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I brought this keyboard as a present for fathers’ day for my husband; he had been industriously building himself a media centre to sit by the television so he could watch music videos, films, BBCI player etc directly from the hard drive and internet sites on the 42 inch TV and this was the last item that he desired to complete his project.
I logged onto Amazon and read a few reviews; the Toughball 2.4 GHz wireless keyboard with trackball mouse seemed to fit the description he had given me so I promptly ordered it. Unfortunately it arrived the day after fathers’ day, but this is a keyboard review not an Amazon review. My husband was thoroughly impressed with the look and feel of the keyboard and promptly proceeded to install it.
The keyboard comes with a USB transmitter that easily plugs into the USB port on the front of the media centre. You then install four AA batteries into the keyboard and then press the transmit button that it is on the USB transmitter a green led will flash and while this is flashing you need to press the id button that is on the top left hand side of the keyboard, the led on the USB transmitter will stop flashing this means that the transmitter and the keyboard are now synchronised (a little like synchronising paddles and other peripherals to an Xbox) and can now start using your wireless keyboard.
The keyboard is very compact about the size of a laptop keyboard and is ergonomically shaped to sit upon your lap. Even though the keyboard itself is quite small the keys are of a good size and my husband can type with his man fingers without catching other keys. The keyboard has a rubberised coating which makes it quite nice to touch and is not cold to the touch.
The trackball or mouse is situated in the top right hand corner of the keyboard, it is a nice size and is easy to use, the mouse pointer moves smoothly across the screen when the ball is manipulated. On the opposite side of the keyboard there are two clicking buttons that are your actual mouse buttons, the ball on the right side of the keyboard and the click buttons on the left side function as a mouse, there is also a scroll button on the left side of the keyboard this also does exactly what it does on a regular mouse, the set out of these function keys is practical and easy to use and really do make sense once you start using them.
A lot of the keys have dual functions as with a laptop keyboard, I think this is to keep the end product nice and compact as no-one wants a giant keyboard on there lap. There also extra function buttons or hot keys these are track skip buttons, stop, pause/play, mute, volume up or down for use when playing songs or films on the right side and a forward, backward, refresh, internet and a home key for use on the internet on the left side. These key are pre-programmed.
The only problem that my husband has had with this keyboard is that it occasionally it drops a few letters while he is typing, this is not a button problem but is due to the fact that the frequency the keyboard uses is used by a lot of other wireless apparatus in the house, i.e. the wireless phones, the home internet network, ps3 and Xbox paddles etc. this did cause my husband a few headaches while searching on the internet or typing on face book, he seems to of solved this problem by using a USB extender and blue tacking the transmitter to the dado rail therefore making it higher, I’m not sure how this helps but it does. The wireless range is really good, my husband sits at the opposite end of the lounge to the media centre and now has no problems (lounge 15ft) I don’t know if it goes any further as we’ve had no reason to use it outside of the lounge.
The battery life is really good, we have had the same set of normal power batteries in the keyboard for over a month now and the keyboard is still going strong and is used regularly.
Overall I am very pleased with the Toughball keyboard it does exactly what it should, I paid £40 from Amazon excluding delivery and it is well worth the price as it saves on having annoying wires trailing all over the lounge.
Product description: Ceratech Accuratus KYB-TOUGHBALL - keyboard, trackball Device Type: Keyboard Dimensions (WxDxH): 38.7 cm x 18.2 cm x 4.9 cm Connectivity Technology: Wireless - RF Wireless Receiver: USB wireless receiver Key/Button Function: Internet browsing, multimedia Pointing Device / Manipulator: Trackball Features: Scrolling wheel Battery: 4 x AA type OS Required: Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows NT / 2000 / XP Product Dimensions: 38.7 x 18.2 x 4.9 cm Item model number: KYB-TOUGHBALL