By Andrew Liszewski
How often have you come across a gadget that was only available as an import item and thought to yourself, “hey! I could really use that, but the website selling it looks a bit sketchy and how do I even know it will work as well as they claim it does, if at all?” Such was the case with the Compact Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad we brought you a few weeks ago. A friend of mine thought the same thing when he first saw it, but since it was the exact thing he needed for his HTPC he decided $40 wasn’t that big of a loss if the thing was a total piece of crap, but it turns out it isn’t.
I had a chance to play with it this past weekend, and for the most part it works rather well. It’s a bit larger than even a classic Blackberry, but it’s quite thin (as you can see below) and it’s remarkably light. The keypad has a good tactile feel to it, though the keys could be a bit easier to press, and the touchpad is as responsive as one you’d find on a laptop. There’s also an orange backlight that makes all of the keys and their labels clearly visible even with no lights on, though the secret to turning it off, without power cycling the touchpad, remains a mystery.
On the bottom edge there’s a mini USB port which is used for charging its internal battery, as well as an on/off slider for preserving battery life when it’s not in use.
And across the top there’s a series of blue LEDs used to indicate various functions from battery life to connection status.
Now I won’t say this is the perfect solution for everyone’s HTPC setup, since doing things like typing out an email could get a bit tedious on its cramped keypad, but as a compact alternative to a mouse and full-sized keyboard sitting on your lap it’s really not a bad solution for just $40. Oh and I know they claim it will also work with the Xbox 360, the PS3 and the Wii, but I never had a chance to test that functionality out, so I still remain skeptical about that.