Beagles in Technology
Some time ago, my hyper little beagle dog was crawling under my desk while I sat at the computer. She does this all the time and there’s never been a problem before, but on this particular night she decided to check out the cables from my computer. The next thing I know, my keyboard cable was in her mouth, and she had it bitten in half before I could get it away from her. Shortly thereafter, I was on my way up to Wal-Mart to get a new keyboard.
I would normally have gone to Office Depot or Circuit City to get a new keyboard because they have a wider selection. However, it was a little after 9pm when my dog bit through the cable, and those stores had already closed. I had some things I needed to get done on the PC that night, so I could not wait until the next day for another keyboard. Trust me when I tell you it was with great reluctance that I even went to Wal-Mart for a keyboard, but it was my only choice after 9pm.
I ended up buying a Micro Innovations Keyboard, model KB565BL, pretty much because it was the only choice for less than twenty bucks. It was $19.95, and the only other keyboards that this store had in stock were some $50 wireless keyboard/mouse combos, which I certainly did not need. I knew what I was getting wasn’t going to be as good as a Logitech or Microsoft keyboard I could have gotten for a few dollars more, but I needed an immediate fix to a problem.
I want my money back! (1 out of 5)
This keyboard is heavier than my old HP keyboard, plus it is raised up a little higher so it is somewhat more comfortable for typing. It connects via USB, and Windows Vista didn’t need the included CD with drivers to make it work. This keyboard does have a bunch of extra multimedia controls at the top, but I never use any of that stuff so I didn’t bother with the extra drivers. I did notice that the Calculator and My Computer buttons did work without having to install anything extra, so that was kind of cool.
The layout of this keyboard leaves a little to be desired. On the good side, it has a giant Enter key, plus a slightly oversized spacebar, so it makes typing a little easier in that regard. What I don’t like is the tiny backspace key located above the Enter key. The backspace key is the same size as all the regular letter keys, and I’m used to them being double sized. On this keyboard it requires a little bit of an extra stretch to get to it.
The part of this keyboard that drives me nuts is the way they laid out the little grid of keys between the main board and the number pad. This is where you’ll find the Page Up/Down, Home, End, Insert, and Delete keys. On every other keyboard I’ve ever used, the Page Up and Down keys are on top of each other, but on this board they are side by side. Logically and ergonomically, that doesn’t make sense! The Insert key is also very close to the Enter key, so it’s pretty easy to bump on accident.
This is a pretty noisy keyboard, too. The buttons feel kind of loose to the touch, and the act of typing fast sounds like rolling dice across a table. I’m used to the more discreet keyboards that don’t announce to the room when you are typing something. Luckily, I’m using this at my home office so nobody but me ever really hears it, but I don’t like hearing it.
One thing about this keyboard that really aggravates me is that I sometimes out-type it. I type really fast, and this stupid keyboard is constantly just sending one key when I double tap, like when I am typing two L’s in ‘really’ or two M’s in ‘common’. I constantly have to go back and fix the mistake. This keyboard simply doesn’t perform. I’ve never seen one that couldn’t keep up with the typist until I tried this thing.
Ultimately, I will probably keep this keyboard until I find some excuse to replace it with a better one. It gets the job done for now, but the noisiness combined with the odd key layout and missed keystrokes just don’t make it a very good choice. As I mentioned earlier, it was my only choice at the time, otherwise I would have gotten something much better.
The KB565BL Micro Innovations keyboard currently retails for $24.38 on Amazon.com.