Pros:Layout!! Also, sturdy, attractive, good ergonomic design. Good value.
Cons:Split space bar, limited documentation
The Bottom Line: Recommend to anyone who is looking for an ergonomic keyboard.
Since there are no reviews for this keyboard here and little other information available on the Internet, I thought I'd pass along my impressions.
Recommend this product?
I've got a little carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand, so when I typed on a standard keyboard for a long time my pinkie would go numb. I solved this problem years ago by switching to an ergonomic keyboard. I've gone through 2 Microsoft (MS) Natural keyboards. I've never entirely liked them, especially because of the navigation key layout, but for a long time there weren't a lot of choices. With the demise of my second MS Natural, I did a little shopping and decided to try an Adesso PCK-208B. Got a good price at Tech For Less, an Internet retailer you'll see well-rated here at Epinions that happens to be 10 minutes from my house. I'm glad I switched! I rate it 5 stars and prefer it slightly over the MS Natural.
I'll start the review by commenting on the basics and then turn to the advanced features of the PCK-208B. Some comparisons with the MS Natural are included because I am familiar with it and because it is another strong contender in the ergonomic keyboard market.
At 19" wide and 11" deep, the PKC-208B is a large keyboard, a little bigger than the MS Natural. It has a good heft to it and there is nothing flimsy about it. It is mostly black and the white key identifiers are easy to read. The multimedia and Internet hot keys are in a silver area at the top and the silver Power-Wake-Sleep buttons are at the far top right. There is a slightly recessed panel in the center bottom where a mouse touchpad lives on the model PCK-308B.
The main section has a split keyboard and is slightly domed. Being used to ergonomic keyboards, this is comfortable and feels "right" to me. For those who haven't used an ergonomic keyboard, it will take a couple of days to get used to it. My only complaint is that it has a split space bar and when I started using it, I often missed hitting the space bar. This may be partly because I have very large hands and also because of my years typing on the MS Natural, which has a single, over-sized space bar. My wife, who has smaller hands, didn't have a problem with the PCK-208B and now, after a couple of days, I'm getting used to it. Nevertheless, I give the edge to the MS Natural's single space bar.
The navigation keys are to the right of the main section. There are two rows of three keys for Insert, Home, Page Up, Delete, End, and Page Down. Beneath this are the arrow keys in a familiar inverted T configuration. This is the big advantage of the PCK-208B to me. The MS Natural eschewed this conventional layout, with three rows of two keys and the arrow keys in a diamond pattern. Hated it.
At the right end of the keyboard there is a nicely executed numeric keypad. This is angled in slightly from the navigation keys whereas on the MS Natural these two sections are parallel. Given the size of these keyboards, having the numeric pad turned in a bit seems a little more ergonomically sound.
The keyboard is connected to the computer with a cable that ends in a USB plug. A USB-to-PS/2 adapter is provided.
To conclude the review of basics, this is a well-executed keyboard; sturdy, attractive, and with a nice feel that tends to be slightly stiff.
Now, turning to the advanced features. As mentioned above, the keyboard has Internet/multimedia hotkeys and specialized power-sleep-wake keys. All work fine and I especially like the latter. However, here we run into a little trouble. My keyboard came without a manual. This was available for download from the Adesso website but it is only a couple of pages and it wasn't much help. The keyboard is plug-and-play compatible with Windows XP but hotkey drivers are needed for earlier versions of Windows. These weren't supplied with the keyboard but are available for download from Adesso.
The problem came with setting up the power-sleep-wake buttons. The FAQs at the Adesso website provide some basic information (e.g., how to turn the Power button off if you don't plan to use it) and got me headed in the right direction but I had to reference several additional documents on the Internet to get things working. Here are the steps for Windows XP. First, you have to make sure you have ACPI capability installed with your XP system. Then, there are some Power settings to check (e.g., enabling Hibernate). On my system (Asus P4S8X motherboard) the Power button can start up the PC when the keyboard is plugged into the PS/2 connection but not the USB connection. I had to change 2 BIOS settings. The first was to enable the "Startup with Keyboard Power Button" setting. My motherboard didn't recognize the Adesso keyboard, giving a "No Keyboard Detected" POST error on startup, so I had to change the BIOS setting to ignore keyboard errors on startup. After, that, all worked well.
In summary, I like the Adesso PCK-208B a lot. It is a sturdy, attractive product with good ergonomic design. The layout, especially the navigation keys, is a plus and the hot keys are a bonus. The split space bar is my only complaint and I've gotten used to it after a couple of days. A little more documentation might have made set up a little easier, but now that it is running, I'm a happy camper.
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Amount Paid (US$): 26.00