on June 13, 2012
I have been a PC instructor for 25 years, have bought zillions of keyboards, type 90 wpm, and work on the computer at least 60+ hours a week. I have also had carpal tunnel that whole time. Many of the other reviews simply mystified me - I don't think I've had any keyboard that has such a great touch, and I can type wickedly fast without the keyboard fighting me. I have had mine for nine months, and pound the heck out of it every single day. Batteries last forever, I never even turn it off. So the touchpad is kind of small, who cares? I most often use it in front of my laptop, which also enables better posture, and then I use a separate mouse. But it is the multi-link capability this board has that I have not seen in ANY other keyboard that really puts it in the stratosphere. No one seems to really get the implications of this. It will SIMULTANEOUSLY remain paired with SIX devices, an amazing feat. I am a bluetooth guru, currently own 6 sets of stereo bluetooth headphones, have high-powered BT transmitters on our two main TV's so family members can't drive me nuts with politics or sports, and NO other keyboard I could find in months of searching can do what this one can. Sitting in the living room running a PC through a flat screen TV - I can search for Netflix stuff with a full keyboard, search Pandora, surf the net on the big screen, write lengthy emails or documents - try to do that with some silly remote, or even a bluetooth mouse. Then I pick it up, go out on the front porch, with one Press of FN+2, I am connected to my Android smartphone, texting my brains out with friends at 90 wpm. Or, I am using this on my laptop, but get a text on my Android phone, and immediately switch to the phone to reply to a text; bam, I'm back on the laptop. With any other BT keyboard I know of on the planet, changing the pairing between different devices is a NIGHTMARE folks. Oh, I forgot, I also use it to type on my tablet - try typing 90 wpm on your silly iPad on-screen keyboards! And in a 5 minute period, I can seamlessly switch between 4 devices. It NEVER forgets the pairing, in NINE months of use, EVEN when I change the batteries - that truly amazed me! It has a built in wrist rest, especially nice when using it with TV's, but is very light and easy to grab and walk around with. There is no light - so get a very small portable battery operated light, I have some with clips and a gooseneck I can put almost anywhere, including hooked to the keyboard itself, or to one of those laptop desks if I am using on my lap.
Even if you never used it for anything but connecting to one device, I still think the touch, speed and durability rival any of my prior 25+ keyboards and countless laptop keyboards. But our devices are multiplying, and the notion of coming up with a fully usable keyboard solution for all of them is next to impossible without this multi-link capability. Even if money was no object, and you could buy 4 different BT keyboards, guess what? You are going to go crazy switching between them, keys will be located differently, etc. I have been a computer and gadget freak for many years, but I don't think I've been more excited about anything else I've ever gotten than this incredible keyboard. By the way, NONE of the lettering has remotely rubbed off in 9 months of using probably 8 hours a day, even using right after applying hand lotion, snacking, or having greasy fingers sometimes. But I've blown through two keyboards a year on each of my last 5 laptops - either the keys stopped working, from the massive abuse I inflict on them, or at the very least, after a year tops you can barely see any lettering left on the keys. Don't listen to the nitpickers - this is a ground-breaking device I spend most of my waking moments with, and wouldn't trade it for anything else.
on August 29, 2011
*Multi Device Support... Great if you swap between two computers, or a computer and your iPad. This is a key feature, and the reason I purchased this keyboard. It allows one keyboard to replace many.I wish all blue-tooth keyboards did this.
*Easy and quick switching between devices.
*Has built in track pad, essential when using the keyboard away from a desk (standing or sitting on the sofa). But it is a very basic one, see below...
*Missing separate PG UP, PG DN, Home, and End keys. You have to hit a function key to use them. I didn't realize how often I used PgUp/PgDn to read a document. It isn't as if there is no extra room for them keys, they could have been placed above the track-pad.
*Track-pad is very basic. It is small and not as responsive as high quality laptop track-pads. It is fine for the once in a while mouse use, and is far better than nothing, but for heavy use you will want a separate mouse.
*Pairing could be better. It still amazes me that this continues to be an issue. The pair button on the back of the keyboard is labeled "Reset" and doubles as a reset key if held down. There is one led light on the keyboard that doubles for pairing and low battery. It would have been so much better to have a separate button and light. (Or better a led digit that lets you know the "slot" you are using.) At a minimum re label the button on back. This is only an issue when you first pair the keyboard, or need to pair and have lost the instructions. I wrote "pair" on the back next to the button with a sharpie...
A competent keyboard able to link to multiple devices. Could be the best out there if you need the multi-device support.
on September 14, 2011
I really wanted to like this keyboard. I develop software and use multiple systems all day long and want to be able to easily switch between them. The Bluetooth Multi-Link is a great feature. But why did they have to move the backslash key below the return key and make the return so big? I just want a standard 101-key layout in a keyboard with multi-link. I could live with the mushy feeling of the keys, but moving the backslash key was unacceptable and the arrow key layout with the page-up page-down keys wasn't so great either. I'm not surfing on a Playstation from my couch, so the touchpad made no difference to me.
on June 25, 2011
Looks slick, good build quality, good weight, keys are soft but still has a good tactile feel, can be paired with six devices, uses aa batteries, many of the multimedia functions work with popular HTPC software such as XBMC, Boxee, Media Player Home Cinema, etc and is for the most part easy to set up. A good keyboard for everyday computing or HTPC system.
