Sounding like one of those luxury gadget Xebec Tech iTouchpad Diamond keyboard's name conjures images of glittery, magpie-attracting surfaces and Apple-esque design flourishes.
Keyboard meets Commodore 64
The actual product is a more modest affair, with the only hint of Apple influence found in the fact that its reflective plastic shell attracts fingerprints like bees attract honey badgers. It bears a closer resemblance to a laptop keyboard that's been merged with a -- a Marmite look that, for better or worse, sets it apart from other keyboards on offer.
We found that its shape did present a few irks. While typing, your wrists are permanently resting on the keyboard's curved lower edge, which isn't an issue if it's resting on your lap, but can make for an uncomfortable typing experience after long periods when it's sat on a hard surface. Whether or not it will be the 'arch'-itect (geddit?) of its own downfall will depend on your preference for hard wrist supports.
Pencil-sized fingers only
Xebec Tech's attempt at squeezing in all of the buttons that you would usually find on a full-size keyboard has resulted in some vital keys being frustratingly small. Unless you
possess digits the width of pencils, you'll find yourself repeatedly
mashing the keys to the left and right of the space and enter keys. The
worst offender is the diminutive backspace key -- something you'll want
to rip out after typing up a long document.
The keys themselves possess relatively short travel similar to that of a laptop keyboard and are fairly responsive, though typing at fast speed resulted in the occasional key press not being detected if our touch became too light.
Above the keyboard are three LEDs -- the left indicates when the keyboard is pairing, the middle when battery is low and the right when it's recharging. Flipping the keyboard over reveals a small pocket to store the wireless receiver and a button to pair the keyboard to other devices.
What the keyboard lacks in pure typing prowess it goes some way to making up in pure, full-fat convenience.
It comes with a discrete USB wireless receiver that could quite easily end up in your dog's stomach if you don't keep an eye on it. Installing the keyboard was painless, with it being detected within moments of inserting the receiver on bothand . As it's designed for Windows, our MacBook Air didn't know what type of keyboard it was, but it worked a charm after we told it to adpot a European layout. Don't expect any Lion gestures to work on the track pad either -- not that it would be big enough to execute them with any finesse.