January 27, 2006
For the past few months I have been using the keyboard that came with the iMac as my primary input device. Through some nifty software to allow one keyboard and mouse to control two computers with dedicated LCD screens. The arrangement has worked very well for me except for the keyboard itself.
I find the keys unresponsive to my style of typing. There is not a good tactile feel to the key when it is pressed and I often mis-key as a result. In particular the shift key is problematic. I would venture to say that a third to a half of my shift strokes are botched as a result of the mushy keys on this keyboard. I have been looking for a new one for some time but two problems stand in the way. First, there aren't a lot of after market Macintosh specific keyboards to choose from. And, second, there are only a couple of stores selling them locally in which to try them out.
Last evening I wanted to try one that had "laptop style" keys thinking that since I was quite happy with the laptop keyboard, having a full-sized desktop model would be perfect. The clerk in the store was unwilling to allow me to open the box and try the keyboard in the store. Had he done so I never would have bought the iKeySlim USB Keyboard from MacAlly. Low profile keys work well on the smaller plane of a laptop keyboard, but on a full sized layout you have to move your finger father than you expect to depress the key. Also, they did not include any kind of reference mark on the "F" and "J" keys making it impossible to find the home position without glancing at the keyboard. The numeric lock key flat out didn't work at all. On a scale of one to ten I'd give this a three.
As for the store, well. they get a three too. Two minutes to allow me to open the box and test the keyboard there would have saved me the return trip I'll be making after work today. And, an in-store trial run might have caused me to buy one of their other replacement keyboards. Now I feel like getting it online or from the other local computer store.