Enermax Aurora Lite Ultra-Thin Keyboard Review
As most of our staff consists of avid PC gamers, we tend to review a fair number of peripherals to suit that style. But with a look at Enermax's Aurora Lite keyboard, we're pretty well going in the opposite direction. It doesn't feature a bunch of gimmicks, but rather focuses on delivering a good typing experience and clean design.
You can read Jamie's full look at Enermax's Aurora Lite keyboard and then discuss it here!
Jamie, thanks a bunch for reviewing a keyboard. It's not often we see that happen outside the mainstream gaming keyboards. And yet the keyboard is my de facto computer tool, second only to the computer itself.
The price actually isn't that far off from what I see on professional -- typist if you will, or work -- keyboards a little all over the place. And I've payed more for worse. This keyboard seems to be all I usually want on a keyboard (with one exception below). The scissor key switch is always a pleasant addition to rubber dome keyboards. It gives a pleasant tactile feeling, adds some life to the keys as you well point out and... maybe a little known fact... also helps to maintain the low noise level for longer (simple rubber dome keys tend to become louder just after a couple of months of use). It's also a sizable chunk of those $60. The build process also seems to indicate a great deal of care in making a durable keyboard; not something you hear everyday about rubber dome keyboards. I'd always pay for that!
The one thing I didn't like: This irritating trend of reducing the size of the function keys. It's very clear from the pictures there's enough vertical space to have had made those keys standard size. It was just and simply a stylish decision. At least they kept the standard 4 key interval (some keyboards don't even respect that anymore). But still, function keys should never be smaller than regular keys on professional keyboards. They sit far from normal finger positions and require the most attention. Why this trend started and why it hasn't died already is one of my pet peeves with modern keyboards.
Yeah, the introduction of the smaller left-side modifier keys had puzzled me for a while, but these days, I find it hard to go back to the full size set. This is partly as a result of using, for lack of a better term, a screwed up design in the form of a speedlink keyboard. It' was not like going from a standard English layout to something like a Dvorak or AZERTY, but more to do with function key placement and size.
From the pics, you should be able to see that the ctrl and alt (it's well worn) are the same size as any other key. On the right side, you should notice a lack of ctrl key, replaced with the Del key - why? Because the Del key was replaced by the backlight key, lol. Yes that keyboard took a while to get used to, but i used it for 5 years. It's only recently I've had to ditch it due to poor key registration and general wear and tear.
The thing with the small sized Ctrl and Alt keys took a while to get used to. But a couple years later when i started to take graphic design seriously and making heavy use of Illustrator and such, those compact keys really paid for themselves, as strange is it seems. Maybe it was just familiarity with its idiosyncrasies, but when you have to stretch your hand over ctrl, alt, shift, space, Z, C, V and F for hours at a time in Illustrator, cramp becomes a massive issue. Those small keys meant less stretching. I didn't pick up on that till after I had to work in a print studio with the old style MAC keyboards.
But before getting into graphic design, why did i use it for so long? Because it was one of the lightest key responses I had come across, near featherweight. For some, it was insipid with no feedback, to me it was fine. I could type away on that thing for hours and feel absolutely no strain at all. I still enjoy using it.
A couple years ago, I knew the problems were getting pretty bad, so I looked into replacing it and actually picked up a german built Cherry keyboard, a bargain basement £15 thing, but with the laptop style keys. It was very solidly built, very surprising for a cheap keyboard.
But after a few days of use, I started to get fatigue in my hands and couldn't figure out why. Basically, it came down to the key response, while the keys didn't seem heavier at first, they actually required a fair amount of effort and over the days, it became quite apparent. So I ended up switch back again anyway and resigned the new one to a backup on the server.
Any new keyboard will require an adjustment period, and personal preference does play a major role. I know plenty of people that HATE these laptop style keys, not enough feedback for them. The problem is, they also tend to be deaf and love those loud typewriter style mechanical keyboards. Nothing says 'Office' more that the stale smell of coffee and 15 people typing away at irregular intervals with an orchestra of mechanical clicking...
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