The touch pad may be a little to small for some and with the default settings is slow and not so responsive. (I worked around this issue by increasing the pointer speed a bit which helped) I had a Logitech Dinovo Edge and the touch pad on it is 5 times better, but at the his price one can't complain much about it. The left and right click buttons have a cheap "clanky" tactile feel to them but that's a minor gripe. This item doesn't come with a dedicated Bluetooth dongle however being that it can pair with up to 6 devices bundling one may not have been necessary. I wish this keyboard had stand alone software to tweak the touch pad speed, dpi settings or to customize some of the other buttons.
For the price when compared to the Logitech this a pretty good buy. Bluetooth pairing setup may be a little problem for some but once its set you're good to go.
on June 25, 2011
Product seems to be of good quality (I've only had it for a few days) and easy to pair with all my bluetooth enabled devices. It's really easy to switch between multiple devices and the various short-cut buttons is a great addition if you are using windows, but as expected most of them won't work with a Mac. My only complaint about this keyboard is that the touch-pad is way to small - 1.75 x 1.5in - which is smaller than the touch-pads you usually find in laptops . This could be annoying if you are trying to get from one end to the screen to the other, since you would have to do it with multiple swipes. Because of this it's also a bit difficult to make precision moves. Overall, this is a great product and I would recommend it to anyone looking to pair multiple devices with the same keyboard, as long they are OK with the small touch-pad.
on December 8, 2012
The GKM611B has a wide range of reviews, but most of the 1 or 2 star reviews complain about using it to touch type. Since I never have ben able to learn to touch type, that is not a problem for me.
It paired easily with our MacPro and our PS3, and much to my surprise the touchpad has some multi-touch capability on the MacPro - Ctrl-2_fingers zooms the screen in & out. This is perfect for when we use the MacPro with our TV so we can zoom in to read small text.
I am finding 2 problems with it so far.
- The touchpad is tap-to-click. On every laptop I've used since that feature was first rolled out around 2001 I've immediately disabled this as I find it far more of a pain than a convenience. I have found no way so far to disable this and have contacted iogear's tech support about it.
- When controlling the PS3, I have not been able to figure out which key combos provide the functions of the O, X, triangle and square buttons. We're not heavy gamers so are not comfortable with using the PS3 controller to watch our BluRay discs or stream media through Amazon or Crunchyroll. Since iogear recommends it for use with Gaming Consoles, there must be some way to do so. I have contacted iogear's tech support about this too.
The keyboard itself has a solid feel and the keys have a nice feel even though some are oddly located and the Return key is HUGE.
I'll be curious to see how long the AA batteries hold up under our sporadic heavy use.
Incidentally - the MacPro has had an external Bluetooth antenna installed via an extension cable, since with the stock internal antenna even the Apple wireless keyboard loses contact when it's more than a few yards away.
I got a reply from IOGEAR's tech support:
> 1. There is no way to disable to the tap click on the touch pad of the GKM611b
> 2.. I am sorry but we do not have the PS3 key combinations that will work with this keyboard .
> This is an HID compliant keyboard that is not capable of the gaming functions on the PS3 game pad.
So, contrary to the description it is not actually suitable for use with a gaming console - at least not a PS3.
on September 21, 2012
I'm a software programmer and have many devices at my desk (many tablet PCs, a Mac mini, my laptop, etc.). I've been using an USB KVM switch in order to control all these devices with one mouse and keyboard, but attaching so many cables could be really messy. The GKM611B is maybe the most practical solution to my problem. I've easily configured it to work perfectly on Ubuntu, Mac OS X, Android, Windows 7 and specially Windows 8 (you'd rather prefer a touchpad than a traditional mouse with Windows 8, trust me). Switching between devices is really simple and fast. The only thing I regret is that the folks al IOGEAR could be more generous with the touchpad's size. There's a lot of space on the keyboard to put a bigger touchpad. The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures and the keyboard is well constructed and responsive. There are very few products that can compete with this keyboard. Most options are small and difficult to use specially when you are heavily coding. It could be better, but the product fits my needs.
on December 30, 2013
I purchased this Bluetooth keyboard so that I would be able to switch quickly between controlling various Bluetooth devices and this keyboard works well for that purpose. I can quickly and easily switch between my laptop, my Nexus 7, and my Android Smartphone with just the press of a button and work on one device or another. That was the main reason I wanted to purchase this keyboard. I think that the keyboard is built well, and is very easy to pair and connect. If you want to switch between Bluetooth devices quickly, I heartily recommend this product.
