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-- Zippy EL-715 Keyboard
-- Price: ~$53.00 USD
-- 01.26.2003
-- By: GideonX
-- Page: 1

   Most modders nowadays have just about seen it all.  What used to be made by hand through hard work and sweat can be bought at your corner computer bodega.  With all this hype and focus on the case modification industry, there has to be some product that sticks out from the crowd.  Or is there?

   No one really knows who started the fad of sticking some EL wire underneath your keyboard to give it a glowing appeal.  Either way, we have a sample keyboard from the folks at Zippy, who think they have the upper hand on the 'modders'.  Lets see what they got...

   Here are some specs:

  • Dimensions:435 x170 x 26 mm

  • Weight: 650g

  • Cable length: 1.5 meters

  • Interface: USB

  • Keystroke life: 10 million

  • Switch type: scissors

  • Key operating force: 55 +/- 20g

   The keyboard layout is your basic QWERTY, shrunk into a slim package powered by your USB port.  My first impression was that the keys are just a bit too close to each other.  Compared to my MS Internet Keyboard, it is about an inch smaller on each side.  The Home, PG DWN, etc. keys are now lined up on the sides vertical to the Enter, Backspace keys.  The common Windows button also makes an appearance.

   There are no quick mapable buttons, but there is an extra button at the top right labeled EL on/off.  Which basically turns the blue EL light on and off.  I'm sure that's what you all really wanted to see anyway, so here it is:

   Everything on this unit screams blue, even the Num, Caps, Scroll lock indicators.

   On the left side of the space bar, there is an extra \ key.  This is a great convenience, very good idea to throw that extra key there.  It is also repeated on the right side above the Enter key like other keyboards.

   So this model is real nifty with all the pretty lights, but how does it work? Will it give you carpel tunnel? Well, maybe, maybe not.  Since it is a slim keyboard, anyone with oversized fingers will have a tough time.  When I first started using it, it took a good few hours on IRC typing non-stop to get used to it.  I constantly made typing mistakes and whatnot.  I also noticed the keys had this problem of sticking.  It didn't go away until after about 10 hours of use, it's now very soft without any sticking problems.

   The EL light is not too bright, but is definitely noticeable in the dark.  It makes for night time typing much easier.  You can always turn it off using the EL button.

   Here are the only two real problems I've had with this model.  There are no feet stands on the back to prop this keyboard up.  It just lays flat, which sometimes makes for difficult typing.  Here's the second problem:

   A part of the printed Enter key came off!

   Overall, the keyboard is neat to look at with average usability.  I would use this if I attended a local LAN or get together.  At home, a larger keyboard is more to my liking with spaced out keys.  The EL factor gives it a push into the cool category, so if that's what you're after, definitely get it.

   Thanks to Frog Tuning for sending over this sample!

  Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • EL lit
  • Blue all over
  • Keys are easy to press

  Cons:

  • Very close keys, needs getting used to
  • No feet to prop it up
  • Key labels may come off over time

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