If you’re just like me looking for a reasonably priced space-saver keyboard and not in love with the aluminum creations of Apple this may be something for you. But make sure you know what you get.
In fact I went shopping for the cheapo from Logitech (Classic 200). I was already prepared for the different positioning of the Ins/Del/PgUp/PhDown/etc block by the earlier Microsoft ergonomic keyboard (well, buyng a PS/2 version was not the very smart choice from me), but to my great disappointment unlike the version pictured on the shop’s website it appeared to have a different version of the ‘enter’ key (I like a plan one, not the tall ‘rotated-L’ shape). Well, I do accept it on my MacBook, but only because I cannot easily fix that one.
Anyway, quickly looking around I have laid my eyes on (yet another) the Microsoft product. Well, gunny enough I seem to stick to their input devices with pretty good experience so far (ok-ok, Wacom being a very good exception :)). So why this one? It is smaller than a regular keyboard (with some sacrifices, see below), and yes, it has a ‘properly-shaped’ straight horizontal enter key. It is black (matches the rest of the hardware) and it is promised to be quiet (important when you have kid sleeping next room and you type with the speed of an average machine-gun :)). Moreover it has semi-flat keys (not really notebook style, but still lower than the regular ones where I loose my finders between the keys).
So what you get? A minimalistic keyboard (without a mouse) for about 16 units of the either US or EU money (depending on the country you’re in). It consumes little space, has adjustable height and regular placement of the arrow/numeric key blocks. It has minimal (useful) multimedia keys for play/pause/volume and (I wonder why Microsoft does this, but it is indeed convenient) a Calculator button :).
All is normal… except the top functional keys. These are half-sized (vertically), which makes them use less space, but also rather non-intuitive to find. I still have to get used to them but considering how often I am using them I am fine. Moreover, they ARE put into several distinguishable blocks which is way better than a continuous row of keys on a MacBook which makes me continuously press F12 instead of F11 (I am pretending to be a blind-typist).
Any other things? Well, for a quick typer this one is rather stiff one especially when you look at the flat keys which are normally tend to be soft. I didn’t expect this and since they didn’t have a demo keyboard or an opened one I haven’t tried it (well, do I have to try something under 20$/EUR? It is all in price… :)). Moreover, the keys seem to be placed rather dense. May be it is after I have used Microsoft desktop 4000 for years (well, at home it was using way too much space and I am spending considerably more hours in the office, so the choice was clear).
Finally, you don’t need any software, that’s true, but because ‘Mac is different’ you may want to download Microsoft Desktop software and e.g. remap the Alt/Windows (yuk) keys and make those multimedia keys do what they were supposed to do. BTW, I did have a version on my Mac for 4000 keyboard, but apparently I needed to upgrade to get this one working.
Conclusions: it does save space, but I would expect a bit softer one. It does match the black MacBook + Bamboo pen&touch, so aesthetically I am pleased, and while typing this review I would say it is OK to use (although not perfect, alas).