In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Rapoo E9090P Wireless Illuminated Keyboard with Touchpad
This slim keyboard has a solid build quality, features a backlight, and can be charged without wires
- Solid build quality and firm keys
- Wireless charging
- Touchpad can sometimes get in the way while typing
- Touchpad can't be disabled
Price$ 109.00 (AUD)
Rapoo's 7mm thick, E9090P wireless keyboard features a 101x110mm touchpad on the right side, making it a good model to consider if you want to control a media centre computer from the comfort of your lounge.
It adds a bit of convenience that we haven't seen in other Rapoo keyboards of this ilk: it's backlit, and it has a built-in battery that can be charged via a wireless pad, rather than a cable.
You can simply rest the keyboard on the pad to charge it via induction, so you can forget about fiddling with wires, at least on the keyboard side of things. You just need to keep the charging pad plugged in to a USB port on your computer, and leave it lying somewhere that's easy for the keyboard to rest on when it comes time to charge.
A wide notch on the underside of the keyboard is where the battery charger needs to rest, and the pad needs to sit perfectly inside this notch in order to work properly.
There is a little indicator light on the charging pad to let you know the status of the battery (it flashes red when it's charging), but it's not full-time, meaning you only see it when you first rest the keyboard on the pad. Likewise, there aren't any full-time indicator lights on the keyboard itself. You only see a green wireless symbol come on just above the touchpad every time you hit a key. There is no indicator for Caps Lock.
As it's a wireless keyboard, but not a Bluetooth keyboard, a receiver needs to be plugged in to the computer on which you want to use the keyboard -- it's only for Windows operating systems (XP, Vista, 7, and 8). It's a tiny receiver (Rapoo calls it a Nano receiver) that allows the keyboard to connect at a frequency of 5.8GHz, and it could be easy to lose if it's not plugged in to a computer.
We think there should be a place on the keyboard itself where the receiver can be stored when not in use. On previous models that had an accessible battery compartment, there was a space to place the receiver. You're better off leaving the receiver plugged in, even when it's not in use, as long as you have spare USB ports to go around.
The user comfort of the keyboard is good overall. It's a 7mm thick keyboard (though it's thicker at the rear where the battery and charging circuitry resides) that feels solidly built, and it's heavier than it looks. A metal construction provides plenty of rigidity and is also the reason for the keyboard's stability. The keyboard tray doesn't flex, and the chiclet keys that sit in it are firm and responsive. On a desk, the rubber stops on the bottom ensure that the keyboard won't move around as you type.
They aren't entirely soft keys, meaning you can feel a bit of a 'click' in their scissor mechanism as they pressed down for the 2mm distance that they need to travel in order to leave their mark. At first, they can feel a little jarring, but after long typing sessions you can get used to this and adjust for it with the amount of pressure that you apply in your hits. In the end, the typing experience on this keyboard turned out to be an enjoyable one for us, as well as an accurate one, and the keys didn't make too much noise unless we really pounded down on them.
We like the inclusion of the backlight. It's a white light that can be switched on by pressing the Fn-Tab key combination, and it can be used in one of two intensities. The light switches off on its own after the keyboard has been idle for 20sec.
The only thing you need to be aware of while typing is the touchpad. We had a natural tendency to veer over towards it when using the arrow keys or the Delete key, and on numerous occasions we brushed it accidentally. This caused the cursor to fly off to the top of documents, sometimes making us delete text. We couldn't find a way to disable the touchpad via a key combination, nor could we see a way to turn it off in the keyboard's utility software.
We found the touchpad to be accurate and responsive, and it supported all of our favourite gestures straight out of the box: two-finger scrolling (in the traditional direction, rather than reversed, and this couldn't be changed in the software during our tests), three-finger swipes, and two-finger taps. It's not a 'clickpad' type of touchpad, meaning you can't press down on it for left- or right-click functions, but there is a virtual zone at the bottom that you can tap on for right-clicking (or you can just two-finger tap anywhere to perform the same function).
Pick up this wireless keyboard if you want something with a touchpad that can allow you to control a Windows-based media centre computer from afar, or simply if you want to save space on your desk and consolidate the keyboard and mouse in one unit. It's a solidly built product with a useful backlight, and we like the inclusion of wireless charging, which adds plenty of convenience.
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