertised 30 ft. range of the 2.4GHz wireless USB receiver.
The UBS dongle fits inside mouse for safekeeping.
One neat feature that about the mouse is not having to worry about turning your mouse on or off again–it goes into sleep mode when your notebook does.
The SlimBlade Media Remote module is sold separately at Kensington.com and is used to manage your digital media.
It easily controls Windows® Media Center and iTunes on the PC. The controls are self-explanatory – Volume Up, Volume Down, Forward Track, Previous Track and Pause. I had difficulties with the Remote recognizing Front Row for the Apple iMac running Leopard, so I couldn’t utilize the remote for the Apple. The driver disk has to be installed on the PC.It will support Windows Media center, Windows Media Player and iTunes in PC mode.
Overall, I really like the feel of the Kensington SlimBlade keyboard. It has a good tactile feel and very functional for either the PC or Mac. The batteries last quite a while with heavy use and the modules were always in contact with the USB receiver. As for the SlimBlade wireless laser mouse, it performed spectacularly with good precision. Other than the SlimBlade Media Remote module not activating Front Row – which I rarely use – it performed very well on the Dell. If you’re looking for a wireless keyboard set that offers great flexibility and with a small footprint, then you’ll will want to check out the Kensington SlimBlade Media Notebook Set. All in all, the Notebook Set is a very good keyboard that’s definitely worth your consideration.
Warranty: The SlimBlade™ Media Notebook Set is backed by the Kensington 5-Year Warranty and free technical support.
The items are available online and from www.Kensington.com
SlimBlade™ Media Notebook Set MSRP: $129.99
The SlimBlade Media Remote module MSRP: $19.99
What I Like: The small footprint, modular set up and tactile feel of the keyboard. The mouse is responsive and tracks well.
What Needs Improvement: Responsiveness of the Media Remote for Front Row