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on January 14, 2011
Bought this for my home theater PC, running Linux. The size, weight, keyboard layout, typing feel, and battery life are all great. It's well balanced in the hands, and I can easily type one-handed while standing up, say, for entering a username and password while browsing the web. The wireless sensitivity appears to work as advertised, having used it at distances well over 20' from my computer. There is a "left" mouse button on the front right of the keyboard, so you can use just your right hand for pointing and clicking, unless you need to use the "right" mouse button. Then you have to use your left hand to operate the mouse buttons on the left side of the keyboard. These left-side mouse buttons take a little getting used to, since my brain is wired to operate mouse buttons with only my right hand. But after a day or two of use these left-side buttons feel naturally placed. I've also come to rely heavily on the the scroll wheel on the front left of the keyboard. The Home/End/PgUp/PgDown keys are conveniently positioned in the right-most column of keys right next to the trackball, making for easy page navigation during web browsing, PDF reading, etc.

Unfortunately, IOGear has not improved the trackball design from previous models, which others have complained about in Amazon reviews. Out of the box, it felt gritty and rough. This has smoothed out somewhat over time, but is still far from perfect. It also wobbles in its socket, which makes for a wholly unsatisfying experience and reduces accuracy. I use a Logitech Marble Mouse with my office computer, which is so smooth and accurate that it makes the IOGear trackball seem like an afterthought. If only IOGear would improve this one critical part, the keyboard would be the perfect addition to our home entertainment system. That said, I enjoy using the keyboard, and have come to live with the trackball. I still think it's a better setup than balancing a separate keyboard and pointer device when sitting on a couch.

The keyboard comes with rechargeable AA batteries and USB cable for recharging, which is a nice touch.
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on December 30, 2010
I received the keyboard earlier than expected after I put in my Pre-Order purchase... was great to get early.

I've been using this lapboard/keyboard for my HTPC and have been very happy with the performance and features.

It hasn't had any connection issues, all keys work as expected, battery life has been great so far, the additional function keys are used often, the track-ball and mouse buttons really do work well in place of a mouse.

I've tried a few other products like wireless keyboard and mouse sets and mini keyboards and this IO Gear lapboard has by far been the best experience yet.

I particularly like the mouse functions including the scroll wheel which actually even has a button function built into it... and the feel of this keyboard in your hands is fantastic.

I'm glad someone has put all the right pieces into a keyboard designed for the emerging home-theater PC market.

One thing to watch for is if the keyboard starts to triple click on all mouse selections it is due to the rapid-fire mode being selected.

In my opinion this is a great product by IO Gear!
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on February 20, 2011
This would be a really sweet keyboard if only the trackball worked all the time. It's very rough, hard to accurately place the cursor and works only about 75% of the time before it freezes. Also on my unit the 'T' key was very soft. It worked but you had to look to make sure.

Too bad because ergonomically this thing is perfect. They should have spent another 10 bucks on a better trackball as I would have gladly paid it.

This will go back for a refund and I'll continue my search for the perfect keyboard.
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on October 22, 2011
ORIGINAL REVIEW: I have used this keyboard for 2 days now. It has a very nice form factor. Too bad it's useless. I can only operate the keyboard at a max distance of about 3 feet from the receiver. Beyond that it is so inconsistent as to be useless. I have tried new batteries to replace the rechargeable ones it came with. That didn't help. I bought it for the TV room. But I can't use it from the couch because the distance is too far (about 6 feet). For the cost, this is totally unacceptable.

UPDATE 12/07/2011: IOGEAR contacted me and I RMA'd the unit. Their instructions required that I ship UPS or FedEx and use *2 inches* of foam on each side of the original box of the unit. Odd since the unit was shipped to me loose in a box with no foam. I spent $14 on shipping - *my expense*. They have now returned to me a refurbished unit to replace the new one I had originally purchased. And guess what, the replacement unit doesn't work! I have tried it with 3 computers and on each one it works for the first 3 seconds and then quits (even with brand new batteries, etc I tried everything). At least the first unit I had worked most of the time at a distance of 3 feet from the receiver. This one wont even do that. So, I asked for a simple refund and am being refused. Just in case anyone may be tempted to think I may not know what I am doing: I own a different model IOGEAR board that I use at home without issue (GKM561R). It works fine on the computers that I am trying to use this one on. They want a 3rd chance to try to send a unit that works. I am 2 months into this fiasco and I have no choice so I am going to send this one back - again. At least this time they agreed to pay shipping. Well, you have been warned. It really is a shame because this product feels really nice in the hand and on the lap. I can tell that if it actually functioned, I would love it. The only problem is, its totally dysfunctional. Well, I will update this again when I get #3.

