Uncanny valley of keyboards: Do small keys bother you?
How important is a keyboard to you when buying an ultraportable, and do fuller keys make you happier? In reviewing Lenovo's latest Netbooks, we began to wonder.
In testing Lenovo's
Whileamong Netbook owners, keyboard size and comfort hasn't as much. And, to a degree, it's the only true factor differentiating smartphones and Netbooks as far as interface is concerned. The real advantage to Netbooks is that you can type on them, like a laptop. But here's the question: are almost-regular size keyboards more difficult to use than intentionally small keyboards on MIDs and smartphones? Click through to hear us out.
Even though any Netbook keyboard is better in theory than any smartphone keyboard, slightly-smaller-than-full-size keyboards provoke a strange effect on prolonged typing. Fingers can get cramped, hands tired, and keyboard errors are made more often. We found that it's just when we begin to relax when the problems begin, because our fingers are ready to go into touch-typing mode, where we know key positions based entirely on sense memory. Being, for instance, 80 percent full-size means we overshoot, and lose a feel for where we are.
I'll go ahead and speak from personal experience. On significantly smaller keyboards, such as my
Perhaps I'm overthinking this, or failing to appreciate the fact that affordable tiny laptops with functional keyboards are even available at all (I remember, once upon a time, when rigging a folding keyboard to a Palm Vx was my idea of ultimate portability). Anyway, do you feel this way about keyboards? Or am I just spoiled from seeing too many laptops and Netbooks? Is any keyboard, no matter what the size, sufficient? In short, which would you rather have: a small Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 Netbook with a smaller-than-normal keyboard, or a larger, more typing-friendly Lenovo IdeaPad 12?