So, since this is advertised as a PC Tuneboard, we decided to go ahead and test its ability to play music. First, we tested this keyboard in both the upcoming Windows 7 [64-bit Ultimate, RTM version] and Windows Vista. In both cases it worked right off the bat and automatically began to output sound - no drivers needed. Once inside the operating system, we took three commonly used music playback applications and attempted to control them via the keyboard.
First to be tested was iTunes, the sound controls on the keyboard only work when iTunes is actually opened and the primary window on the screen, if minimized one cannot control iTunes. Next came Windows Media Player, and not surprisingly, the controls worked both minimized and while opened. This came to us as a pleasant surprise considering that iTunes had not necessarily been fully functioning. Next came VLC player, and this thing did not work AT ALL. Simply put, you could not control VLC at all using this keyboard’s audio playback controls.
Next came the finish, the keyboard itself is a fingerprint magnet. Literally every time you touch this keyboard you can immediately see where you touched it. This is, in part, due to the fact that it has a very glossy finish. In any case, if you own a keyboard and capture the attention of folks from CSI, they won't have an issue tracking your identity.
Now, the backlight was fairly useful during the night but it too had quirks. Most notably the fact that it would turn off every time that I put the computer into sleep mode and would not come back on until I pressed the backlight button again. Some may consider this a power saving feature, but I would call it a nuisance. If you notice, there are also lights that light up the sides and front of the keyboard as well.
As for the keys themselves, they are not too tough or too soft. They do have some kind of feedback that you receive when you hit them, so this is not a bad keyboard in that sense that you can actually type fairly quickly. At no point did I feel like this keyboard was harder to type on than my standard G15 keyboard. Bear in mind that as there are no two identical humans, the type of keyboard you prefer might be Logitech-Style, Cherry-Style, IBM-style and so on. Thus, there is no simple way to test would this keyboard suit your needs. The good side about this product is that you can type without the key touching the base of the keyboard.
This keyboard also comes with a microphone and headphone jack located on the back part of the keyboard. Unfortunately, the feature is quite hidden and you don't even know exists unless you stumble upon it. In that sense, it’s out of sight and out of mind.
There were also adjustable height settings that could be set on the bottom of the keyboard to adjust for a completely flat keyboard, an elevated keyboard, and an even more elevated setting above that. Given that there aren't a lot of three-step keyboards on the market, this move is appreciated.
As for the audio quality itself, since this is a fairly subjective question we asked a few people to listen to some music on this keyboard to confirm if they felt like this song had lost any audio quality over a standard pair of speakers we had around. Overall, the consensus was that the speakers actually were not bad at all and had a decent amount of bass for such small speakers and that they could deliver a lot more sound than had been anticipated. This is in part helped by the fact that there is actually an amplifier button that increases the volume of the sound outputted from the speakers by what we can only estimate to be around 2-3 times more.
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