If you have an HTPC you will know that it is nice to have a wireless keyboard and mouse for those times that you want to surf the web or watch a video on YouTube. However most wireless keyboards are large and hard to use while sitting on a couch. Several companies have tried to solve this by making hand held devices that are small and have a keyboard and touchpad. EFO is one of those companies and their product is the EFO Keyboard
- Plug & play
- Support Window (2000, XP & Vista) and Linux (Debian-3.1, Redhat-9.0, Ubuntu-8.10, Fedora-7.0), Mac OS (with USB port). It can also be used on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii games consoles, etc.
- Applicable for the lecturer, meeting presenter, classroom teacher, sales manager or anyone using a projected image.
- RF interface provides a range of 33 feet in any direction.
One of the key features of any mini keyboard is that it is easy to setup and use. The EFO Keyboard meets that requirement by only requiring a single USB dongle and no software or drivers.
Because the EFO Keyboard does not need any software or drivers, it is compatible with most Operating Systems. It is even compatible with most gaming systems.
There are a whole bunch of different uses for a wireless keyboard. Everything from remote controlling an HTPC, laptop during a presentation (for a lecturer or teacher), or even writing emails from afar.
Instead of the normal IR interface for most remotes, the EFO keyboard uses an RF interface. This RF interface allows the attached computer to be controlled without a line of site and from any location, as long as you are within 33 feet.
The front is where you find the keyboard, touchpad, and activity lights. There are actually 5 lights at the top of the EFO keyboard and they consist of charging, external power, RF status, battery power, and caps lock/input switch.
The touchpad is quite large when compared to other devices like this, but this gives you lots of room to move around in. Below the touchpad are two buttons which are the left and right mouse buttons.
The keyboard is very small, but it does has a standard QWERTY layout. The buttons are also slightly raised, but they are also very smooth. Most of the buttons have dual functions, the second function is indicated with a small number or character above the regular one. However, not everything is perfect. Normally, the F and J keys have a raised spot so that you can orient your fingers without looking at the keyboard. This keyboard does not have these, and some of the keys are not in their normal location, so looking at your fingers while typing is a necessity. The keyboard is also missing multimedia keys. For use with an HTPC the multimedia keys would have been very helpful.
The keyboard also has a backlight function, but it needs to be turned on manually. To turn on the backlight the RF key must be pressed twice. The only way to turn off the backlight is to let the keyboard go to sleep or use the power switch to turn off the keyboard.
The bottom has the USB port for charging, and a power switch. I often found myself forgetting to turn off the keyboard. Fortunately, the EFO keyboard also has a sleep mode. This means that if you are like me and you forget to turn of the keyboard, you don’t need to worry about wasted batteries. The sleep mode automatically activates after 30 seconds of inactivity.
So now it is time to hook it up to my HTPC and try it out.
Because there is no software to install, setting up the EFO keyboard is very easy, just plug it in and turn it on.
Once it is plugged in and turned on, the computer will detect a new device and install any needed drivers. After that is done the only thing left to do is use it, and using the EFO keyboard is actually very easy.
As I stated above the keys have a QWERTY layout, so it is easy to find the keys you are looking for. The buttons have a solid feel and give a solid click when pressed. I did not have any trouble getting it to work or using it.
Warranty and Support
The EFO Keyboard comes with a 1 year warranty, and you get support through the EFO website.
The keyboard certainly does its job, and it does it without breaking the bank. The low price of $40 makes up for a lot of the missing features. For example, the more feature rich Logitech diNovo Mini sells for about $120, thats 3x as much as the EFO keyboard.
If your looking for a wireless mini keyboard and you are on a tight budget then the EFO keyboard is a great option.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|