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-- Sunbeamtech Solar Illuminated Keyboard
-- Category: Review
-- Posted by: GideonX
-- Posted on: 2006-02-19
-- Price: ~ $29.99 USD
-- Pages: [ 1 ]
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Judging from the name of the keyboard, one would think it was somehow solar powered or was so brightly lit, it felt like the sun. Sadly, that isn't the case.

However, the Sunbeamtech Solar Illuminated Keyboard does provide a hard aluminum based device with some EL illumination.

Here are some features:

  • Black Aluminum Keyboard
  • Blue LED back lighting and lighted keys
  • Includes an ON/OFF button for the keyboard light!
  • 104 Key Layout including numeric keypad and hot keys
  • Multi-media Hot Keys for internet, email, sound, calculator and more
  • Slim ergonomic design
  • Fully compatible with PS/2
  • Works with: Windows 95/98/2000/XP/NT/ME
  • Lighting is suited for dim-light to no-light applications

 

 

At first glance, the glossy finish gives this keyboard a real smooth look. It comes as a full sized 104-key keyboard, which is great for folks with larger hands and fingers. Often times the aftermarket illuminated designs are compact, this is a nice change from the norm. This keyboard also boast a few multimedia shortcut keys lined across the top. The common browser, calculator and other useful keys are available for use.

I looked through the box the keyboard came in and noticed there wasn't any instructions or specifications sheet. In true Sunbeamtech fashion, here's how they package their software disk:

 

What do I do with this?! I assumed this floppy contained software to control the multimedia keys.

After opening the disk, there are three executables. From their names I figured they were made for 98, NT and 2k. Since I ran Windows XP Pro, I crossed my fingers and installed the 2k version. Install was quick and it made me reboot the machine when it was done.

After the install was completed, it installed an "Internet Keyboard" app into my system tray. So I doubled clicked on it and it opened up an HTML file explaining each multimedia keys' function. Oddly enough, this HTML file mentions a few keys that do not exist on the keyboard. For example, the web search and page refresh button. They do not exist!

 

From the left, the first set of keys are for opening the default web browser, email client and favorites. I had Firefox 1.5 as my default browser, which the "e" hot key was able to open. The email client opened also but the favorites failed to operate.

The next set was the back, forward and stop buttons for the browser. These did not work in Firefox nor did they work when I had IE open. The play/pause, previous track and next track worked only in Windows Media Player. I tried using Winamp, but that failed to produce any results.

 

The last set is the volume down, up, mute, My Computer, calculator and sleep buttons. These worked as described.

Between the Print Screen and Pause Break key is the Scroll lock/ EL on/off key. This key lets you turn on and off the blue backlight behind the keys. It looks odd in the picture above because they placed a sticker over the key that repeats the label. Not sure why, maybe because they want people to know it's there?

 

On the back side are two stands you can use to prop up the keyboard to type at an incline.

 

The status lights are powered by three bright blue LEDs.

 

The backlight is not very bright, but does provide enough light to view in the dark. The status LEDs feel like they overpower the backlight quite a bit.

Overall, the Sunbeamtech Solar Illuminated Keyboard is a decent keyboard. The aluminum build provides a sturdy feel to everything. The keys are soft and do not make much noise when pressed down upon. This would be a great keyboard to carry around to a LAN party. It's light weight and with a backlight, makes it easy to use in a dark setting.

Thanks to CrazyPC for sending over this sample!



Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Aluminum with a very glossy finish
  • Backlight


Cons:

  • Horrible instructions/packaging
  • Unmarked installation disk
  • Some multimedia keys are non-functional

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