FINAL UPDATE: I received unit #3. I believe it arrived the first week of January. It works fine. Had this been unit #1, I would have given it a 4/5. Why 4? Because sometimes it loses connection to the receiver and I have to angle it up off my lap for it to work. That problem is a minor annoyance but may affect those who intend to use it as a lap keyboard with a home entertainment center. For me it is a minor issue. I am quite pleased with this unit. I am not pleased with the way IOGEAR handled this problem for me though. It is an expensive keyboard and should come with decent customer service. I should not have had to pay to ship it back to them and they should have been eager to correct the problem. I would have been tempted to adjust up my rating a star or two if they would have shown a reasonable level of concern for a customers inconvenience, especially after sending me 2 defective keyboards over a 3 month period. Anyway, that is that.
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on March 3, 2011
I have had the keyboard for one week for my htpc and have enjoyed it from the start. The overall design and quality is great...except of couse as stated before; the track ball feels a little loose in the socket. This being said it does require some "controled" movments to activate smaller links on a web page. This is not a gaming keyboard by any means however, for normal naviagion the trackball serves well.

The rest of the design is superb. The key layout is very ergonomic with natural placement of mouse wheel and left click mouse. All buttons and mouse wheel feel very solid and responsive. The keyboard works well pointed toward the reciever, away, upsidedown, under a blanket and at multiple horozontal planes(aka up the stairs).

Besides the trackball the only CON I have is that my charging light never turned green to indicate a full charge (I charged for 10 hrs). This is not a big deal since from the initail charge I have logged approximately 6 hours of use with out a recharge. Note the key board will automatically go into a sleep mode if lying stationary, with quick "wake up" when any key is pressed (the trackball will not wake the keyboard up; a key must be pressed).

I do recommend this keyboard to anyone looking for a htpc controller and wants to maintain full computer functionality, unlike a set top box. I will update if need be.
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on December 3, 2013
DO NOT BUY THIS KEYBOARD AND DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS HORRIFIC COMPANY!! My brother bought me this keyboard which stopped working completely after a few months. It was still under warranty, so after a few weeks I called the company. They told me I would have to MAIL the keyboard in, PAY for shipping and and they would pay for the return postage. I reluctantly did this and paid over $20 to send the keyboard back to be repaired. They returned it a few weeks later and it was working. After a few months it stopped working completely again! I called them today and they told me that I would not be eligible for a refund! I would have to pay for postage and mail it in again to be repaired. This is an immoral, corrupt company. They get away with this horrific customer service because they are solely an online company as opposed to Target or Best Buy. DO NOT ORDER ANYTHING from this company! They should be put out of business for their unethical practices.
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on November 22, 2011
Loved this keyboard at first. Use it in our living room to control the laptop connected to our TV and have no issues with signal. I've honestly only used it a total of 20 times and the scroll button/wheel on the left side (to move your web pages up and down) stopped working. Paying this amount I would have expected it to last longer than a few uses however I like that this is rechargeable so I never need to replace the batteries. I will keep using it as the scroll button does not make it unuseable just not as functionable. I would not buy it again however - too expensive to not be reliable.
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on February 17, 2012
The reviews of this keyboard were very mixed, but it was the right size and had the right features that I wanted to replace an excellent 15-year-old LITEON infrared keyboard that I had depended on. I ordered the IOGEAR with some worry but decided that once I had it in hand I could return it if I didn't like it.

Happily, that wasn't necessary. It is really attractive, and despite the technical specs that said it would be 3-1/2" thick, it stands at most 1-3/4" above the desktop. It sits solidly on the desk and is easy and comfortable to hold on my lap. When I need the desk space, I can quickly move the keyboard to a shelf. Key action is solid, all keys full-sized and in the right place, and although it is not as quiet as the LITEON, key action is excellent and mellow enough. Some reviewers complained about a spotty wireless connection, but I have found it completely reliable in a variety of different positions. My computer is under a thick teak desk along with a variety of other equipment, so I was worried about that. The keyboard does go to sleep but is instantly reactivated with an arrow key (or any other).

I do criticize the trackball for being sloppy and really twitchy, but I work with a drawing tablet alongside the keyboard, so that is not an issue for me. It would be impossible to control the cursor well enough to draw using the trackball, and it's pretty maddening to try to spot the cursor in a text document well enough to pick out a single letter.

Before installing the keyboard, I plugged in the included "charging cable" to a USB port, and as expected, the charge light came on. The "Start Up" guide says it takes six hours for the initial charge. About five hours later, I came back and found that the "charge Light" had turned from solid red to solid green. Good! Then I moved the keyboard around to begin connecting it, and the charge light changed to solid red. I moved it again, and the light began to flicker between green and red. I moved it back to the original position (the 2.4 Ghz RF connection had not yet been activated) and the light continued to flicker between red and green, and sometimes both. Not good.

I left the keyboard plugged in for another 2-1/2 hours, then came back to find it solid green again. Moved the keyboard - solid green still - OK! I've been using it for about two weeks, and there is no indication of need to recharge. The (not rechargeable) battery in my LITEON keyboard used to last at least a year, so I'm hopeful that recharging will be infrequent, although it's not difficult to do.

