Wired Internet Keyboard
V. Kappel, August 2004, send
by: VisiKey, go
to the web site
PC compatibles, USB or PS/2 port, Microsoft Windows Me,
2000 or XP
(wired model), $79.95 (wireless model w/mouse)
The VisiKey is an enhanced visibility Internet keyboard.
It has a standard sized QWERTY key layout, black
in color, with very large white key letters, numbers
and symbols (glyphs) imprinted with a high visibility
font for increased legibility. Most conventional
keyboards are visibility rated at 20/70 on the Snellen
Visual Acuity Scale. This enhanced keyboard is rated
at 20/300. All the keys are extremely easy to read.
In addition, the Internet, Music Center Controls,
Power Center Keys and the navigation keys are all
slightly larger buttons to accommodate the larger
printing as well. The navigation keys are also raised
and rounded and easier to locate and use by touch
to read glyphs (letters, numbers, symbols)
keys are larger, raised and very easy to use
glyphs are 4x larger than normal keyboards
regular keys and 15 hot keys for multimedia
and Internet functions
and USB connections
drivers included for older Windows systems
red LED’s for the Num, Caps Lock & Scroll
to read in low light conditions
The keys and return springs have a nice firm feel
with no contact noise other than your finger strikes.
are only a few features that could be made better. There
one height adjustment setting to increase
the keyboard angle in order to provide some wrist relief. There’s
no wrist rest and perhaps that’s a good thing as
we shouldn't be resting or hands or wrists when typing
and the absence of a wrist rest does make the keyboard
smaller and possibly somewhat less expensive. The biggest
problem is that the Backspace key is way too small. It’s
a regular key size. VisiKey made the Enter key extremely
large and ended up with room only for a regular sized backspace
key. This key is used much more than the Delete key and
most keyboards use a size almost as large as the enter
key. The little raised dashes on the F & J keys for
touch typists to confirm hand positions are also very small
and could have been made to run the full width of the key.
The keyboard is light which is both a pro and a con. It
feels plasticy and light weight, but it’s actually
about same weight as other standard keyboards.
Note: Some high-end ergonomic keyboards, e.g. Kinesis
Maxim, provide continuous fore & aft height adjustment
settings, but for the more budget minded there is at
ergonomic keyboard that lets you to raise the front
of the keyboard to provide a more natural and less
angle. We'd love to see VisiKey's high visibility key
design incorporated into a fully ergonomic keyboard).
Don't make the
mistake of thinking that this keyboard is just for visually
challenged individuals. VisiKey’s
initial target market for this keyboard appears to be those
individuals that need to wear corrective glasses (reading
glasses) and those that need to read large print books.
The company also claims that eye strain is replacing carpal
tunnel syndrome as the major complaint of office workers.
I believe they are right on both counts, but that they
also don't really go far enough in identifying all the
markets for this product. For example, this keyboard would
be great in schools to teach early touch typing skills
and if offices to help out those one- & two-finger
typists. The keys are very easy to see and read at a glance.
Game players who spend too much time in low light conditions
also occasionally need to use the keyboard and this one
definitely makes it easier in that sort of environment.
The VisiKey is easy to read by only the light coming off
the monitor. For gamers or road warriors who travel with
their equipment and need a full sized keyboard, this one
will also fit in a backpack and can easily be used in an
airport or at your LAN/gaming party. And of course, those
who actually have eyes over 40 years of age and must wear
reading glasses as a result will find this keyboard helpful
as well. It was designed to be easy to read and it does
the job quite well.
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