Keyboards are often overlooked but a good quality one makes all the difference. However, at home or in the office, how many times have you spoilt one by spilling coffee, or similar, onto it? Xenta have produced one that is actually both waterproof and washable and, well, it’s rather good.
The main board is a dark grey with very light (nearly) white keys. I can see the keys getting grubby after a short while but, hey, it’s washable. There’s a cap over the USB plug, and that is held attached via a cable, so it’s not easily lost. The USB cable is 1.5 metres long.
The keys are of the “scrabble” style that is popular these days but, unlike other keyboards, they stand proud of the base, making it easier to clean under them. The keys have a good feel and it’s easy to type. Only a half height Enter key is particularly off-putting but you get used to this after a while. The keyboard is quite compact and you have the standard green lights in the corner for num, caps and scroll lock. It’s a shame that some of the keys are slightly “rattly” – the Enter and right shift in particular.
The function keys have a secondary function, which is operated by holding down the FN key next to the space bar. This replaces AltGr (hardly used, unless you use the euro currency symbol regularly), however that can be recreated by holding down Ctrl & Alt simultaneously. The additional functions include volume, media (stop, pause, etc) and internet and email application launching.
The underside of the keyboard is a pleasant blue with vents on the rear and front, I assume to allow any water to come out. However, this is where the biggest issue with this product is apparent. To provide room for the front vents the rubber feet have been pushed back. When the keyboard is used in a flat position the 5 rubber feet do an excellent job. However, use the propped feet on the back and the front of the keyboard now sits on the curved, vented section, and not the feet. The result is that the keyboard slides about on a desktop. Additionally, with no centre support, there is noticeable flex in the centre of the keyboard.
The whole keyboard can be submerged in up to 6 inches of water and it’s easy to then drain any excess water off. For those who regularly spill drinks on their keyboard then this must surely be essential!
The packaging is simple – a slimline box containing the keyboard in a soft, foam-like sleeve. A couple of cable ties keep the keyboard cable in place and a small leaflet provides instructions. A cleaning brush is also in the box and it’s a shame this can’t be attached to the keyboard in some way, otherwise I suspect it will be lost quite easily.
A good quality keyboard with a very specific selling point. If you have your keyboard flat on the desk then I’d heartily recommend it, otherwise the lack of grip when propped up and the sagging centre might be worth you re-considering.
Disclosure of gift - I received this product at a discounted price in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.