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Genius Wireless Optical Office Kit
By CPU-zilla
Category : Input Devices
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 7th November, 2003
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

The Keyboard

The Wireless TwinTouch Office keyboard comes in a silver/black motif with stylish curves and plenty of hotkeys. The standard 104-key layout that we have all grown very accustomed over the years are retained using solid black keys with white printed letterings. While the keys certainly look attractive and easy to read, the printed characters may fade under prolonged usage. This is because the keys are not laser-etched like some of the more expensive specialized keyboards. In addition, dirt and grime are also typical enemies of such keyboards (it's easier for the white letterings to turn black) although they could be quickly remedied with a good dose of detergent and water.

On the left side of the keyboard, you'll find a handy scroll wheel with two hotkeys. The scroll wheel allows one to scroll through documents or web pages, similar in function to the wheel on the mouse. In addition to that, depressing the scroll will bring up an application switching window which allows you to switch between opened windows without ever using the mouse. It's a handy function if you intend to type off your desk and when you do not have your pointing device near you. The other two hotkeys located nearby points to your Excel and Word applications. Since this is an 'Office' keyboard, we don't think there's a need to explain what these hotkeys actually mean.

The keyboard's scroll wheel and office application hotkeys.

On the top left corner of the keyboard, above and between the ESC and F4 keys, you'll find keys that lets you control your audio and media players. We find these keys very useful as it's almost like bringing the function keys of your CD player to the keyboard. Although using the mouse to point and click will help one achieve the same result fairly quickly, these keys give you instantaneous access. The Media key can support various types of media player including Microsoft Deluxe CD Player, Windows Media Player, Winamp 3 and Creative CD. Unfortunately, the Media key cannot be configured to support other players since the play, pause, stop, forward and rewind key assignments have to be specifically configured through the keyboard's drivers.

Hotkeys to control your media applications.

Located right on top and in the center of the keyboard, you'll find hotkeys that enhances your web surfing experience. You'll find the E-mail, Stop (cancel loading web page button, and not your media player's stop button), Refresh, Back, WWW, Forward, Search and Favorites hotkeys. You can configure the E-mail hotkey to immediately launch the emailer of choice (pre-programmed are Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Hotmail) or assign an application by pointing it to the application in your Program Files directory. Similarly, the WWW hotkey can also be assigned to other types of applications or web browsers. Beside the Favorites hotkey to the right, you'll find the Sleep hotkey which can bring your PC to the suspend mode. We wonder why it's placed there as it definitely didn't look like it belonged there.

Hotkeys for surfing and navigating the Internet (and also a Sleep hotkey).

You can configure the keyboard's hotkeys and various functions through the driver.

If necessary, you can always change one of the pre-assigned keys to launch your preferred applications. In this case, launching CounterStrike with the My Computer hotkey would be an ideal choice for certain gamers.

Finally, above the PrtScr and Scoll Lock keys, you'll find the Calculator and My Computer hotkeys. Again, you can always assign other functions to these key - such as opening an application, or a web site or a specific menu.

Hotkeys for Calculator and My Computer.

Overall, we quite like the look and feel of the keyboard. The pitch of the keys felt just right, and there are no complains with the tactile feel of it. The only gripe we have with the Genius wireless keyboard lies with its less-than-impressive hotkeys, where its rubbery material gave it a very "cheap" look and feel - especially when it's prone to trap dust particles. Truly the only blemish in an otherwise impressive keyboard.

Dirt and dust just love to stick onto these rubber hotkeys.

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