Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: i-Rocks KR-6402 USB Keyboard

As a writer, I like to have a good keyboard. I look back on the many keyboards that I've had and have taken stock in the evolution of the keyboard. I learned to type on a typewriter and when I got my first computer, I began to make the transition from typing on paper to typing on screen. That transition didn't take very long.

In all the keyboards I've had in the past, the one that I used the most is this Dell keyboard. I enjoyed it because it's simple, minimalist and easy to type on. Have a look at the venerable SK-8115:

This keyboard has served me well many years on many Dell computers. I liked the compact form factor and elegant design. I was doing fine with that keyboard until someone turned me on to one of these:

Hands down, that keyboard from HP, the Elite v2 is by far the best keyboard I've ever had. My fingers just fly on it and I've enjoyed typing on them immensely. But there is a problem with them: they're wireless. I've gone through three of these in a few years. The successor, the K3500, is noisy, and probably has the same Bluetooth hardware. That hardware probably works great on Windows, but it doesn't last on Linux and I'm not sure why.

So I'd rather have a wired keyboard if wireless is going to be a problem. And away I went, looking at all kinds of keyboards to find something to replace my beloved Elite v2. Note that I still have one at work that works. But that computer is running on Windows and for obvious reasons, more effort goes into making these things work on Windows than on Linux.

After many hours of searching, I put together a short list. This keyboard wasn't on top of the shortlist and only beat out another from SIIG on price. But I like the nice aluminum finish, the short, short keystroke length, and the bounce back I get from the keys. Mind you, I've only had it for about 12 hours, but I believe that KR-6402 from i-Rocks is the next great thing, at least for me:

This new keyboard is raised a bit compared to the HP to make room for two USB ports on the side. Need to do some quick file transfers? The ports are right where you need them, one under the Escape key and the other under the email key (the top corners, left and right).

I can tell you now that aside from a slightly smaller footprint, this keyboard easily matches the response and feel from the HP Elite v2. Like anything new, it takes some getting used to, particularly the angle of the keyboard, a slight departure, but other than that, I'm happy with it so far.

This keyboard will remove any urge I have had in the past to plead with HP to make a wired version of their Elite v2. No longer will I tweet or email to HP to get the wired keyboard I wanted. I have it now.

Goodbye, HP. See you the next time I need another printer - that would be about 10 years from now.
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