Excellent range of adjustment for better ergonomic orientation, and with a light and smooth key action to match. We also check out the Goldtouch Apple Compatible Numeric Keypad

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The Goldtouch Apple Compatible Adjustable Keyboard Revisited - Review

10228 Back in April, I reviewed here the Key Ovation Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard. While I liked the concept, and found the infinite range of adjustment between a conventional flat orientation and a pronation-friendly splayed inverted-vee well-engineered, I was disappointed with the key action, noting that while the Goldtouch 'board's key action was reasonably short-travel with a soft landing, key-resistance was stiffer than I prefer, and the keys sometimes had a tendency to "misfire" if not firmly pressed, which negates the advantage of their relatively soft landing.

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Consequently, I could not rate Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard's key action as better than average, and that was being charitable. However, after I posted the review, a Key Ovation spokesperson informed me that the key pressure issue on the Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard had now been addressed, and offered to send another test unit for me to check out. Apparently, There had been an issue with the manufacturer, caught early on, and the early production keyboards sent to me for review had been set to an incorrect pressure.

So, another test unit was dispatched as promised, and I'm delighted to report that it has very nice key action - comfortably light with no "over-center" harshness, still soft landing, and with no "misfires." Indeed, much better than average, and I expect that most users will find it quite satisfactory and comfortable to use.

Another point I noted in the review was that the Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard has no numeric keypad, an omisssion that helps keep the keyboard footprint relatively compact at about 18 inches wide fully expanded position x 7 inches deep, and which I didn't personally find a major inconvenience, but users who work with spreadsheets would. Happily, an optional, freestanding numeric keypad is now available , and one of these units was included with the corrected test keyboard.




The Apple Compatible Numeric Keypad Hub was created specifically to bundle with the Apple Compatible Adjustable Keyboard, with which matches in style and quality. Because it is a freestanding module separate from the main keyboard, the Numeric Keypad can be placed where it is most comfortable for the individual user, and provides desirable flexibility in periodically changing arm, hand and shoulder position.




One thing I don't like about the Goldtouch Numeric Keypad is really a criticism of the Apple Compatible Adjustable Keyboard, which has no USB repeater ports, so one is obliged to use up another precious port in one's USB hub to lug the keypad in. I'm not singling Goldtouch out on this point. More and more keyboards these days are being designed without repeater ports. I expect it has something to do with cost, and the assumption that most users have USB hubs. I do, but the port array is always filled up and I end up routinely unplugging devices to accommodate other peripherals.




Happily, the Apple Compatible Numeric Keypad Hub has two USB repeater ports that support low voltage devices like a mouse, but unfortunately does not support having the keyboard plugged into it, so you're still going to use up two USB ports for the keyboard and keypad.




You can find out more about the Goldtiuch Apple Compatible Numeric Keypad Hub here.
http://www.keyovation.com/pc-69-14-goldtouch-apple-compatible-numeric-keypad.aspx

The Goldtouch Apple Compatible Adjustable Keyboard is claimed to be the first fully adjustable ergonomic keyboard for Macintosh users, and I can't think of any other 'board in this category that has ever supported the Mac, although makers of other ergonomic keyboard solutions - say the Kinesis folks - will doubtless dispute Key Ovation's assertion that "if it isn't adjustable, it isn't ergonomic." However, the Goldtouch keyboard's signature feature is its adjustability.

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The Adjustable Ergonomic Keyboard allows you to configure its two split alphanumeric keypad sections both horizontally and vertically to suit your individual body requirements. Placing your hands flat on the keys of a keyboard can require considerable muscular effort, which in turn can cause fatigue and discomfort. The Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard's two keyboard segments can be raised in the center to more closely match the natural alignment of the forearm and wrist. Forcing your hands down to the keyboard is a hand movement known as pronation. This is the rotation of the right hand in a counter-clockwise direction and clockwise for the left. The theory is that this helps you assume a more natural posture conducive to relieving unnatural stress on your arms and wrists, thus improving comfort and productivity while using your computer.

For example, if you orient the Goldtouch's keypads in an inverted-V "vertical tenting" configuration with the nearsides splayed, your hands and wrists can assume natural pronation body-English that does not stress joints and tendons, or the carpal tunnel. Adjustment within the 0°-30° range provided in both planes is infinite, quick, and easy to change.

