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Keyovation Goldtouch Keyboard Review

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I’ve been spending a lot of time away from my cubicle at a different site for my job. My company is big on preventing RSI and other injuries due to non-ergonomic setups. As part of this, I was offered a Keyovation Goldtouch keyboard to use while off-site. I’ve been using the keyboard for a week and I’m going to be be off-site for the next four so I’ll be using it for a while. In fact, I’m using it right now to type this review.

Description:

The keyboard is split in 1/2 down the middle and has a large ball-bearing type connector at the top holding it together. It has a large handle on the upper left that lets you unlock it. The handle is a little stiff at first but opens readily after you get it started. After unlocking, you can re-arrange each half in the horizontal and vertical directions. The Keyovation website describes the the keyboard as being able to split up to 30° in the horizontal and vertical directions. The keyboard is has a USB connector, but it comes with a USB to PS2 connector that lets it connect it to a PS2 port. The keyboard works flawlessly in Windows XP, I just plugged it in and it was recognized as a regular keyboard. The keyboard is a full size keyboard, all the text and function keys are full size. The control keys (Num Lock, Scroll Lock, Page Up e.t.c) are arranged on either side of the two halves. I’m guessing they are distributed to keep the typing distributed between the two hands. It doesn’t have a full num pad which makes it smaller than a full size keyboard, the smaller footprint is to let you keep your mouse close to you which will keep you from over-extending your arm and shoulder. I’ve been carrying the keyboard to and from work and it feels much heavier than a regular keyboard. I couldn’t find a weight on the website, but by my estimate it weighs about 2-3lbs, that is quite a load to carry in addition to my laptop and the equipment needed for off-site work. However, the heaviness lends a sense of sturdiness to the keyboard and I feel no bounceback when typing. There are LEDs to indicate when the ‘Scroll Lock’, ‘Num Lock’, and ‘Caps Lock’ keys have been activated.

Keys:

Keyovation uses dome springs which makes the keys soft but gives them a crisp feedback which I like. The typing is not like the cheap keyboards that computer companies like Dell bundle with their computers where you barely feel the feedback. You can feel the keys bouncing back with the Goldtouch keyboard. The amount of force required to actuate each key is minimal which makes it comfortable for long sessions. I use a Happy Hacker keyboard at work and I’ve noticed occasional pain in my fingers at the end of the day. I don’t feel that when using this keyboard. Typing on the keyboard is quiet and feels secure. The extra weight comes in handy here.

Ergonomics:

I’ve looked at other reviews for this keyboard and it seems like people either like it or hate it. There is very little middle ground. I like the horizontal split, it is a more natural way to type on the keyboard. However, it would be nice if I could separate the two halves so that I can keep my hands shoulder width apart. The vertical split doesn’t help me much, I still have to bend my wrists to type on it and it feels like there is more stress on my shoulders. It would be nice if I could fold it in half, that way I can type in a more natural ‘handshake’ position. A major problem I’ve noticed is that there is no place to rest my wrists like on a Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard. The keyboard is more than half an inch high at the spacebar which means that I bend my wrists uncomfortably if I rest them on a table. Keyovation does sell a pair of wrist pads for $20 which would help. However, spending $20 on top of ~$140 for the keyboard makes me feel like I’m getting ripped off.

Competition:

The ergo keyboard space is rapidly expanding as people spend more time in front of computers. In addition to the Microsoft line of ergo keyboards, Kinesis also has the Maxim and Freestyle keyboards. The Maxim, which comes with a wrist rest, is a split-keyboard similar to the one by Microsoft, the Freestyle allows you to split the keyboard completely in half. The Freestyle doesn’t incline like the Goldtouch or come with a wrist rest but Kinesis sells accessories to make it happen.

Final Thoughts:

The Goldtouch keyboard is a nice keyboard but it doesn’t fulfill all my needs. The vertical split doesn’t help much and the lack of a wrist rest results in additional ergonomic issues. I like how the keys feel and the sense of sturdiness, however it is a pain to carry around because of the extra weight. The keyboard costs about ~$140 on the Keyovation website, at that price I would rather try the Kinesis Freestyle keyboard because I can split completely in half. In addition, The Microsoft keyboards present a cheaper alternative.

Pros:

    • Solid Keys with good tactile feedback
    • Heaviness lends a sense of security
    • No drivers to install, worked flawlessly when plugged in
    • Horizontal/Vertical split for increased typing comfort

Cons:

    • Expensive, ~$140 is no laughing matter
    • Heavy, a pain to carry around
    • Requires a wrist-rest, no gradual rise to the space bar
    • Vertical split doesn’t seem to help much
    • No ability to separate halves like the Kinesis Freestyle
    • Short USB connector

Images:

Goldtouch Regular Layout

Goldtouch Horizontal Split

Goldtouch Horizontal/Vertical Split

Side View

Thanks for reading!

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Written by M Kapoor

June 22, 2008 at 1:40 am

One Response

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  1. […] many keyboards including the Microsoft ergonomic split keyboards, the Happy Hacker, the Deck, the Keyovations Goldtouch, as well as the IBM Model M.  Of all the keyboards, the Kinesis contoured keyboard is the most […]


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