Except for the trackball, I would award five stars. Since I don't often need that, this keyboard is a hit for me.
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on February 12, 2012
I've been searching for an ideal HTPC keyboard/mouse/trackball combination in the past few weeks and found that it would be best that I have a keyboard/trackball as the best combination. I'll copy/paste this same review for the three Multimedia Keyboards from IOGEAR.


Released: September 14, 2004

This is the grandfather of the keyboards, surprisingly released over 7-years ago. When I first purchased it, it was based on the high reviews from Amazon and Newegg, and it established the benchmark for size and flexibility.

* Thin profile
* Trackball does work better over time
* Easy to type with
* Location of mouse buttons and scroll wheel is perfect

* A little larger than I'd like, but that's because the keys are spaced nicely
* Trackball ideally should be heavier, using a metal ball bearing (I'm going to measure the diameter of this plastic one and see if I can purchase a metal ball bearing)
* Volume up/down buttons are in the wrong order

Total Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


November 23, 2010

This was released 6-years after the grandfather, 2nd generation keyboard from IOGEAR.

* Easy to type with (similar keys to the 561R)
* Accuracy of the trackball (optical vs 561R laser) is the same

* Bulkier than the 561 (thickness and width)
* Trackball tends to skip for some reason, usually when scrolling down
* I don't like the location of the scroll wheel and 2nd mouse button compared to the 561R

Total Rating: 3.5 of 5.0


February 17, 2011

This one came out 3-months after the 2nd generation 581R. I believe this is still 2nd generation keyboard, simply different size/design for people who want less bulk

* Small size
* Light
* Metal trackball that is best to used compared to it's 561R and 581R brothers

* Location of scroll wheel and mouse buttons is not intuitive compared to the 561R
* The keys are very small and very difficult to type with. I found myself frustrated too many times when entering a simple URL address
* The location of the multimedia buttons (on the left and right sides) is poor. I found myself hitting these too often when I held the keyboard with my left/right lower thumb

Total Rating: 2.5 of 5.0


As you can see from the above ratings, the 7+ year old grandfather 561R keyboard is the best amongst it's younger brothers. I really wanted to like the 681R, due to it's size, but the location of the buttons/keys and difficulty in typing dropped it below it's larger 581R brother. Bottom line, IOGEAR makes decent multimedia keyboards, but they are having difficult time refining their classic 561R which I am going to keep and return the others. I would gladly pay $60 for a small version of the 561R that had good location of buttons/keys, along with quality of keys that allows easy typing.
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on September 24, 2011
First let me say that I upgraded to this keyboard from an Adesso wireless keyboard with touchpad for use with my HTPC. I will be making some comparisons between the two.

Overall layout - Love the mouse button and the scroll wheel located on the front edge of the keyboard. Also really like the function keys for media center located across the top. The two mouse buttons on the left side of the keyboard took some getting used to but I now really enjoy the placement. The two handed layout is much easier to use for a HTPC setup than the old style touchpad setup on the Adesso.

Battery Life - This keypad comes with rechargeable batteries and can be recharged directly by connecting the keyboard to the computer. This is a vast improvement over my old keyboard and the rechargeable function was key in my decision to purchase this keyboard. So far the battery life has been excellent. I've been using it for over a month with no need to recharge.

Trackball - I've been using trackballs for years and this is the worst I've ever used. Extremely rough and cheap feeling. I agree with other reviewers that the manufacturer should have spent a little more money there and added a little to the price. It would have been worth it.

Sensitivity - I use Media Center and Media Player frequently and have noticed that since switching to this keyboard that the control bar on the screen constantly pops up during playback as if I am using the keyboard even though it is sitting still and not being touched. Many times it will not go into sleep mode for the entire length of a TV show. Sometimes I remove the batteries when it gets too annoying. A button to put the keyboard in sleep mode would be helpful. This was never a problem with the Adesso.

Connectivity - My PC is located above my TV lying on its side. With the USB receiver plugged into the front of it there were areas of the room where the keyboard wouldn't work. I had an old USB extension cord with a stand on one end that came with a USB network controller I bought years ago. When I plugged the keyboard USB receiver into it and placed it in front of the TV everything worked great. This was also never a problem with the Adesso.

Overall a lot of great features at a great price but still some bugs to work out.

Update - 10/11/2011

The control bar constantly popping up in Media Player during tv shows and movies just finally got too annoying and I got tired of removing the batteries to stop it. I can sit and watch the mouse arrow drift across the screen with the keyboard sitting still on the coffee table. Also noticed that the keyboard seems to lose connection to the PC more and more often. I switched back to the old Adesso on my main HTPC. Will use this one in my bedroom as I don't use that setup nearly as often.

I would not recommend this keyboard unless and until the manufacturer starts using a decent trackball.

Original 4 stars downgraded to 2 stars.
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