KeySonic ACK-340 RF+ review
The poetically named KeySonic ACK-340 RF+ wireless keyboard is an intriguing proposition. It's quite remarkably petite, looking in essence like the keyboard deck of a small netbook - a theoretical 8in-screen machine would be about the right size - plucked out of its parent chassis and made into a standalone product. It comes complete with a touchpad at the bottom.
Physically, the KeySonic ACK-340 RF+ keyboard is pretty impressive. The pleasingly muted, textured matt black surface is appealling to the eye and fingers, and the rubber feet keep the KeySonic ACK-340 RF+ horizontally stable on a desk.
Due to a slight disparity in the height of our test model's feet, however, the keyboard was unfortunately a bit rattly in use, with the bottom-right corner raised off the desk until nearby keys are pressed. We'd assume, however, that the KeySonic's planned role is as a portable controller for a living-room media-centre PC, nestled comfortably in the lap of a sofa-bound user.
In this context you lose the stabilising effect of the rubber feet, but typing seems slightly more comfortable. But only slightly more comfortable. The KeySonic's typing action in general is lamentable.
Writing this review on the device, we were shocked by the number of mistakes we had to laboriously correct. The keys are so small that you'd have to be an aye-aye to hit the right key with any degree of consistency; and the sticky action means you're sure to produce an alarming number of unwanted ddouble-lletters.
The geography of the keyboard will be highly confusing to anyone who's used to a full-sized model, too - everything is squashed in together, with no gaps to help your fingers find their way around, and symbols like the apostrophe are in surprising places. We found we had to look down at the keyboard while typing rather than at the screen, and this meant that our numerous errors went unnoticed until the end.
The touchpad, on the other hand, is really rather good. It can seem a little over-responsive at first - we had to slow the cursor speed in our system preferences - but we soon found it a pleasure to use.
There are some nice features here: you can drag and select blocks of text using only the touchpad, for example; and tapping its surface with three fingers brings up the right-click contextual menu. It's a good job you can largely do without the two touchpad buttons, really, since they're too flat for your fingers to find easily.
KeySonic claims a wireless range of 10m, and the KeySonic ACK-340 RF+ was easily able to reach this in tests.
There's a place for this sort of device, and that's on a sofa in front of a media-centre PC. The KeySonic ACK-340 RF+ is small and convenient for simple wireless-control duties, but expect to be frustrated by the tiny keys: anything you type will likely be absolutely riddled with mistakes.