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Koribo "Mini" Wireless Keyboard

Koribo is a company that believes computers should be fun in all settings and to this end have a range of wireless components designed with style and extended functionality in mind. Today we are looking at the Koribo Mini, a small wireless keyboard with a 10m range that has a built in joystick that doubles as a mouse.

 

Manufacturer's specifications are as folows:

Working Range
10 meter effective working range including transmission through walls - 15m / 50ft in open space.
Batteries
Requires 2 x AA batteries for approx. 3 months of battery life (based on average 2 hour daily use of 2 hours)
Sleep feature extends battery life.
Low battery light indicator.
 
Media Center and Other Hot Keys
11 Hot Keys:
  • Start Key to launch Media Center®
  • 4 Internet Hot Keys: WWW, E-mail, Back, Forward. 
  • 6 Multimedia Hot Keys: Volume Down, Volume Up, Mute, Pre-track, Next track, Play/Pause.
12 Embedded MCE Function Hot Keys are controlled by the “Fn Lock” key:
  • 6 MCE Hot Keys: My Music, My Videos, My Pictures, My TV, My Radio, DVD.
  • 6 Application Hot Keys: Close, Win select, Zoom +/- , Minimum, Flip 3D.
Mouse
"Joystick" style "thumb size" control, including a touch scrolling bar.
Left and Right Click buttons on the top for easy reach with the index finger.
 
Supported OS
Built-in Media Center© hot key for use with Vista Media Center and Windows 7 Media Center.
Other operating systems may be supported as long as they comply with HID (Human Interface Device).
 
Technology
2.4 GHz radio frequency, 8 Channels with 16 bits, 65536 IDs per channel.
10,000,000 cycles per key with less than 10msec bounce time.

This seems quite impressive for a full size keyboard but readers may be surprised at just how small it is.

 

This box is of the size network cards used to come in and represents a more subdued packaging strategy than most of Koribo's other products.

 

The actual keyboard is less than 6 inches across and fits nicely in either hand. The joystick is easy to get used to and the keys are surprisingly easy to type with. It resembles a game controller and we can think of many uses where it would be ideal, such as with an HTPC or for giving a presentation it can function as a remote control.

The material is very sturdy and construction quality is solid. The Koribo website states the way the technology works and it really is cutting edge stuff.

 

Looking at the back we can see that the ends are contoured for better gripping and the battery covers are an integral part of this aesthetic design. The unobtrusive USB receiver slots into the back of the Mini snugly so everything stays in one place.

 

Standing the keyboard on its bottom edge (it does actually stand freely like that) we can see the two buttons at the top which function as the left and right mouse buttons. Tucked away in the photo above is the USB receiver without any edges protruding beyond the main compact silhouette.

 

So how does the Mini perform?

Installation is easy with no extra software required or provided. All the functionality is detected when the USB receiver is inserted for the first time. The joystick is surprisingly accurate as a mouse and after a while using it becomes second nature. The biggest room we have allows a separation of 28 feet from the receiver to the keyboard and we had no glitches and didn't miss a single character while fast typing at this range so we can confirm the manufacturer's claims of a 10m range through walls and 15m in an open space as quite plausible. The 2.4GHz frequency is to thank for that but it does require that the receiver be kept away from speakers, old fashioned CRTs and WiFi antennas by a seperation of a few inches.

The target audience is quite large after thinking for a few moments. Not only the presenters who want something remote sized but also HTPC users can take this out of a drawer and watch movies using the array of multimedia buttons (we tested them with WinDVD 10 and they work fine for navigation during playback) or indeed any situation where space is very limited such as on a plane or train. It even helps with a tablet PC which can be propped up and the keyboard used from a distance.

We almost forgot, some of our team played Fallout New Vegas with this devices and we think there's a strong gaming market due to the natural feel ofe the Mini in a person's hands and good feedback from the buttons.

Anyone needing a small wireless keyboard and/or wireless mouse will find both of these functions ably handled in a higly compact and stylish form factor - we'll definitely be using it routinely in our test lab.

If your local distributor doesn't stock the Mini then the Koribo website offers alternative options.

 

 

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