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Logisys Black Illuminated Keyboard

Date: June 21, 2006
Author(s): Jen McPherson

Do you enjoy things that light up? Well, how about your keyboard? Logisys recently released a line of new office keyboards. Not only do they offer much functionality, they also offer lots of purty blue lights.



Introduction

Keyboards. What would you do without one? Not much, that is obvious, for a good keyboard is worth its weight in gold. Yet this simple PC extremity is often a forethought when it comes to your PC, at least to average users. A keyboard should be easy to use with good readable buttons and a smooth easy press to the keys. Today there are so many keyboards that boast a load of features its hard to choose. Today we are looking at Logisys’ Multimedia Keyboard. What does it have to offer? Lets take a look.

First Impressions

The packaging was modest enough, typical green, with a large image of the keyboard and the familiar Logisys logo. Everything was packaged snuggly, nothing wiggling around the box, so everything was good.

After opening the box and removing its contents I looked the keyboard over, and being a typical plain keyboard user with no fancy additions, I was a bit intimidated. There were a bunch of buttons, the main keys were shinny and silver, and it was bulky compared to my current Dell keyboard, so my gel wrist rest wouldn’t fit in front of it, at least not on the desk I have currently.

There is also a slot in the back for batteries, though what that is specifically for I’m unsure as the pamphlet didn’t say. I believe they are for the EL lighting, but that’s just speculation at this point, because the EL lighting runs off the PC connection as well. I’ll contact Logisys to find out for sure.

Installation

Alright, first off I shut down my system and take out my good old keyboard. Setting it aside I plug in the Logisys Keyboard, which has dual ports, a USB and a PS2 port. After plugging it in you start your system up and then prepare to install the drivers which are included in the software. It states in their installation that the keyboard won’t fully function if the software driver isn’t installed properly. Yet it also states in the features that no driver is required for Win ME/2000/XP/Server2003 or later, except the scrolling function and the office application keys.

Well… I wanted to test those features, so I needed to install the driver. If I were buying this keyboard I’d be buying it for all the ‘hot keys’ it offers, and so using those applications would be a must have. So I find it ridiculous to not even use the drivers, otherwise you have a half functioning keyboard. Who wants that? Anyway, first you need to remove your existing driver, and so I complied. Put in the CD and wait for it to run. Install the driver as instructed, restart your PC and you should be all set. Look at the right bottom corner of your PC icon task tray and see if a Key Caps icon appears there. If it does now you should be good to go.

Yet for me, I had nothing but trouble installing this driver, even when it seemed so straight forward. I removed the previous driver as requested, installed the new one and restarted my PC. But, my OS kept crashing on me, and the system kept trying to open in safe mode. Eventually I got it to work, after several restarts, but I was worried that it had messed my system up something severe.

Usage

First thing I do is re-assign my hot keys from the application window, by clicking on the Caps Key icon. This launches a box where you can see what you have assigned to each hot key. So I put in what I want the keys to launch and finish. Pushing the button causes large green text to appear in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, telling me what application I’m launching, and then the program/link opens. Great, works perfect. At least one thing does.

Next I do some typing work, and most people who know me know I’m a pretty avid PC user and type more than average. So for the week I use the keyboard in my every day usage, typing in messengers, writing in Open Office and dabbling in my web site codes. Now, I’ve used several keyboards with all the PC’s we’ve been through in our household, but I have to say that this is by far the worst keyboard when it comes to ease of typing. I thought that maybe the keyboard needed to be broken in so that the keys would be easier when pressed, but they are jerky, and when you push on them the motion doesn’t always get registered because the key seems to ‘stick’ or jam, and so you end up making mistake after mistake in your typing.


Conclusion

If your like me you type pretty fast when your train of thought is flowing over, and even though spell checks can catch what you mess up on, the fact is that the keys are just so dang ‘sticky’ it gets annoying. Then you find yourself jamming the keys down just to be sure that your getting what your typing to register. When you type you want a fluid motion, a light touch and smooth press to the keys, so its not so hard on your hands. This keyboard was severely lacking. After the week of use arthritis was flaring and my finger joints were sore from having to firmly press the buttons, which would still somehow jam in their sockets, and the ‘sticking’ didn’t lessen after good usage like I thought it would. The keys were just an absolute horror to my hands and so I was not impressed.

The second thing I didn’t like were the color the keys were. The metallic silver was ok, and not so bad and they weren’t slippery, but the letters, numbers and wording on them were set up for the EL lighting, so they were clear. Well, with the lettering all transparent and the keys silver, from the angle you sit at your PC some of the keys were hard to read unless you had the EL light on all the time. Every time I tried using the EL light, my keyboard would lock up and I’d have to restart my PC. I have no idea why it wouldn’t work, for I did use the Office Lock Key to run the enhanced function key but it didn’t help, and so wound up working most of the time with the EL off.

Even with the scroll wheel there I didn’t really use it, since I use my mouse with my other hand. I think that the scroll wheel would be great for right handed people, but for me it wasn’t of much use. You can use it to open a pop-up list to access frequently used documents, applications, websites and so on, but again I found that its use wasn’t of much use for me, other than being blue and pretty on the keyboard. You have copy, paste and cut buttons there as well, which are nice when you are working at a fast pace, just pushing one button instead of the ctrl+c, ctrl+v is a good change.

I didn’t even get to the multimedia keys, except for the volume control which worked just fine. But the more I used the keyboard the more I got fed up with it. I did use my hot keys I set up, which were great and worked perfectly as described. My kids found a great use for the Application Key Zone, which they used several times a day. Now, almost every keyboard has a sleep button or turn off key that shuts your system down. In all my years of using my Dell keyboard not once had my kids shut my system down by pushing them, or put it into sleep mode, and believe me they hit every key they possibly can.

With the Logisys Keyboard my system was shut down on average three times a day and put into sleep mode more times than I can count using the hot keys. The buttons are in a spot that just seem to scream ‘touch me!’ and so kids do… and often. Now you could say that Why don’t you just shut off the enhanced keys with the Office Lock Key? I did. They push that button too, and my six year old learns quick which buttons do what. Its impossible to keep my children off or away from my system because it is in the living room, and they do play games on it, so for a person with little kids I’d definitely say that this keyboard is not for you. If you don’t have kids, then this problem wouldn’t be an issue. :)

Conclusion

After using this keyboard I must say that I am a little disappointed. If the keys weren’t so clunky in function I’d view it a lot better. The EL lights are nice though, especially if you have a system that boasts a lot of illumination, and in that case this keyboard would fit in nicely. I did like the hot keys, being able to set them to what I wanted, which was handy. The keyboard is large though, with a built in wrist wrest of plastic, so if you use a gel wrist rest like I do you’ll have to forgo it, for it likely won’t fit on the desk with the keyboard (and I have a small desk). Overall the Office, Internet and Multimedia Pro Character- Illuminated Keyboard does look pretty all lit up and gets points for its style, multitude of capabilities and price, but it doesn’t really shine in my eyes and so I give it a 5 out of 10.

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