capsule review

Kensington Ci70 Desktop Set (Titanium)

At a Glance
  • Kensington Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set

    PCWorld Rating

    The keyboard is stylish and sleek, but PC users will have to adapt to its key placement, and the mouse is uncomfortably small.

Flat-screen monitors and desktop replacement notebooks gave users more room on their work surfaces. Now Kensington's Ci70 Desktop Set aims to cut more clutter.

The set includes a stylishly flat wireless keyboard that's significantly smaller than a standard multimedia keyboard, along with a flattish wireless scroll mouse that's roughly one-third thinner than most desktop mice. Despite its size, the keyboard has dedicated launch keys and multimedia controls. The keyboard and the mouse each use two AA batteries and enter an auto-sleep state to save power. When you insert the mouse into the sliding hide-away docking port on top of the keyboard, the mouse turns off. Using these devices requires no software. When you aren't working, you can flip the keyboard upright on its flat top edge, revealing a pouch underneath that can hold a 4-by-6-inch photo--a pleasantly goofy feature.

So far so good. But I think Kensington erred in making the Ci70 devices both PC- and Mac-compatible. To do that, it had to put the Mac's cloverlike <Command> key where a Windows PC's <Ctrl> key usually resides. When you hook the keyboard up to a PC, the key defaults to a secondary <Windows> key, though the real <Windows> key is just two spots over.

If my tests are any indication, most PC users will be screaming over the frequent typos that will ensue because keys are located in unexpected places. For example, when I save a document in Microsoft Word on a regular keyboard, I press the default <Ctrl>-S, but on the Ci70 keyboard I activated the Start menu or inadvertently typed the letter s.

Because the keys are flat, they make the keyboard look sleek; but they provide less tactile feedback than fuller keys do, which may not suit some typists.

The Ci70 mouse--which is sold separately as well--seems based on the Mac mouse design. It did not conform to the cup of my hand as regular desktop mice do, and I found it ergonomically uncomfortable after a few minutes of use.

Still, the Ci70 Desktop Set's handsome, low profile neatly increases your desk's available real estate. The main drawback: You'll need to relearn where the <Ctrl> key is.

Michael S. Lasky

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The keyboard is stylish and sleek, but PC users will have to adapt to its key placement, and the mouse is uncomfortably small.

    Pros

    • Small size saves desktop real estate
    • Dedicated launch keys for Internet and e-mail

    Cons

    • Mac keys' placement can cause typos for PC users
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