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Product Review: The Kensington “Keyboard for Life”

Posted Jul 07 2010 6:16pm

A while back I began working for a new client and had the opportunity to try out another ergonomic keyboard, the Kensington “Keyboard for Life.” It’s a slightly revised design of a standard keyboard, plus it’s allegedly spill-proof. I didn’t test the claim by pouring my mocha across the keys, but it sounds like a great feature. Who hasn’t spilled water on the keyboard, and watched in horror as the keys stopped working?

This keyboard, retailing around $14.95, is about equally priced with other standard keyboards. The most notable ergonomic features of the keyboard are its thin profile, easy-press keys, and slightly revised key design compared with standard keyboards.

If you’re looking for an ergo or spill-proof design, it’s always good to check out its design to see if it’s right for you. I found this one a bit confusing to type on at first but warmed up to it–here’s an overview of the changes:

  • The buttons are slightly tilted back, more closely matching your finger pads when you type. This is very subtle, and not immediately noticeable, but very comfortable.
  • The back space key is much smaller, which allows more room for the other top-row keys. Since I use back space all the time, I found this change a little annoying.
  • The insert/navigation keys are brought down toward the arrow keys, which have a standard arrow layout. This makes them easier to use than on most other keyboards, where they are usually out of reach.
  • The keyboard has a full number pad, like most standard keyboards.
  • Thin profile with a narrow edge around keyboard for easy reach–no need to reach far beyond the keys for the keypad or mouse.
  • Extra keys: wake up/sleep/power, print screen/scroll lock, pause.

At the end of the day, I’m not going to replace my current home keyboard with this one, but if I needed a new one to fit in a small keyboard tray, or happened to kill my current model by spilling on it, I might consider buying one of these as a replacement.

Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about the Kensington Keyboard for Life:

Spill-safe keyboard features sealed membrane design and limited lifetime warranty. Slim profile saves space. Sleek design black 104-key keyboard. Limited lifetime warranty and free technical support. Compatible with Windows 7, XP, Vista.

(I’m using XP, and no problems with plug-and-play. Not sure how it works with Mac.)

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