As with some other reviewers, I do note that the enter key is huge, and the backslash key is located in a non-standard position, and also that in order to use the "home" and "end" keys you have to also press a function button. However, these things do not bother me as most of the Bluetooth keyboards I own I have purchased to be "mobile" and use only occasionally when I'm on the road and want portability. Most of these keyboards also have oddly placed keys, and most of them either do not have dedicated "end" and "home" keys or like this product, you have to use a function key to utilize them. I have never had a problem with learning how to work around the odd placement of any keys.
The trackpad is small, and while gestures work, the small size (coupled with my large fingers) makes some of the gestures difficult for me. However, I will say that I didn't purchase this device for the trackpad. The fact that there is one, is a bonus to me, and it's small size is not a detraction from the usefulness of the device.
Overall, the keyboard appears to be well built, and is very easy to set up and use. The surface of the keyboard is a shiny black plastic that shows fingerprints quite easily, but this isn't a detraction for me, as I'm a touch typist, and I rarely look at the keyboard itself. There is also a row of additional keys at the top of the device that I find quite useful. These keys do have a different function depending upon the operating system you have. From left to right these buttons include:
- A mute/unmute key
- A home key (in Windows 7 this opens your default browser, in Android it works as your home key does)
- A mail key (opens up your email program)
- Back and Forward keys
- A search key
- A refresh key
Many of the function keys also duplicate as media controls when used in conjunction with the Fn button.
Overall, I found that the keyboard was very well built - and the ease of setup and the fact that you can switch between control of devices using Bluetooth were major plusses for me.
on April 28, 2012
I primarily bought this keyboard as a spare, and to use it on a consulting assignment with the customer supplied ghastly Dell laptop, but also to have a keyboard to use with the Blackberry Playbook tablet I am testing, which has no USB ports to hook stuff up to. Testing, not so much technically, but just to see how much I can do with it while I do not use my laptop. User interface research, I suppose. The Bluetooth keyboard is supposed to be switchable between devices, and has the standard keyboard size and layout, and a trackpad in the same enclosure, something I am very much in favour of, as that has been proven to be faster than a separate rodent.
I can tell you that the Iogear keyboard installed on my Sony Vaio with Microsoft Windows Vista Professional and a third party Bluetooth dongle seamlessly - I was amazed. It needed two boots to get both the keyboard and the mouse driver to work, and while that did not surprise me, I wish these manufacturers out there would tell their customers how that driver collection and loading works, and what to expect. Your average consumer will think "nothing is happening" - while there's just a bunch of stuff going on and you need to have patience, which nobody stocks any more. Having said that, full, automagic, hands off, installation, works like a dream, including the function keys that are supposed to work with Windows Media Center, which is what I use to watch cable. Magic. Purrfection. Well done. Impressed. And all that for under $50, which was the reason I bought it, I didn't want to shell out $80 or more for an otherwise beautious Logitech product, keyboards just don't last long enough. No funny stuff, then, the standard Windows HID driver works.
I use it every day, all day, it is, ten days down the road, still running (24/7!) on the batteries that came with it, and the one glitch I have experienced was likely due to the USB ports in my VAIO desktop malfunctioning, I use a Bluetooth dongle, and the ports see pretty heavy use, between a 2 terabyte external drive and an HD cable tuner that is on more or less all day. The keyboard is working perfectly - if anything, the occasional slowness in typing input I used to see in my RF keyboard, a missed keystroke, that sort of thing, is completely absent in this model, and I am just about getting used to its side mounted trackpad.
By the way, I've heard so many people say they don't like trackpads, or they prefer one type of mouse over another, in my experience it is just a matter of using one type of input device, not switching, and giving it a week, or maybe two, every day, all day, and you completely don't notice any difference. Don't be lazy. If you need an incentive: It is very good for your brain and your eye/hand coordination to change devices, regularly, and learn new dexterity. It is brain training, it is good for you, it is better than fish oil, and as good as multi-vitamins. Honest. And if you happen to have built in Bluetooth, it is even better, because you free up a keyboard / PS2 / USB / serial port, and probably an interrupt.
So there you go, kids. I'll tell you when I get to use it with the tablet, but with the PC, it's a gas, and if it does Vista well, it'll do 7, and 8, and stuff. Sight unseen. Windows is becoming nice!
on August 3, 2012
Works great. Range is fantastic and keys feel good and overall look and feel are very nice. I am not a fan of the touchpad on any of my devices (prefer the mouse) because they always seem to drag and drop when that is not what I want or generally muck things up sometimes, but the touchpad on this keyboard works almost or just as good as the numerous touchpads I have used (Toshiba, IBM, HP, Dell laptops I have owned or used through my work) but is smaller than most. My only complaint is a very minor one (to me): I find that sometimes with too small an amount of jostling the battery cover comes right off and the batteries fall out of the bottom of the device. So if I drop it from a foot or so high onto my leather sofa sometimes the battery cover comes right off and the batteries end up in the sofa.