Adesso Wireless Mini Trackball Keyboard Review

by Reads (1,085)

by Kevin O’Brien

External keyboards for notebook and tablet users can be a godsend if you use the machine at a desk. Even the best notebook keyboards are still more cramped compared to the feeling of an external keyboard, if only because you can move farther away from the notebook screen or monitor. Now for some users, just any old keyboard won’t do, they need something wireless. They demand less desk clutter, no visible wires, or just the ability to type 20 feet away from their computer because they can. This is where the wireless Adesso external keyboard and trackball combo comes in, streamlining both devices into one “handheld” device.

Features

  • Streamlined full-featured RF keyboard built-in 27mm Track Ball, with Optical Technology
  • 2.4 GHz radio frequency, 100 feet effective working range, USB port
  • 360-degree navigation, sleek and elegant design.
  • With notebook keyboard module enables handheld operation and effortless typing.
  • 8 different frequencies with 65536 IDs per channel.
  • Trackball resolution: 800dpi
  • Range: up to 100 feet
  • Compatibility: WINDOWS VISTA/XP/2000/ME/98SE, PS3, Anything that supports HID Keyboard/Mouse


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Keyboard Setup

Almost no setup is required; it really is plug and play like any other USB keyboard or mouse. It detects as a standard HID keyboard and mouse, and your operating system handles the rest. Compatibility was perfect with almost every device I tried the keyboard with; including XP and Vista, and my Sony PS3 back at home. The only user configuration that will have to take place is pressing the pairing button on the USB receiver and the ID button on the keyboard to link the devices together.


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Use, Addiction, and Withdrawal

This keyboard is probably one of the few items I have enjoyed as much as my Sony HDTV or ThinkPad T60. From the moment I started using it at the office it was like someone finally unshackled me from my desk. I could type leaning back on my chair with the keyboard comfortably on my lap, and still control the pointer with the trackball included on the keyboard. Notebooks are great devices when you need something portable for travel, but they don’t give you many comfort options when using them in an office environment. Having an external keyboard in general will help, but having something that works on your lap is even better.


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Typing feel is great, very similar to typing on my ThinkPad, but with only a bit more pressure required per keypress. Key spacing is about the same as the notebook, but it’s also designed to fit to fit comfortably on your lap. Mouse control is very nice, and it’s almost like holding a massive game controller in your hand. It’s contoured perfectly to fit your hand, and give your pointer finger access to a mouse trigger while your thumb moves the trackball. On the opposite side we find the scroll wheel and two other mouse buttons. One of the mouse buttons gives you the same left click ability, with the secondnd being a right click button. The scroll wheel is easy to control, with proper detents for each scroll click. Pressing the scroll wheel down acts as a middle mouse button click for tab control, which I feel finishes off the whole package nicely.


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After using this keyboard during the first day in the office, it was almost as if I was not complete unless I had it with me at all times. I ended up taking it home, and using it as my primary control interface just because the trackball was so much easier to use than my standard mouse. From that point on this keyboard has taken control over all my devices, and it’s even part of my commute to and from work each day. My backpack has a special spot just for this keyboard, and I would probably defend it with my life if necessary.


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About a week after its first use I had a complication with the batteries (included ones going dry, and my rechargeable not working too well) and my precious Adesso keyboard could not be used. As a substitute, or just through irrational thinking I tried to lift up my notebook and hold it like the wireless keyboard with less than stellar results. Even transitioning back to my regular mouse was a problem, feeling too slow and sluggish compared to the trackball. Thankfully I found better batteries for the keyboard, and was able to put it back into service.

Problems

Some parts of the keyboard did not hold up as well as I would have like. The trim piece around the scroll wheel popped off the second day, leaving some internal parts visible. It did not impact performance of the keyboard, but was more of a cosmetic issue. The next problem that drove me nuts was the rubber feet that always ripped off in my backpack. Nothing is crueler than a keyboard that doesn’t lay flat, and this was no exception. Since I could not find the missing foot, I had to steal one of similar thickness off a router of mine. Four additional times I had a foot rip off inside my backpack, and each time searching for the piece of rubber in my backpack or stealing a spare off another device.

Another problem I had resulted from worn batteries and the keyboard failing to send signals continuously. The trackball would stop moving, or various keypresses would have to be duplicated many times in a row. While it could be blamed on user error, at no time did the “battery low” light flash on the keyboard to say there was a problem. Replacing with fresh batteries or a fully charged set of quality rechargeable batteries fixed it, but it is still worth mentioning.

Conclusion

The Adesso Wireless Mini Trackball Keyboard is an awesome keyboard that made me rethink how I function around my notebook and other devices. Once you get used to having the freedom to move around in your computer chair, lean back while typing, or even typing from your couch, it is pretty hard to go back to your old ways. My only real complaint with this keyboard was the rubber foot that kept falling off in my backpack that drove me nuts. Overall it’s a great keyboard to look into purchasing if you are in the market for one.

Pros

  • Comfortable to hold and operate
  • Contoured for your legs when sitting down
  • Very good range (when batteries are charged)
  • Keyboard looks like something Batman would use

Cons

  • Rubber feet fall off constantly in my backpack
  • Dropped signal is only indication that batteries are close to empty


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