Adesso Wireless Keyboard and Remote for HTPC - Adesso Mini RF Keyboard Action

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Adesso Wireless Keyboard and Remote for HTPC
Adesso Mini RF Keyboard Action

Keyboard Package & First Look:

The Adesso 2.4GHz RF Mini Keyboard comes in a box big enough to hold a much larger Logitech G15 keyboard, and when I initially saw the box I didn't think the keyboard would be that "mini".  As it turns out the box was a lot bigger than it needed to be.  In the box, along with the keyboard were four "AA" batteries and an RF receiver.  The keyboard takes all four batteries and this adds a bit of weight to the unit.

Keyboard Box
Keyboard Box


The actual key area on the keyboard is about the size of a regular laptop keyboard.  The housing entire keyboard however is quite a bit bigger and thicker than that.  As you can see below, there is a an optical trackball in the top right corner of the board and due to the shape of the keyboard, this is readily and comfortably accessible when holding onto the keyboard like a steering wheel.

 Full Keyboard
Full Keyboard
 Backside & Batteries
Backside & Batteries

 

The keyboard has a nice underside contour that makes it very comfortable and stable to use when placed on your lap.  While other flat-bottomed keyboards will rock around on your lap, the Adesso WKB-3000UB is made for this environment.

USB Receiver
USB Receiver

Closer Look:

On the top corners of both the right and left sides of the keyboard are "mouse" buttons.  On the left side there are two - a right mouse button and a left mouse button.  Also on the right side on and the front is a scroll-wheel that mimics the function of a regular mouse scroll wheel.  This is located in an excellent position and is readily used when gripping the keyboard in both hands.  On the right side of the keyboard is the afore-mentioned optical trackball as well as a single button that acts as a left mouse button.  For light web browsing and other windows related tasks, this leaves the left hand free for quick typing while the right hand takes care of mouse movement and clicking.

Scroll Wheel
Scroll Wheel
 Trackball & More
Trackball & More

 

As we look at the top of the keyboard, we see a skimpy set of keys that are devoid of a number pad and a few other keys.  We also see a "FN" lock key that allows some of the keys to perform double duty as a makeshift number pad - much like many laptop keyboards.  Along the top of the main keys, are a set of multimedia and multifunction keys that can be used for everything from opening documents, your web browser, media player and more.  There are also keys to control volume, skip tracks and more.

 Mouse Buttons & Keys
Mouse Buttons & Keys
 Trackball & Keys
Trackball & Keys

 

While this keyboard is a little light on keys and a bit heavy in the weight department, it is actually a very capable and comfortable keyboard to type on - when sitting in front of the TV hooked to your HTPC or when sitting on a desk typing this review.  I've used this keyboard quite a bit over the past few weeks and while it's not ready to replace my main keyboard anytime soon, it still a handy replacement for day to day tasks.  The only major downside to this keyboard is the thickness of it when sitting on a desk.  If you're used to the think "zero tilt" style of keyboards popular on the market today, this keyboard will feel like you're trying to type on the side of a mountain.  That being said, key response is very smooth, quiet and for the little I've used it on a desk, it works very well.

 

Please keep in mind that this keyboard isn't meant for the desktop market.  It's too small, is missing some vital keys for Excel work and is a bit bulky for normal desktop use.  It's made for the HTPC and in this regard it works very, very well.  I wondered how hard it would be to get used to a trackball embedded in a keyboard for web, picture, movie and document navigation on the TV, but it is comfortable and really feels second-nature in a matter of minutes.

 

Final Thoughts:

If you've got a Home Theater PC, or any PC that you like to use as a media center, there are a couple ways to control it.  1) You've got a bulky wireless keyboard and mouse sitting beside you on the couch or next to your chair.  While these work, they are big, awkward and are not convenient.  You may also have a remote for some limited functionality that only works after you launch certain applications.  2) You've got the Adesso WKB-3000UB and ARC-1100 setup and are happily doing whatever you need to do with a couple of small, tidy, comfortable peripherals.  The remote control works wonderful for a host of Windows tasks - not just media center, and the keyboard is handy enough to use all by itself at a media PC or even to sit on a desk and use as a regular keyboard.  While the height may be a deterrent for some in an office environment, I find that it works great when placed on the surface of my desk instead of on my keyboard tray.  As I mentioned before, I've used it for a few weeks hooked to a HTPC and then on my main computer and have been using it in place of my regular keyboard.  Overall, I'm very happy with the key response and feedback.

On a desk situation, the trackball is not very handy, but this keyboard is meant to be used on your lap in place of a keyboard and mouse and it fulfills this roll very well.

Because these two devices complement each other so well, we are rating them together as a pair.  If you have a HTPC and you want to use your TV as a monitor for things other than just watching movies, you really owe it to yourself to pick up the WBK-3000UB keyboard and save yourself some hassle.  While you're at it you might as well pick up the ARC-1100 remote control for all other media related task.  It's a great combination that wins our Top Pick.

 BCCRating

 Top Pick

We'd like to thank Adesso for sending up this keyboard and remote to play with and review.  It will be the hooked to a HTPC for a long, long time I'm hoping.  Please post your comments, questions and feedback regarding this review in the forum at the "Comments" link below.