|nMedia HTPCKB Media Center Wireless Keyboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Mat Thompson - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 28 August 2008|
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The top row contains the typical assortment keyboard shortcut buttons, like back, forward, home, Windows Explorer, Volume up and down, play, stop, etc. In the center is a low battery indicator. The keyboard itself is small and fits comfortably on the lap. A number pad doesn't exist on the right side, but exists on the keyboard overlaid the regular keyboard, like on a laptop. These can be activated by pressing the num lock.
The remote has a trackball in the center with left and right mouse buttons right next to it. The remote contains an assortment of buttons that function with Windows Media Center, but not exactly with other versions of XP without MCE. The remote also contains the arrow keys, volume keys, multimedia keys, a number pad and some basic function keys like control and enter. The remote is made of a plastic that feels slightly rough, like rubber, so that it stays in the hands better and isn't nearly as slippery as a smooth plastic.
The back compartment houses both the batteries as well as a small ID button to sync with the USB dongle.
The back of the box said that the keyboard and remote are driverless. As such, I plugged the dongle into the back of my living room computer without bothering with the instructions. Lo and behold, the keyboard and remote both worked immediately. It was, by far, the most effortless installation I've encountered with input devices.
Unfortunately, the trackballs in each device cannot be removed. This means that grease and oil accumulation in the trackball area can be a problem later on and may necessitate the disassembly of the device in order to clean the components out. Most trackballs (and mice with rubber balls) allow for the ball to be remove to remove the dirt, dust and grime that can easily accumulate.