|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Cideko Air Keyboard Chatting|
|Posted by Will Smith|
|Thursday, 28 October 2010 21:57|
Two weeks ago, we looked at the Cideko Air Keyboard Conqueror, which featured a full QWERTY keyboard, and looks similar to a PS3 controller with analogue joysticks, and several buttons on the top/front. It also doubles as a gyro mouse or as wireless gamepad, and there are 4 programmable buttons at your disposal, which great for shortcuts like accessing media players, web browser or emails. All-in-all, we thought it was a pretty decent product for gamers and HTPC users.
Today we take a look at another Cideko product, this time it's the Air Keyboard Chatting. The name of the product is kind of weird, but that's what it does exactly ... it's a wireless air keyboard designed for chatting, and comes with ear-buds that has a built-in microphone. It's aimed at multimedia/HTPC users who use communication software such as Windows Live Messenger, Skype, QQ, or other VOIP software. If you don't fancy using the included ear-buds, you can use your own ... the device has a seperate 3.5mm microphone and earphone port.
The control unit itself is compact and light-weight, but not very ergonomic. Like the Conqueror, it features a full QWERTY keyboard but lacks the joystick/joypad and extra buttons. It does however have two buttons on the top of the unit to emulate left/right mouse clicks. There's also 4 programmable buttons which you can use for various applications. The device totally wireless and comes with a USB AIR dongle (with a range of 10m), and you also get a rechargeable battery that can give you upto 10+ hours of continuous use. It takes approximately 3 hours to initially charge the device via a USB cable, which is included.
In our review of the Conqueror, we mentioned that there was a lack of an accurate calibration system for controlling the mouse pointer ... the so-called air mouse. It's the same with the Air Keyboard Chatting. You have to rock the unit back and forth, as well as left to right, to try and "catch" the mouse pointer on the screen. It does need a little getting used to, but after a while you'll master it. Again, the keyboard is very small and the keys feels a little rubbery. People with large/fat fingers will find trouble typing on it.
Features and Specifications
For more information please visit Cideko's website ...
Cideko Air Keyboard chatting is a wireless keyboard integrated with mouse, earphone, and microphone. An ideal tool when you connect your computer to big display screen.
Verdict and Conclusion
The Cideko Air Keyboard Chatting is the kind of product that many of us won't find attractive. It looks like something from the late eighties. Having said that, I think it will appeal to most HTPC users wishing replace both keyboard and mouse with a single unit. It's compact, easy to configure and had 4 progammable buttons at your disposal. The lack of an accurate calibration system is one of its downfall ... you have to constantly wave the unit around so that you can "catch" the mouse pointer. I guess it just needs a little getting used to.
Build quality is OK, but I've seen better. The keys on the keyboard feel a little rubbery but they're pretty responsive. However, the keys are very small ... people with large/fat fingers will find trouble typing on it. And because of its size, you can't forget about typing fast on Skype/Windows Live Messenger/Yaho Chat and others chat programs.
Using the included earphones (with built-in mic) for chatting was acceptable, although the audio quality for recording (microphone) was a little poor. I would recommend you use your own headset or microphone.
There are a few plus points ... The Cideko Air Keyboard Chatting is compact, light-weight and will probably be ideal for HTPC users, as well as lecturers and even executives for boardroom presentations. No more fumbling with keyboard and mouse ... one single device does it all. What's more, you don't need any batteries either, as it comes with a rechargeable battery which takes an initial 3 hours to charge via mini-USB cable, afterwhich you should get upto 10hrs+ of continuous use. Like the Air Keyboard Conqueror, the USB AIR dongle is cleverly stored away on the left side of the unit.
Prices for the Cideko Air Keyboard Chatting is unclear, but after searching through the net, I managed to find one retailer selling these for around USD $130.00 (GBP 85.00), which to be honest is way too expensive. Given the choice, I rather pick the Air Keyboard Conqueror than this one. At least with the Conqueror, you can use it as a joypad to play games.
Final words. The Cideko Air Keyboard Chatting is probably ideal for HTPC users, wishing to replace both keyboard and mouse with a single device. Other than that ... it's a pricey wireless controller that does what it says on the box.