If you spend a lot of time working on the road - for example, in hotel rooms or at a remote office - bringing along a portable keyboard, a mouse, and a laptop stand lets you position your screen, keyboard, and mouse at proper heights, making for a more ergonomic workspace. Matias' Folding Keyboard may work as part of your on-the-go setup, but a couple of quirks keep it from being all that it can be.

Bringing keyboards into the fold

As its name implies, the Matias Folding Keyboard's claim to fame is that it folds up for travel. At 475 x173x35mm in size when closed, the keyboard is chunky compared to Apple's Wireless Keyboard - not as wide or high, though quite a bit thicker - but is still easily packable.

When opened up - you slide a small switch to release a lock holding the keyboard closed - the Matias Folding Keyboard is only 0.7 inches thick but nearly 18 inches wide. This width, similar to that of some desktop keyboards, allows the Folding Keyboard to provide something Apple's portable keyboard doesn't: a numeric keypad. If you're a road-warrior accountant, this is a welcome feature.

The idea behind the Matias Folding Keyboard is great, but there's a serious flaw in the implementation: Although the keyboard locks closed, it doesn't lock open. When placed on a desk or other flat surface, it's solid and stable, but if you try to use it on your lap, the keyboard's hinge sags into the space between your legs - in other words, the keyboard starts to fold up - making typing difficult. (In our travel experience, few hotels have desks with a keyboard drawer, or desks low enough to make typing comfortable, so we often end up using my portable keyboard on my lap.) If the hinge locked in place, or if there were a couple rigid bars or slats that could slide behind the hinge when open, this wouldn't be an issue; instead, you'll need to use the Matias Folding Keyboard on a desk or place something rigid on your lap under the keyboard.

The Matias Folding Keyboard connects to your PC desktop or laptop via USB; unlike most USB keyboards, the cable is detachable for better packing. Matias also includes a thin fabric carrying pouch.

NEXT PAGE: half-dome keys