Our latest review comes courtesy of Adesso, the company was nice enough to send us out their new WKB-4000UB Mini Wireless Keyboard.
For starters let me say this review is going to be a bit contradictory. I know I know reviews should be clear and concise. Either you really like the product and how it performs or you don't. Reviews are supposed to be fully objective and not subjective. However when it comes to ultra compact devices I tend to be a bit subjective, thus leading to a bit of a contradictory tone in this review.
- 2.4GHz wireless RF technology with 12 channels (65000 IDs per channel)
- Wireless range distance up to 30 feet
- Compact layout featuring 87 keys in an ultra-stylish design
- Include power “ON/OFF” switch for increased energy saving
- Include “Connect” button for easy connection
- Include Battery Low LED indicator
- Include 2 AAA Battery
- Include Mini USB Receiver dongle (Dimensions: 1.65" x 0.75" x 0.25")
- Magnetic receiver holder on the back of keyboard
- Power Sleep Mode: 5 minutes (if not used)
- Keyboard Technology: Scissor Switch
- Switch Life: six million cycles
- Switch Travel: 3.0+/- 0.3mm
- Touchpad: 2 button Glidepoint Touchpad with scrolling feature
- Touchpad working area: 3” x 1.75”
- Dimensions: 11.75" x 8.25" x 0.8”
- Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Mini means small but maybe not small enough
The WKB-4000UB is by far one of the smallest stand alone keyboards I've ever used. Measuring 8.5"x11" this thing is literally as big as a sheet of paper. Netbook owners or owners of sub-compact notebooks would be more than comfortable typing away on this super compact keyboard but those of us that like full sized keyboards likely won't feel at home.
Now here is your first contradiction. One of the first problems I noticed is that its almost not small enough, and let me explain why.
The keyboard itself measures 11.75" x 8.25" x 0.8” with the addition of the 3” x 1.75” credit card sized touch pad and keys you get an overhang of about 3". The added touchpad might be a good feature for some but not for me. The placement and inability to change the sensitivity or turn it off altogether caused several issues with normal day to day use. The main issue was me accidentally brushing it with a thumb or palm thus moving my cursor to the mouse pointer. This was a major issue for me as a blogger and editing my blog posts.
In my opinion that is 3 inches of wasted space. I'd like to see the touchpad removed and either have the space used for media keys, a trackball or not used at all. Cut the keyboard dimensions down in size.
The touchpad is a great addition for some users
Here is contradiction number two. Personally I didn't find much use for the touchpad, actually I loathe the things and never use them, even using a laptop I use a mouse. In our previous review of the Adesso Wireless Media Center Keyboard we actually liked and used the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel had a much better placement and overall a much better feel.
Not being totally subjective I will admit that the touchpad on the WKB-4000UB does have potential. When used as an HTPC keyboard or in conjunction with a POS machine or in a kiosk environment they touchpad could be very beneficial.
I did find it very response and very receptive to input. Tracking was smooth and accurate with nearly no lag. Pressure sensitivity was a bit overly sensitive but not dramatically so. The buttons were decent but they were a bit noisy. The scrolling feature was a nice touch as it makes web page browsing a snap.
Superior range gives you room to roam
Testing the range of keyboards is always a challenge The range of today's wireless keyboards often extends further than a users range of use. This is one area all of the Adesso products I've tested have excelled in, they all have shown excellent range and the WKB-4000UB is no different.
In testing I often exceeded the range of 20 ft line of sight and had little to no issues with 10-15 ft through interior walls and even found it would work adequately at 8-10 ft through exterior walls. This extended range was a great feature and very unexpected considering adapter in tiny compared to others I've used. The range we achieved was wide enough to make it usable in just about any room in an office or small house coupled with its small size the keyboard proved to be excellent for typing on the move. Something I personally do often.
While its clear my review is a bit mixed the Adesso WKB-4000UB is a fairly nice keyboard. The range is great, the keys are nice and responsive yet fairly quiet. The overall look and feel isn't as bad as my review might sounds. The size certainly isn't going to appeal to everyone, as I mentioned I found some issues with it but that shouldn't prevent anyone that is looking for a keyboard that is portable enough to be stuck in backpack or briefcase from taking a look at it.
At $89.99 @ Newegg the price tag is a bit higher than I'd expect for what you get, after all other than being small it is pretty much a no frills keyboard. Nevertheless when comparing it to other mini-keyboards with similar features the price is pretty much inline with what you'd expect to pay.