Kensington’s Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set Review

keyboard3.jpgThe Ci Lifestyle Collection from Kensington continues to change the perception of typical Keyboard and Mouse designs. We previously reviewed the mice in the collection and the Ci70 Wireless Desktop set is no different, its sleek and space saving design combined with its excellent performance make the set a great addition to any computer set-up.

Set-Up / Installation:
The Ci70 Wireless Desktop set comes with 1 USB Receiver for both the mouse and keyboard included in the package, 4 AA batteries to insert into the keyboard and mouse, and a USB extension cable and manual. Setup was very simple. All I had to do was insert the batteries into both the keyboard and mouse and plug in the USB receiver and waalah everything worked instantaneously. I set it up on both a computer running Windows Vista and an Apple Mac Pro running Boot Camp with Vista and the Mac OS, and in both situations the mouse and keyboard were picked up right away.

Performance and Usability:
It’s rare to find a keyboard that has command keys for both Apple and PC but the Ci70 however does. It takes a little time to get used to it because it throws off the layout of a typical “PC” keyboard to make way for the extra “Apple” keys. Right along with the Windows command key for the start menu is the Apple symbol for the Mac menu. There is also a helpful eject key for the Mac OS. For someone running Boot Camp, like myself, this is the best of both worlds. It’s almost blasphemy! The arrow keys also take some time to get used to…the keys themselves are smaller than usual and if you play games using the keyboard, that might be frustrating. The multimedia keys at the top of the keyboard were great – I could adjust my volume or mute with ease. The hot keys loaded my default browser without a hitch and Outlook as well.

I also tried typing on the keyboard from about 6 feet away and it worked fine. I even tried taking the keyboard around my cube and it worked from there as well. As for the mouse in the set, with a 1000dpi optical sensor, the mouse has excellent sensitivity and performed really well. Check out our in depth review of the Ci Lifestyle Collection mice for more about the mouse.

keyboard2.jpgErgonomics and Comfort:
As we previously mentioned in our review of the Ci Lifestyle Mice, the mice in this series can be used for by both Righties and Lefties. Overall the mouse is comfortable to use and has a design that is very similar to the mice from Apple, but it is not an ergonomic mouse. The scroll wheel is a pleasure to use and its sensitivity and speediness are very well balanced. The keyboard is super comfortable as well and reminds me of typing on my laptop. I have always said why can’t manufacturers make keyboards that feel like laptop keyboards and I have to say this comes pretty close. The keys are soft to the touch and typing is a breeze. I hardly make mistakes and it’s overall a pleasure to use. However, if you have serious hand cramps, then I suggest getting a wrist cushion strip for the front of the keyboard so you can rest your wrist on it for heavy typing because it seems that despite being very comfortable to use, this keyboard was created to be a sleek and space saving design, and ergonomics is not its strength.

Battery Life:
Both the keyboard and mouse take 2 AA Batteries and both components have indicator lights when the batteries need to be changed. I have used them now for a few weeks and they are the same strength as when I first put the batteries in. Kensington claims a 6 month battery life on 2 AA batteries.

One of the biggest draws for anyone who is interested in this desktop set should be the portability and it’s space saving design. The Keyboard’s slim design and light weight make it easy for you to take it anywhere. I have gotten many compliments on what a neat looking keyboard I have and how slim it is. Some even had said “What is that?!” and when I say it’s a keyboard they go “really?!” Yes, really, and not only does it save space on my desk by being so thin and small if you stand it up on it’s plastic legs, on the underside of the keyboard there is a slot were you can insert a 4×6 photo! So the device transforms from keyboard to photo frame in a split second. It’s a little gimmicky, but I like it. Also, the top of the keyboard has a neat sliding door to hide the hot keys, and whilst covering the hotkeys it unveils a docking port for your mouse. Unfortunately the keyboard doesn’t charge the mouse while it’s docking, but the dock does work to conserve battery and more desk space.

Overall I really liked this keyboard and I have used many, many keyboards during my lifetime. The Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set brings together the best of both worlds. Its soft touch keys and sleek design, as well as compatibility with both Apple and PC make it a great choice for those who have Boot Camp running on a Mac system. I especially like the functional goodies that the set has to offer- that despite its sleek design, they managed to fit in a mouse dock and a photo slot on the bottom of the keyboard is ingenious. My biggest gripe is the color of the set – gray. The design is very sleek and modern, but it would make even more of visual impact if it came in a different color, or at least a choice of different colors like the other mice in the Ci LifeStyle Collection. Still, I’m quite taken with the Ci70 Wireless Desktop set and would recommend it to most types of computer users. The set retails for $79.99

The Good:
Comfortable keys and ingenious design that saves space and has command keys for both Apple and PC

The Bad:
Not a gamer’s keyboard – arrow keys are small and require adjusting too.

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