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Some of you may know of how I have recently aquired a new home computer, complete with Windows Vista and the lot, but before I set my sights on reviewing something to the effect of my computer as a whole, I believe it is important to review one of the most important components of the whole package. That my friends is the Genius keyboard.
When it comes to keyboards I'm not really up with the brands, so I don't really know anything about Genius and whether or not they're a good or bad brand to have in your household, que everyone sniggering behind my back with comments of, "Oooh, he's got a crappy keyboard." Well, let me get one thing straight before even hitting the bulk of this review - this is a good keyboard. Lets face it though, all my reviews since returning to Ciao have been filled with potentially good products that have just not reached any high star ratings in my own personal opinion. Lets hope this can do better.
As you would expect, the keyboard comes in black and is a typical QWERTY keyboard (it's so fun typing that, just one letter next to another). All the keys are their typical size, with the 'F' keys and the such along the top being smaller and less fat. Every key is a pleasure to push, and very responsive, that is why I now use this computer over my old laptop when typing reviews - typing a lot just feels so much more natural on a keyboard rather than a built-in keyboard to the laptop. Of course things are quite a bit different to a laptop keyboard, as there is more space, and it may take me a while to get back used to a keyboard considering I haven't really used one since my days at school. Everything feels quite natural to me immediately though, I can touch type so I pretty much know where everything is without even having to think.
The keyboard has the typical three green lights on the right hand side of the keyboard, to tell you whether or not number lock, capital lock and scroll lock are activated. Another difference you get to my laptop keyboard, which didn't have the lights.. infact it didn't have number lock at all because of the size restraints. That's something I like about keyboards, they have the two sets of numbers for you to choose between which you press - the numbers along the top and the calculate like numbers to the side. On this keyboard the Ctrl keys have little white diamonds following the text, and that's something I don't really like but I'm sure I could live with. A rating to the first person that comes along and tells me the reason behind the little diamonds. The Windows buttons that opens up the menu list when you're on your wallpaper screen is very impressive, it's like brail for us lazy people as it has raised little circles on the key. These little circles have a glassy feel that is different to the plasticy feel of the rest of the keyboard, and inside this little 'glass' circle have the Windows logo. Lets face it, it's a white text on a black keyboard, how can you go wrong?
Genius' logo appears to be a little person, well at least it looks like a person with half their body cut off diagonally meaning they only have their left arm. There's a little circle above this little picture as well, so I presume it's a head that has no neck to connect it to the body. Not much of a genius if they can't get a picture of a person right, but it does look kinda stylish in a keyboard way. The text 'Genius' is written in is quite plain, and asides from not being written straight it doesn't have hardly any colour. The website address for Genius is also included on the keyboard, www.geniusnet.com.
At the top of the keyboard, the black colour gets darker and they are some hotkeys on a more stylish and smooth textured part of the keyboard. There are 9 hotkeys, however I prefer to navigate manually than to use these. They include; (from left to right)
MAIL - Open your email feature
STOP - Stop your display of Netscape or IE page
REFRESH - Refresh internet page
BACK - Go to previous internet page
WWW - Your preset homepage through IE
FORWARD - Go to next internet page
SEARCH - Open Internet Explorer search panel
MY FAVOURITE - Activate my favourite function
SLEEP - Turn the system into sleep mode
That is a quote of what it says each button should do in the manual, and that is all the manual is - so you might be in a spot of bother if you get into trouble with the keyboard. The rest of the manual is just twenty different languages, and is Genius actually an english company because I thought they would have been able to do better than the above on key explinations. The three keys on either side of the middle keys are circle (the circles get slightly larger as they move inwards). The three middle keys are the main ones you are expected to use, two of them are like arrows facing off from a rectangle button in the middle. Each hotkey has a picture above it that is supposed to help you remember what is what, like there is a crescent moon above the 'sleep' hotkey. The keys have a very rubbery feel, I don't think they're that pleasent to push, but at least you can take a positive from them being responsive.
The product also comes with a clip on hand rest for the keyboard, which is wider around the area where all the letter keys are - as obviously they expect your hands to be around this area for most of the time. Personally I don't feel the need for this attatchment, but it is the same texture as the bulk of the keyboard. On the back of the keyboard are two little stands that seem quite firm, they come out of the back so that one faces left and one faces right - it took me a couple of seconds longer than usual to find them because they weren't what I was expecting. I couldn't live with the keyboard sloping down like how it comes as default though. Overally, how could you go wrong with a traditional keyboard? Plugging straight into the computer and working fine, there isn't a bad thing to say about the one second installation process. I would buy Genius products again.