Enermax is one of the most famous power supply manufacturers, but what most people don’t know is that they also manufacture high-end keyboards. Today we are going to take a look at their new Aurora Micro Wireless, a small wireless aluminum keyboard with an embedded laser trackball, scroll wheel and multimedia buttons, targeted to home theater PCs (HTPCs) and video game consoles like the Playstation 3. Let’s see if this keyboard is a really good product or not.
Besides Aurora Micro Wireless, Enermax also has other high-end keyboards: Aurora Micro, which has the same size of Aurora Micro Wireless but isn’t a wireless product and doesn’t come with the embedded laser trackball but has two USB 2.0 ports; Aurora Premium, which is an aluminum standard-sized keyboard; and Caesar, which is an aluminum standard-sized keyboard with a more aggressive looks with the addition of a mesh.
Aurora Micro Wireless is available in black (KB008W-B) and silver (KB008W-S) and we reviewed the black version.
Figure 1: Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless.
This keyboard measures only 12.56” x 7.60” (31.9 x 19.3) (L x W) and has a maximum height of 1.30” (3.3 cm) on its top part.
Figure 3: Aurora Micro Wireless compared to a standard-sized keyboard.
Being small, wireless and having a very stylish looks because of its thick aluminum top, this keyboard looks good on a living room, what simply doesn’t happen with standard-sized models.
Figure 4: Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless in the living room.
Now let’s talk about its features.
The first thing you will notice about this keyboard is its embedded trackball on the upper right corner. According to the manufacturer, this is the first keyboard in the world to have an integrated laser trackball and a scroll wheel. Trackballs work just like mice and can use either a mechanical or an optical sensor, and on this keyboard the optical technology (“laser”) is used. On the left upper corner there are two buttons and a scroll wheel.
Figure 6: Buttons and scroll wheel.
You can configure the trackball resolution at 400 dpi, 800 dpi or 1200 dpi. This is done by pressing the function (“Fn”) key together with the F9, F10 or F11 keys. At a higher resolution the cursor moves faster on the screen.
There are several other function keys available: MCE, My TV, My Videos, My Music, My Pictures, Record TV, DVD, rewind, fast forward, Ch+ and Ch-, plus other typical keyboard functions like Insert, Home, Page Up, Page Down and End. These functions work out of the box with multimedia players, not requiring any kind of software to operate.
Besides the function keys, Aurora Micro Wireless also has seven multimedia keys that also work on Windows XP and Windows Vista without any driver: home, e-mail, zoom, volume up, volume down, mute and play/pause.
Figure 7: Multimedia and function keys.
The keyboard operates with two AA batteries, which come with the product. It has a low battery indicator, which is very convenient. On its bottom part near to the battery compartment it has an on/off switch and a reset button.
Figure 8: On/off switch and reset button.
[nextpage title=”Installation and Use”]
The installation is quite simple. The keyboard comes with a USB RF receiver (“antenna”) that must be installed on any free USB port from your computer or video game console. Unfortunately this unit is not Bluetooth.
There is no need to install any kind of software to have this keyboard working: Windows XP and Vista recognizes all its functions automatically. What is great about this keyboard is that video game consoles also recognize it without any extra configuration. We installed it on a Playstation 3 and both the keyboard and the trackball worked just fine.
The thing we liked the most about this keyboard is that the “mouse” (in this case, trackball) buttons are located on the opposite side as the trackball. One thing that drives us nuts when using laptop-like keyboards is that we touch the mouse buttons by mistake several times. This simply doesn’t happen with this model. Another great advantage of this layout is that you can hold the keyboard with both hands and operate the trackball with your right thumb and the buttons with your left thumb, making the operation of the trackball far easier.
The dpi adjustment available is really nice, and should please all kinds of users. For us at 400 dpi the cursor moved too slowly on the screen whereas at 1200 dpi the cursor moved too fast. So for normal use we set it at 800 dpi. Depending on your screen resolution you may want to set it to a different number.
Even though it looks like a laptop keyboard, the keys are very firm and precise and you can clearly feel when the key was correctly pressed, plus the keyboard makes the traditional clicking noise when operated. We personally like when we can hear and feel the keys being pressed. Some laptop-like keyboards don’t have these features, making us to spend some time looking on the screen to see if the keys we wanted where correctly pressed, slowing down our typing speed and create too many typos.
We could operate it from up to 28
feet (8.5 m), which far more than anyone needs. It probably has a range higher than that but we couldn’t test it because this was the maximum we could go inside our office!
In summary, Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless is a good keyboard.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless main features are:
- Dimensions: 12.56” x 7.60” x 1.30” (31.9 x 19.3 x 3.3 cm) (L x W x H)
- Weight: 1.77 lbs (800 g)
- Colors: black (KB008W-B) or silver (KB008W-S)
- Trackball with 2 buttons, 400, 800 or 1,200 dpi (user-selectable) and scroll wheel
- Seven hotkey buttons
- Wireless technology (2.4 GHz band)
- More information: https://www.enermax.com
- Average price in the US market: We reviewed this product before it was available on the US market. It should reach the market with a suggested retail price of USD 75.
[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]Strong Points
- Top-notch looks.
- High-quality trackball.
- Scroll wheel is an excellent addition.
- Works out of the box with video game consoles like Playstation 3.
- No extra software is needed to operate the multimedia and function keys.
- You can feel and hear the keys being pressed.
- Low battery indicator.
- It could be based on Bluetooth technology.
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