The KeySonic KSK-3201 RF is a small wireless keyboard with a built-in trackball, designed for media-centre PCs and presentations.

As the PC spreads beyond the office and into the leisure space, tech designers are having to think beyond the traditional desktop setup; a full-size keyboard and mouse is overkill for a media-centre PC in the living room.

A popular approach is to combine the two into a single wireless device. Firms have recently created keyboard/mouse hybrids by adding an accelerometer, a trackpad or, in the case of the KeySonic KSK-3201 RF, a built-in trackball.

KeySonic KSK-3201 RF: Design

KeySonic's latest offering for the sofa set looks great. The main board is a pleasingly muted brushed metal, with the keys done in matt black plastic. There are two 'mouse buttons' – left and right click – at the top left, while the trackball is at the top right.

The KeySonic KSK-3201 RF's typing action is pretty nice. The keys are a touch 'splashy', with a shallow feel and a slight rattle, but their lightness should be good for quick typing, once you've got used to the small keys and lack of space.

KeySonic KSK-3201 RF: Wireless

Unfortunately, we encountered problems with the wireless that put paid to our attempts at speedy, accurate typing. The 2.4GHz signal appears not to be terribly strong, because we experienced serious errors when the dongle and keyboard were separated by even a few feet.

Sometimes no text showed up for seconds at a time, then it would all come out suddenly in an error-strewn rush; other times a key would stick and we'd end up with something like thisssssssssssss. Most serious were the occasions when the Del key locked in and wiped away chunks of our work before we moved the cursor: thank goodness for Undo.

We tried various strategies to fix this issue, including testing two review models with a number of PCs and Macs. With the KeySonic right next to our test system and the reviewer typing slowly, we managed some error-free paragraphs, but quick typing, barriers of any kind or distance of more than a couple of metres seemed to give it headaches. According to KeySonic, the KSK-3201 RF should work at a range of 10m or more, but that doesn't tally with our findings.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

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KeySonic KSK-3201 RF: Specs

  • Wireless keyboard
  • 2.4GHz
  • built-in 7mm optical trackball
  • two mouse buttons
  • claimed wireless range 10m
  • error-free wireless range in testing 1-2m
  • 226x127x24mm
  • 310g (including batteries)
  • Wireless keyboard
  • 2.4GHz
  • built-in 7mm optical trackball
  • two mouse buttons
  • claimed wireless range 10m
  • error-free wireless range in testing 1-2m
  • 226x127x24mm
  • 310g (including batteries)

OUR VERDICT

We'd love to recommend this wireless keyboard, which is attractive, pleasant to type on and reasonably priced. But chronic problems with the wireless signal mean we can’t.

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