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Celluon Magic Cube review: laser keyboard

A virtual keyboard projected onto your desk with a laser

It still looks and feels like science fiction, but this actually works. With the Magic Cube from Celluon you can create a fully functional keyboard on any surface, that types much better than the mini-keyboards on your average smartphone. The added value for tablets is more limited, because for those there are many more alternatives in terms of external keyboards.

Keyboards remain a tough issue. Not from the point of view of the person using their laptop or desktop, but more from a design standpoint, for things like smartphone and tablets. No matter how you look at it, the keyboard is still unbeaten when it comes to quickly entering text. It's also a fact that the traditional keyboard takes up a lot of space, especially if you want a comfortable working environment. Celluon thinks it has come up with the perfect solution with the Magic Cube. This little device projects a full-sized keyboard onto any opaque surface. Can you really type in the air? Here is the Hardware.Info review.

The Magic Cube from Celluon is a rectangular little box with rounded edges, and actually a cuboid and not a cube. It's quite compact, measuring 7.6 cm x 3.9 cm x 3 cm. The Magic Cube has a very nice transparent, plastic box, in a style that resembles Apple and, more recently, some Logitech products. This deluxe look is also reflected by the price, because £107 is a lot for a keyboard. However, similar products used to cost much more. It's not that extreme either compared to other high-end accessories. A standard Bluetooth keyboard will cost you around £45, and mechanical keyboards can cost almost as much as this Magic Cube. On the other hand, you pay the extra money for such keyboard to get a better typing experience, and it's questionable whether that will be the case here. Then again, the Magic Cube is very portable, which can't be said of the other keyboards.

If we compared the typing experience to that of a traditional keyboard, the verdict would obviously be in favour of the latter.

Instead we compared to onscreen touch keyboards on various mobile devices. The Magic Cube is so compact that the designers made a little hole in one of the corners to attach a cord, which you then can hang on your keychain for example. This will probably only be comfortable if you wear super baggy pants with huge pockets, because it's still too bulky for normal trousers.

Hardware.Info tested the Magic Cube with a number of Bluetooth devices, including an Android tablet, an iPhone, and also via USB and a desktop PC. That last scenario probably won't be happening very often, but Celluon claims it works, so we tested it.

The good news is that this virtual keyboard actually works. When you connect it via USB (which also charges the cuboid) the Magic Cube is recognised like a normal keyboard. The projected keyboard measures about 24 cm x 10 cm when the Magic Cube is on the same surface as its projection. The distance between the projected keyboard and the Cube is about 9.5 cm. If you place the projector higher, the keyboard becomes larger and the distance increases as well. It only works when it's on the same level, however.

The Magic Cube works very straight-forward, even with Bluetooth. The latter takes a little more effort, since you have to enter a code in order to pair the two devices. You enter the code with the keyboard. As soon as it's detected, you can start typing away. We found that you sometimes had to try a few times before it was detected.

You can read the rest of the review on Hardware.Info.

Celluon Magic Cube

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