Modtek Mini Flexible Keyboard

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Product: Modtek Mini Flexible Keyboard
Provided By; Xoxide
Price: Click here to shop at Xoxide

 

Introduction:

Today we have a look at a nifty keyboard from Modtek that serves to remind us that we all don't live in favorable computing conditions.  We're looking at the Modtek Mini Flexible Keyboard and this keyboard can be used in extreme weather conditions such as -40°C to +80°C.  It can also be used in dusty, gritty and acidic environments and even "Shallow Water".  Have you ever thought of typing on your computer while you're in the pool?  Then you should keep reading.

Box
Box
Full Bundle
Full Bundle

 

Features & Specifications:

Before we get into the review, we should quickly take a look at the full specifications and features of this unique keyboard.  The information below has been pulled from the Xoxide page and re-posted here for your convenience.

A miniaturized version of their full-size Flexible EL Keyboard, the Modtek Mini Flexible Keyboard delivers reliable performance in an extremely compact size. For use with your USB and PS/2 ports, this miniature black keyboard is easily transportable...just roll it up and take it with you!

Offering a reliable, water-resistant design, this Blue Modtek Mini Flexible Keyboard will prevent nasty dirt, grime, and fluid spills from wreaking havoc on your keys. Lightweight and easy-to-install, this flexible black keyboard is the perfect tool for various on-the-go jobs, and is ideal for use in hospitals, police departments, and of course, filthy college dorm rooms.

Features:

  • Cool Blue Color
  • Sealed Design (Prevents Fluid, Dirt, Grime & Acid)
  • Water Resistant & Washable
  • Foldable & Portable
  • 89 Keys



Specifications:

  • Dimension: 495(L) x 138(W) x 12(H) mm
  • Weight: 0.20kg
  • USB + PS/2
  • Switch life: 10 million life cycles
  • Operating temperature : -40° C - 80° C
  • 100% compatible with Win98/ME/NT/2000/XP
  • FCC, CE approved 

 

First Look:

While there really isn't anything too impressive with this keyboard it still deserves some time in the lime-light.  The keyboard isn't a full-sized unit and the 89-key layout lacks a number pad, but it is not meant to be a full keyboard replacement.  I'm sure that you won't want to give up your Saitek Eclipse II keyboard for this one, but if you do - well done.

Keyboard Full
Keyboard Full
Backside
Backside

It's impressive to see how thin and transparent this keyboard is.  It's a very unique look that is has the main electronics and controller located on the left side.  This left side also features a "Caps Lock" LED that we'll see on the next page as we take a closer look at this unit.

 

Closer Look:

This keyboard could accompany you on some weird travels and if you have a tiny cramped netbook keyboard, the Modtek Mini Flexible could be a bit better than what you've got in front of you.  As mentioned on the previous page it has a bright red "Cap Lock" indicator LED on the left side.  There are no "Scroll Lock" or "Number Lock" keys on the keyboard and therefore no LED indicators for these non-existent keys.

Caps Lock
Caps Lock
Folded
Folded

 

You really can't appreciate how floppy this keyboard is unit you've got your hands on it.  I'm sure there is a joke in there somewhere, but I'll leave that alone.  Below you can see the size comparison when laid in front of my Lenovo Ideapad S10e netbook.

Netbook Comparison
Netbook Comparison

 

 

Testing:

The best way to test a keyboard is to sit down and use it and in this case - abuse it as well.  I plugged in the Modtek Mini and proceeded to type a few paragraphs on it and compare the speed and accuracy of the excerpt with the smaller Netbook keyboard, as well as a very compact folding Bluetooth keyboard that I used to use with my PDA.  Overall, my experience with the Modtek Mini is not that great - for touch typing.  The keys feel spaced oddly and the space "bar" has to be pressed in a certain spot in order for it to work properly.  I typically press the space bar with my left thumb and the sensor position inside the Modtek keyboard seems better suited to right-thumb spacing.  Thankfully the "Shift" keys are doubled up and they are positioned quite well.  The backspace key is small and with all of the typing errors I experienced with this keyboard, I sincerely wish the key was larger.  Instead of hitting backspace, I often hit the "\" key - causing more errors that I needed to fix.

I'd love to see the "\" key moved up into the top row instead of the "Insert" key that nobody uses and in place give me a larger backspace key.  Aside from those shortcomings, the darn thing is waterproof.

Getting Wet
Getting Wet
Lots Of Water
Lots Of Water

 

While it was plugged in to a computer I had my wife dump a bunch of water on it while I took pictures. It never had any issues and I can assure you that my typing was just as poor on this keyboard when wet as it was when it was dry.

 

  Running Wet
Running Wet


Conclusion:

The Modtek Mini Flexible Keyboard isn't meant to replace your main keyboard, and at $20 it certainly is affordable as a backup/extreme keyboard.  It has a nice sealed design that makes it able to be used in pretty extreme situations.  The temperature range is impressive, and the fact that it can be used in acidic, dusty and wet environments give this keyboard an edge over many other keyboard.  A couple of weeks ago just before I recorded an episode of Weekly Tech Update I managed to spill a cup of coffee on my lap and my Logitech Wave Keyboard and both have never been the same sense.  If I'd been using the Modtek Mini, I would only have to worry about my lap.

Pros:

  • Very versatile keyboard
  • Can be used in harsh climates and situations
  • Portable - can be rolled up and stuffed almost anywhere 
  • Water/Sand/Grime/Dust-proof

 

Cons:

  • Non-standard layout/key sizes inhibit fast use
  • Small backspace key 
  • Takes an 70wpm typist and turns them into a 20wpm one

 

While this keyboard is nifty and has some interesting applications, for most people it is not the best alternate keyboard.  If you need something that you can stuff in your suitcase with your socks, this could be the one for you though.

BCCRating
 

 

I'd like to thank Xoxide for sending the Modtek Mini our way for a review.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.