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WL Foldable Keyboard

No one size fits all in today's computer market. This is especially true in the area of keyboards, where there seems to be a model available for every imaginable task a user might encounter. The WL foldable keyboard that Geeks has kindly sent us for review is no exception. Looking at it several uses immediately come to mind. We will be testing not only those uses for which this keyboard seems uniquely suited, but several other everyday tasks to see just how versatile this keyboard really is.

WL Keyboard Box Closed

The WL keyboard arrived in a cardboard backed clear plastic package, which was itself inside the blue colored box you see below. This is probably overkill for a keyboard but it is hard to gripe at a manufacturer for making its shipping carton too safe. As you can see from the front of the box the WL keyboard comes in several different colors. The one we are reviewing here today is the clear version.

WL Keyboard Box Open

Specifications:

-Soft-touch, quick tactile key action, improved typing speed
-Light-weight and space-saving, roll-up for easy storage
-One piece pattern prevents dust, withstands splashes and moisture
-100% water resistant and key spill resistant
-Highly reliable membrane contact technology
-Silent/multi-language/colors keyboard

Usage:

At the top right of the WL keyboard are the three status LEDs (Num Lock, Caps Lock, Scroll Lock), below them is a small raised plastic box which contains the keyboard electronics. On the right side of this box, rather than in the middle like most keyboards, is where the PS/2 connector cable resides. On the left side of the plastic box are the three (Sleep, Wake Up, Power) keys.

WL Keyboard Back

Moving on to the rest of the layout, I am personally not a fan of the 110 key design on this or any other keyboard. To make room for all those seldom used keys too many size compromises have to be made. You want particulars? With this keyboard the left Shift, and the Enter key have been shrunk approximately in half. The worst offender, though, is the Space bar, which is so small that it should now be renamed the Space key.

WL Keyboard Front

Straight out of the box the WL keyboard I received was also virtually unusable. The problem was the typematic delay was set much too fast. While there are several relatively easy solutions to this problem, you can, for instance, adjust the typematic delay in windows, under the keyboard section of the control panel, you can also set the typematic delay in most modern BIOS for a more o/s independent solution. Unfortunately most casual users are not going to be aware of these or any other solutions.

I couldn't help for fun trying to recreate the photos of the WL keyboard being abused that are found on the back of the box to see if they are just marketing hype or if the WL could really do the things pictured.

WL Keyboard Rolled     WL Keyboard And Soda

It looks as if the answer is yes. Notice my great devotion in sacrificing some of my Diet Mountain Dew in the pursuit of science. [grin]

As noted in the intro, we will be testing the WL keyboard in several types of situations so you can decide if this keyboard is for you or not. Since there are several sections here I will try to keep my thoughts on each brief and to the point.

Windows/Internet Reasonably comfortable with the limited number of keystrokes required by general use applications in this category. Although the small control keys mentioned earlier are still annoying. Overall not a bad choice for a general use keyboard.

LAN/Gaming/Traveling Key layout issues are far out weighed here by portability in this category, as the WL keyboard can be rolled up to fit almost anywhere when traveling. The ability to be used efficiently on uneven surfaces is also a big plus here.

Extreme Duty Anywhere there is an excessive amount of liquid, dust, or grease coming in contact with a keyboard such as in a restaurant, laboratory, or auto repair center, the WL keyboard will likely find a welcome home.

Word Processing Lack of height, no adjustable typing angle, key layout, and weak key click feedback conspire to make word processing the WL keyboard's weakest area. If you do a lot of word processing this is probably not the keyboard for you.

Conclusion:

The performance of the WL keyboard is somewhat of a mixed bag. Although not well suited for some tasks such as word processing, now that I have used one I personally wouldn't want to use anything else for LAN gaming, or extreme duty applications. While you may not be entirely satisfied with the WL as your primary keyboard due to its shortcomings, it definitely has earned a place with me in my travel bag. It will also be going along the next time I attend a LAN party.

Pros:

  • Uniquely suited for extreme usage
  • Portable for LAN gaming, traveling, etc.

Cons:

  • Typematic delay issue
  • Key sizing and layout

I would like to thank Computer Geeks for providing us the WL Foldable Keyboard for review. This item can be purchased for $16.50 at Computer Geeks.

Added: July 9th 2005
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 7  
Hits: 9797
Language: english

  

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