You can of course also use the Goldtouch keyboard in a conventional flat orientation. You would probably not want to pay the premium price for this sort of use exclusively, but it is very convenient if more than one person uses the computer, and other users are not accustomed to and comfortable with typing on a split and angled orientation 'board. Configuration of the 'board back to flat mode is simple and virtually instant. Just flip out the large locking "over-center" lever at the top of the 'board, orient the keypads to the desired angles, and flip the lever back home to lock the configuration in place via the ball and socket latch mechanism. Wraparound soft rubber-like contact pads provide traction and protection for the support surface with the keypads set at any angle.




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The "vertical tenting" configuration certainly does position your hands and wrists in a more relaxed orientation, and should without question result in less stress on muscles, tendons, and those troublesome nerve tunnel sheaths in your wrists. This mode is of course more practical for touch typists, as if you're of the hunt-and-peck school, it does make it more difficult to watch the keys. On the other hand, adjusting to that could be preferable to living with sore arms and wrists.




The Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard has a standard QUERTY layout for the main keys, but is a bit unorthodox in other aspects. As noted above, there is no numeric keypad, which helps keep the keyboard footprint relatively compact at about 18 inches wide fully expanded position x 7 inches deep.

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The keys are labeled with Apple conventions, but with a slightly different configuration from usual in some instances. Because of the split feature, there are two space bars, flanked on both sides by Command and Option keys, but the Control key is at the far left of the bottom row, outboard of a Help key that is not very helpful in that position, IMHO. An eight-key pad on the extreme right includes the latter two keys plus a Power key, a Num Lock key, a Mute key, two audio volume keys, and a CD/DVD eject key, and well as Caps Lock and Num Lock warning LEDs - the latter a new addition since the first 'boards I tested..




On the opposite end of the 'board, there are Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys arranged vertically outboard of the main keypad, and inverted-T navigation keys where you would expect the to be.

At the top, there are thirteen F-Keys (a bonus of one over what you get with laptop keyboards), and an extra Delete key.

Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard Features Include:
• USB connector
• Adjustment for wrist splay in the horizontal plan: 0├é┬░-30├é┬░, continuously variable
• Adjustment for wrist pronation - vertical tenting 0├é┬░-30├é┬░, continuously variable
• Easily adjusted, locking ball and socket latch mechanism
• Small, space saving foot-print to bring your mouse inside your ergonomic "comfort zone"
• Editing key layout for left-right work distribution
• Large space bars for easy thumb use
• Full size, full travel, tactile feedback keys with soft end-stop
• Low noise key actuation
• Standard alphanumeric key layout (QWERTY)

Goldtouch Apple Compatible Numeric Keypad Features Include:
• 22 Keys
• 2 USB Ports allow users maximum versitility to plug your mouse or other low voltage devices into the keypad,
for a more organized workspace.
• The keypad has all of the essential keys, such as:
• Tab, Escape, Delete;
• Page Navigation buttons which include, home, end, page up, page down, left and right arrows, up and
down arrows.

Specifications:
• Switch life 20 million cycles
• Soft Tactile Feel
• Operating Force 2.0 oz ├é┬▒ 0.7 oz
• Pre-travel 0.08" ├é┬▒ 0.24"
• Total Travel 0.16" -0.2"
• Tactile Force 2.3 oz ├é┬▒ 0.7 oz

If you have typing pain issues, and split and angled-orientation keypads seem like a solution for you, the Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard may well be your ideal choice, and indeed, to my knowledge the only such product available with a native Apple key layout and labeling.

The Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard seems solidly constructed with a high standard of finish, and is surprisingly heavy in the context of today's keyboards, no doubt due substantially to the adjustment mechanism, which seems very robust. I am now happy to report that I can give its keyswitch action, feel, and accuracy a postive rating as well.

The Goldtouch Apple Compatible Keyboard sells for $139.00

The Apple Compatible Numeric Keypad Hub sells separately for $49.95

The Apple Compatible Keyboard and Numeric Keypad Hub Bundle is $179.95

For more information, visit:
http://www.keyovation.com/


Charles W. Moore



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