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Portable keyboard will flip you out


June 11, 2009

The Econo-Keys EK-76-TP, keyboard on top, touchpad on the back

The Econo-Keys EK-76-TP, keyboard on top, touchpad on the back

Like it or loathe it, the keyboard still reigns supreme as the king of computer input devices. With the netbooks of today manufacturers are faced with striking a balance between size and functionality. Some go for the full-sized keyboard that sacrifices some keys, while others simply opt for smaller keyboards. Neither solution suits everybody though, which is where portable keyboards like the EK-76-TP come in. But it's not just extra keys that set this unit apart - it's the surprising location of the trackpad.

The EK-76-TP offers 76 keys, including the full complement of 12 function keys, in a briefcase friendly size of 8.91s x 3.54 x 0.38-inches. The keyboard features a case sealed to IP67 standards to resist the collection of dirt, dust and debris that can be found in most bags, while the lack of any crevices around the keys means the it can be safely cleaned with the disinfectant of your choice. Connection is via USB and the keyboard is Windows and Linux compatible.

And now the odd part. The EK-76-TP has an integrated touchpad with dual buttons, which isn't so strange until you realize you have to flip keyboard upside down to use it. Small plastic legs at the corners support the keyboard when it is flipped over for touchpad use, so the keys aren’t supporting the weight of the device. And it’s probably just as well the EK-76-TP is of rugged construction since we’re not sure how long it would take for us to get sick of flipping the keyboard over before it found itself traveling towards the nearest wall at high speed. To be fair though, the keyboard obviously isn’t designed for everyday use and could save travelers the need to pack a mouse.

The Econo-Keys EK-76-TP is available now for USD$146.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick
1 Comment

This is one of the silliest ideas ever. Who would flip a keyboard over to switch from keyboard to mouse? Does any computer user tell themselves "for the next half-hour I am going to go without navigation but after that, I will catch up on all the mouse-intensive activities that I was putting off?"

I think not.

If they wanted to do without a palm-rest, why could they not use one of those pointer nubs integrated into the keyboard?

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