Four hours ago I picked up one of these for my home theater PC (HTPC). I ended up testing it out on my laptop. So far I’m really pleased with it. In fact, I haven’t tried it out on my HTPC yet because I’m enjoying so much on my notebook. I chose this keyboard because I’m a ‘track ball guy’. Since the late 80?s, trackballs have been my choice of controllers.
Packaging was simple; the box, the keyboard, the receiver, a set of Maxell alkaline batteries (2 x AA), and a simple diagram of the keyboard. Once I had it out of the box, the keyboard actually surprised me. It was rather small, but it also had some weight to it. The aluminum-topped keyboard case looks great but the rest of the case is just plastic. it has a nice black finish that will look good on any coffee table.
I grabbed the diagram looking for instructions, but there really were none… and you really didn’t need any. Simply plug in the receiver into any available USB port, put the batteries into the keyboard, turn it on, and enjoy!
The KB008W-B Aurora Micro Wireless Keyboard will take a bit to get used to due to the fact that this is not a full-size layout. The keys feel crisp and clean, and you’ll know if you typed something wrong. They designers combined keys that are usually less-used with an added ‘Fn’ (function) key and are labeled with blue lettering, mainly the PgUp, PgDwn, Home, End keys. They also added functions that use the ‘Fc’ to control Music, Videos, Pictures, etc…
Above the usual set of keys (F1 – F12) are seven additional keys for various features like opening you browser, mail, zoom, volume (+ and -), mute, and a play/pause button. They all worked exactly as you would expect on my notebook.
Now was the part I was especially looking out for; the trackball. It is small… about the size of your thumb. It’s located at the top/right of the keyboard. It feels smooth and it is easy to control, even for it’s small size. The left and right (click) buttons are actually on the top/left of the keyboard. Those are controlled with your left thumb. Basically, you hold the entire board in your hands with your thumbs in position. It’s actually quite comfortable. More that I thought it would be. The only awkward thing I found is when you need to correct spelling in the middle of a paragraph; the whole ‘cut/copy/paste’ thing. After about 1 hour of typing, you get used to it and it becomes natural. Also, the sensitivity is set through the ‘Fc’ key I mentioned above. Press the ‘Fc’ key, then select either 400,800, or 1200 DPI. I would have preferred more choices, as the 400DPI I’m using is still a bit too sensitive more my tastes. I would have preferred maybe 300 or 350DPI, but that’s just me. To the right of the click-buttons on the top/left of the board is a typical scroll wheel. It, too, is also click-able.
Overall, it’s a great keyboard so far. In fact I’m using it to type this review. I don’t recommend it for gaming, especially 1st-person shooters. It’s definitely made for a HTPC or general computing and web surfing. It does exactly you would expect.
Rate – 8.5/10
P.S. I would have rated a 9 or 10 but there is no way to remove the trackball for cleaning if it ever needs it, and track ball sensitivity has only 3 settings. Also, I’d like th option of getting another receiver so I could take the keyboard from room-to-room without having to remove the receiver from the computer it’s already installed in.
Good job Aurora! It’s a step in the right direction.