Kensington SlimBlade Media Notebook Set Review

by Reads (14,961)

by Sarah Meyer

Kensington has released a new keyboard & mouse combo: the SlimBlade Media Notebook Set.  Sold as a total media package for your home office, the SlimBlade Media Notebook Set comes with a keyboard, keypad, and a mouse. To further enhance the set, you can add a media remote module as well.

I stuck with the traditional set (minus the remote) to see if the SlimBlade Media Notebook set would really give the user "total control of media and home workspace."

The SlimBlade Media Specifications

  • Keyboard dimensions: 13"L x 0.75"H x 6.0"W
  • Keypad dimensions: 4.25”L x 0.75”H x 6.0” W
  • Mouse dimensions: 4"L x 0.75"H x 2.5"W
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • 1 USB Receiver for all devices – 2.4 GHz wireless (30 ft. range)
  • Low battery indicator on scroll wheel of mouse & keyboard/keypad
  • USB receiver fits inside mouse to save space and power when not in use
  • Modules attach magnetically
  • 5-year warranty


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Design and Aesthetics

The SlimBlade Media Notebook set is definitely slim.  The keyboard, keypad, and mouse were 3/4" thick at their thickest point.  The keyboard is on the heavier side weighing in at 1 lb, 8.6 oz and that’s not including the keypad that weighed 5.7 oz. 


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I liked the color of the SlimBlade set much better than the last Kensington keyboard set I reviewed.   The base is a sort of metallic gray with charcoal gray keys but it does only come in this one color combination.

The keys were flatter than both my laptop keyboard and my desktop keyboard.  The keys were stiffer than my laptop’s, but were quieter. The keyboard is Mac and PC friendly and it comes with the signature apple and windows keys.

There are five pre-set hot keys on the SlimBlade keyboard.  They are located on the top right and are pre-programmed (once the driver is installed) to bring up your default media player, computer search, a back up application (PC only), Gadgets (Vista and Mac) and an eject button.  I run Windows XP so only the Search, Media Player and Eject hot keys worked for me and I was unsure what the back up application did since it didn’t bring anything up.

The SlimBlade mouse is a two-button mouse with a 360-degree scroll jogball (the driver must be installed for the 360 degree scroll).


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The mouse is symmetrical so it would work for left handed and right handed people.  It’s larger than the SlimBlade Presenter Media mouse I recently reviewed but has the similar rubber strips on the sides for better gripping.

The keypad is just a basic number pad that connects to the keyboard magnetically.  You can also add a SlimBlade Media remote to your notebook set for $20 that would connect magnetically as well.


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All three devices work off of one USB receiver that fits inside the battery compartment of the mouse.   When the receiver is stored all three devices go into power save mode.


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Using the SlimBlade Media Notebook Set

Installation was a snap.  Just pop the USB receiver out of the mouse and plug it in.  The keyboard and mouse worked immediately.  There is a SlimBlade Driver that you have to install if you want the hot keys or the 360 degree scroll to work.  It took five minutes total and the features were a nice addition to the set.

My biggest complaint when using the keyboard was that it had no kickstands.  I know it’s supposed to be slim, hence the name, but I was disappointed that the keyboard lacked just a basic option.  It also bugged me that I couldn’t figure out what the back up application hot key did, but maybe that was me having a technology impaired moment.

The mouse had good response time and the 360 degrees scroll is a feature I’m really starting to enjoy in mice.  I also like that you can store the USB receiver in the mouse because I know I would lose such a small receiver.

The wireless worked great and it lived up to the claim that the mouse and keyboard/keypad didn’t have to be in direct line of sight.  I tested both through a wall and had no problems (except I couldn’t see what I was doing).

The SlimBlade Media Notebook set is magnetically attached which is a neat feature but would have been better if the magnetic charge was stronger. If you picked up the keyboard and keypad while attached they broke apart.  Since the keypad only weighed a little over 5 oz., the magnetic attachment seems weak.

Conclusion

I enjoyed using the SlimBlade Media Notebook set.  It was simple, functional and stylish.  The two biggest flaws I found were the weak magnetic bond between modules and the lack of kickstands on the keyboard. 

However, I’m not sure I would recommend purchasing this set at its current retail price of $130.  You can find similar products, even Kensington made, that would be just as useful and stylish for $100 or less.

Pros

  • Slim
  • 5-year warranty
  • Flexible — can use if right or left handed
  • Compatible with a Mac and PC
  • Wireless works great

Cons

  • No kickstands/feet
  • Comes in only one color
  • Magnetic connection weak
  • Expensive

Pricing and Availability

The SlimBlade Media Notebook Set can be purchased on the Kensington website for $129.99 plus shipping.


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