Adesso Wireless IR Keyboard w/ 8 dir poi

INTRO
I was looking for a BUDGET wireless keyboard mouse combo unit for my HTPC. I wanted the mouse/pointer unit on the keyboard to reduce clutter as well as the convenience of not needing a flat surface readily available. Good luck at finding anything in the budget range! The closest I found was the Adesso Wireless IR Keyboard w/ 8 direction pointer model ACK-571PB (~$57 + Shipping).

LAYOUT
The keyboard weighs 1lb 5.5oz (with 2 Energizer AAs) and measures 13.25" x 6.5" x 1". The letter and number keys are full sized while the function, directional and other misc keys are half sized. The enter key is 2 letter keys wide and 1 high (just like a laptop). There is a windows key on either side of the space bar, and a laptop style number pad (superimposed over the letters on the right hand side. There are dedicated directional arrows as well as Home, PgUp, PgDn, and End. The 8 direction pointer is placed in the top right hand corner and is quite easy to use with the thumb or finger while holding the keyboard. The Mouse buttons are placed on the top left hand corner and just as easy to use. NOTE on the layout of the mouse buttons, there is a small button to the far left and a larger on farther in. The default is the smaller left button is the left mouse button and the larger on to the right is the right (sounds normal huh). During use I switched the buttons because I felt the big button should be the primary. No problem easy fix. YMMV
The adapter/receiver connects to your computer via the PS2 connectors and has a more than adequate 5ft+- cord. It also has several led’s showing activity, CapsLock, NumLock, and ScrLock.

USE
Two AA batteries (Not Included 🙁 ) power the keyboard / pointer combo. I set up the adapter and sat down on the couch ~14 feet away. This thing works like a charm. I was able to type with ease. Preliminary tests show the receiver to have at least a 45 degree field of view either side of center both horizontal as well as vertical. I did not loose any characters while typing at a fairly good clip. The pointer is quite easy to use and is fairly accurate. It only moves at one speed though so it probably wouldn’t be best utilized for very sensitive motions.

CONCLUSION
This was worth the money. Another $20 or so would have gotten me the ACK-573PW which is the same except white and has a trackball in place of the 8 direction pointer. Not worth another double sawbuck for the HTPC. I couldn’t find anything else with the same features even close to this price range. I’ll give it an 8 due to the fact that the pointer could be better if it was omni directional and variable speed like the "IBM style eraser" pointer. Plus a pair of AA’s thrown in on a $50+ keyboard wouldn’t break the bank. I’ve only had the keyboard for a few hours so I have no idea as to how long the batteries last. It certainly seems like a good value to me.


Added:  Monday, November 29, 2004
Reviewer:  Brian Cihak
Related web link:  Adesso Website