Adesso SlimTouch WKB-3000

The Adesso SlimTouch WKB-3000U is a wireless keyboard / trackball combo. Using 2x AAA batteries, it operates in the 2.4 GHz range and has an advertised range of 30 ft. Since it is a HID-compliant device, it works for PCs (including MCE applications), game consoles, media streamers and most smart TVs. The trackball is on the top right, while the mouse buttons and scroll wheel / middle button are on the left.

The unique feature of the SlimTouch WKB-3000 is the feel and ease of movement of the laser sensor trackball. Compared to the IOGEAR GKM561R and the SIIG JK-WR0412-S1, the trackball feels more solid and easier to use. Unlike the IOGEAR unit, there is no selectable DPI resolution for the trackball - it is fixed at 800 DPI. The 2.4 GHz spectrum is pretty crowded, and it is to Adesso's advantage that the kit can operate in one of 8 different frequencies in the 2.4 GHz band. The contouring of the keyboard sides also makes it much easier to hold and operate compared to the IOGEAR GKM561R. On the hardware side, there are four rubber 'buttons' for slip-resistance on the underside. The battery compartment is on the same side at the top. An explicit on/off toggle switch is to the left, while a Connect button to modify the communication channel is on the right. However, the most attractive feature of the WKB-3000U (and most of the other Adesso keyboards that we are discussing today) is the availability of a recessed magentized receptacle on the underside. It can be used to safely stow away the USB key when moving the keyboard to another PC / storing it for later use.

An issue with most of the HTPC-oriented keyboards is that the ergonomics make it very difficult to operate them with a single hand. For typical PC usage, it is acceptable to expect both hands to be used to interact. However, in the living room, it is often common to have the device by the side rather than hold it with both hands (particularly, when using it as a replacement for a mouse). In this context, the SlimTouch WKB-3000 has a drawback, as the mouse buttons are on the left side while the trackball is on the right.

Compared to the similar IOGEAR unit, the keys are proportional (no oversized Return or Backspace keys), though the layout makes it necessary to reduce the size of the Shift key and move the Delete and Insert keys to non-traditional locations. Unlike the SIIG JK-WR0412-S1, the Ctrl and Fn keys are placed in the appropriate location. A similarity with the SIIG keyboards is the presence of a numeric keypad along with the traditional keys, activated by a combination of the Num Lock and Fn keys. With the SIIG keyboards, it still gives me much grief (particularly while typing in passwords for Windows login) - as there is no standard amongst PCs / BIOSes to bring out the Num Lock activated or deactivated at boot time. The Adesso keyboards suffer from the same issue as the SIIG. However, the user can easily identify the issue, thanks to the status LED in the middle of the shortcut buttons on the top row. In addition to the Num Lock, we also have the Caps Lock as well as low battery indicators.

The scissor-switch keys are a pleasure to type on. There are seven multimedia hotkeys which work well with XBMC (and, I suspect, most other media players). Dedicated Internet hotkeys are also present. The scroll-wheel can also act as a middle mouse button, making the keyboard design very flexible. All in all, a very comfortable keyboard layout with the right tradeoffs, though I can say that the numeric keypad feature won't be missed if it goes away. The keyboard currently sells on Amazon for $56.

Introduction Adesso SlimTouch WKB-4400
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  • bill.rookard - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    I had one of the Adesso WKB-3000 series keyboards, they were quite nice for the HTPC usage. The first one sadly had a candle knocked over on it, and wound up catching fire and melting. Don't ask how that happened. Just don't. :)

    The replacement was a bit buggy for some reason, and would occasionally lock up requiring a pull of the batteries and a reset. Also, the trackball was a bit jerky and didn't seem to have very good resolution for some reason. Then it just died. Perhaps a twitchy unit?

    Now I have one of those mini-keyboards which actually works great for htpc usage (trackpad) with basic typing, any extensive typing is out of the question though.
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Hmm.. these look interesting, but none of them look good enough to best my go-to solution, the Logitech MediaBoard Pro: https://support.logitech.com/en_us/product/3616 . The only downside is that it's not available anymore (much like my favorite HTPC remote, the Gyration Media Remote), and it's really designed for a PlayStation 3, which means it lacks a Windows key. Apart from that, it uses Bluetooth, which saves me from having to waste a USB slot on a wireless dongle, and it's a full-sized keyboard. Reply
  • rwpritchett - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    I've been doing the HTPC thing for about 8 years and I've tried a number of keyboards. I've used a mouse+keyboard, trackballs, and mini keyboards. For my setup, the end all keyboard that is close to perfect is the “Logitech Mini”. It looks just like the DiNovo Mini (which I also have), but it has a few key differences:

    - it uses standard RF rather than bluetooth
    - the range is better
    - the battery life is incredible
    - slightly different button layout
    - it's far less expensive than the DiNovo Mini for some reason

    In practice, I never liked the DiNovo Mini due to connection issues and lockups. I've also used the Lenovo N5902 Enhanced with my HTPC until one of the kids spilled soda on it >;( and it was a decent HTPC keyboard. The backlighting is nowhere near as nice as on the Logitech Mini however. If you want a small, inexpensive backlit keyboard for your HTPC give it a look.
    Reply
  • wffurr - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Tiny right shift keys! No good!

    I can't stand those. I greatly prefer half height arrow keys.

    I think my ideal HTPC setup is an Apple Wireless keyboard with a magic bar attaching a magic trackpad.
    Reply
  • hughlle - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    I'd have preferred that it was just a big HTPC keyboard roundup given what is available these days, instead of just one companies offerings. But hey, you have your reasons...

    None of these really appeal to me, i'll just keep on using my tried and trusted di novo edges.
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    It's a shame they discontinued the diNovo Edge and don't really have a replacement in the same league. Reply
  • hughlle - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    definately. While in the past i've had the disconnect issues to the point of considering a replacement (since fixed somehow, think just due to a change in room setup), nothing has ever come close to it in terms of style and quality. to the point that instead of buying an alternative, i just bought a second one for a different computer, to hell with the price.

    Aesthetically, every keyboard in this article is utter junk. Wouldn't be at all surprised if they are junk. Think i'd take my dinovo mini over anything reviewed here despite the cramped form factor (that and i lost it, it's somewhere, just don't know where, damned form factor!)
    Reply
  • deadlockedworld - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    I would love to see these compared to current offerings from Logitech, etc. A review of all one brand just isn't that helpful. Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Am I the only one who finds the selection of the devices and the receivers more than just a little odd? Seems like a random selection of relabelled cheap China devices to me. The size of the receiver are usually big topics as well as the compatibility with other devices because you'll only have a limited amount of USB ports (depending on what you're trying to use) and some of them are also visible so you don't want to connect any random crap to it. I already have far too many devices connected to my HTPC: 2 Logitech receivers (one unifying and one not :( ), 1 Bluetooth receiver, a Logitech Driving Force GT and a XBox 360 Wireless receiver. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    BlueTooth uses 2.4GHz also, and there can be interference between BT and WiFi.
    http://www.ecnmag.com/articles/2012/03/wi-fi-and-b...
    Reply

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