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The most typical computer keyboards are about twice as wide as they are long and have dedicated arrow and navigational keys. Many also have a numeric keypad. Do all of us need this type of keyboard or would a keyboard dedicated to our needs be a better fit?
Rosewill thinks a keyboard created for the specific task at hand is a better idea. They have created a unique computer keyboard that you can use as part of a home theater system… a distinctive keyboard for a dedicated use.
The Rosewill RK- V1TP comes in a black box, enclosed in a black sleeve, as shown in Figure 1.
Inside the box is the keyboard itself, the USB wireless dongle, and four AA-batteries, as shown in Figure 2.
As you can see in Figure 2, this is no ordinary keyboard. It is shaped differently than most keyboards. While most keyboards are wider than they are deep, this one, at 12.2" (310 mm) wide and 8.5” (216 mm) deep, has a much squarer look. It is 0.55" (14 mm) high when the legs are folded in.
Figure 3 shows the Rosewill next to a more conventional keyboard. There is a big difference!
The Rosewill RD-V1TP does not have any setup instructions, quick start guide, or user’s guide. Instead, the features and instructions for use are printed on the back of the box which is shown in Figure 4. The box includes a diagram of the keyboard and a listing of shortcut keys, shortcut buttons, and finger gestures for the touchpad.
Although this does save on excess paper, it won’t be good for those of us who like to save the instructions. Our first thought was that this would be okay as long as the instructions were online, but unfortunately, we could not find any of these diagrams or lists online.
We wished for the inclusion of a Quick Start Guide. There are some setup instructions on the box, but they are not at the top where you might expect them. Instead they are sandwiched between the features diagram and the package contents, so they are very easy to miss. The box instructions state, “To pair, press the “BIND” button on the receiver, then click “Fn+F11” button together on the keyboard, or click the RESET button on the bottom of the keyboard."
While we are just geeky enough to be able to follow these instructions, uninitiated folks who tried the setup didn’t know if they should plug the receiver into the computer and then click the BIND button or press the button then plug it in. Also, while the RESET button is marked, the BIND button is not. There is only one button on the receiver so why not just say “press the button on the receiver” instead of using the word BIND, which some may find confusing.
That said, the actual setup is fairly easy. Of course, as you can see in Figure 5, we had to insert the batteries into the bottom of the keyboard. In Figure 5, you can also see the RESET button on the left.
On one Windows 7 computer, we had to restart the computer with the keyboard plugged in to get it to be recognized, but on several other XP, Vista, and Win 7 computers, the keyboard was recognized without rebooting.
[nextpage title=”Using the Keyboard”]Although it is thin and light, this Rosewill RK-V1TP keyboard feels sturdy and well-made. The keys have a nice tactile feel and offer a slight “click” when they are pressed. All of the keys are full sized, making touch typing a breeze.
The keyboard has no dedicated number pad. As shown in Figure 6, you can use the Fn key along with the several other keys which have numbers marked in blue, to create a number pad. You can also use the Num Lock key on the top row as a toggle to turn the number keys on and off.
Since most desktop systems default in the BIOS to having the Num Lock key enabled, it took us a little extra thinking to realize that we needed to press the Num Lock key to get the keys in the numlock area to stop typing numbers. If Rosewill included a Quick Start Guide, this would be a good thing to state in the guide.
Since this keyboard was made to be used with a home theater system, we tried it out in that environment first. We have struggled in the past when using regular computer keyboards and mice to control a computer that was hooked up to the television on the other side of the room. Even when using wireless devices, the keyboards were always difficult to keep stable on your lap and it was always difficult to find a nearby surface for the mouse. The Rosewill RK-V1TP solved both of these problems. Because of its shape, the keyboard sits in a stable position on your lap, and the trackpad is right at your fingertips.
You can also use finger gestures on the touchpad. So you can use the touchpad itself to click, right-click, drag, and scroll. These take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, they are very useful.
The touchpad can be changed to be left-handed by altering the Mouse settings in Windows, but that seemed to be the only customization available. Although this keyboard has more specific buttons and shortcuts than most, it might still be nice to have one or two keys to customize.
[nextpage title=”Multimedia Functionality”]
The Rosewill RK-V1T has ten small round dedicated buttons with clearly marked icons indicating their use. As shown in Figure 7, on the left side of the touchpad are keys for the following functions:
- Media center
- Media layer
- 3D Flip
- Next track
- Previous track
On the right side of the touchpad are keys for:
- Volume up
- Volume down
These keys are all very useful when you are dealing with audio and video. We also found the inclusion of the 3D Flip button to be very useful.
Rosewill also includes several other shortcut keys. Seven of the Function keys also work as special shortcut keys when pressed while holding down the Fn keys. Most of these are quite useful. Each of the function keys that has a shortcut attached to it are marked with blue icons symbolizing their use, as shown in Figure 8.
- Fn + F1: My Computer
- Fn + F2: Search
- Fn + F3: Calculator
- Fn + F4: Email
- Fn + F6: WWW
- Fn + F7: Favorites
- Fn + F8: Back
As mentioned earlier, pressing Fn + F11 is the BIND combination.
We really liked using this keyboard to control a computer that is attached to a television. Rosewill states that the keyboard will work up to 20 meters from the receiver. In our tests, we found that we could easily use the keyboard from the far point in just about any room.
After testing the keyboard in a multimedia setting, we decided to see if we could also use it as a keyboard for one of our work computers, which is a desktop computer with the mouse and keyboard in a keyboard drawer. As shown in Figure 9, without the need of a separate mouse and with the smaller width of the keyboard, it gave us a little extra space for stacking papers.
The keyboard worked well as an everyday keyboard. The only problem that we had was that sometimes our wrists inadvertently hit the touchpad. The keyboard had pretty typical pop-out feet, shown in Figure 10. The feet were about 1” (25.4 mm) high. We wondered if they could be made just slightly higher to make typing without contacting the touchpad just a little easier.
While we didn’t have the keyboard long enough to test the battery life, Rosewill states that the keyboard has a power saving technology with auto sleep that extends the battery life to more than 3 months.
The specs for the Rosewill RK-V1TP are:
- Dimensions: 0.55 x 12 x 8.5 inches (14 x 310 x 216 mm)
- Color: Black
- Wireless: 2.4 GHz
- Keypad type: QWERTY 88 keys
- Warranty: One year
- More Information: https://www.rosewill.com
- Average Price in the US*: USD 60.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
The unique shape, sturdy build, dedicated multi-media keys, integrated touchpad, and good wireless range make this an excellent choice for a home theater setup that uses a computer. We found it much more comfortable to use in that environment than a regular wireless keyboard and mouse.
Although it might take a little while to get used to the shortcut keys, there is really no learning curve. Everything is clearly marked. The keyboard itself, has very limited customization options, but there are shortcut buttons or function keys that can be used for most multimedia applications.
The keyboard could also be a good choice for someone who wants to avoid using a mouse, perhaps because of carpal tunnel or other physical difficulties.
- Full-size keys
- Integrated touchpad
- Excellent shape for using in lap
- Usable finger gestures for touchpad
- Slim and light, but sturdy
- Excellent range
- Built-in numeric keypad
- Good shortcut keys and function key shortcuts
- Poor setup instructions
- Not customizable