There seems to be a bit of a trend for flexible keyboards lately.
Personally, I don't see the big deal. Have you ever opened up your keyboard? It's just a very flexible membrane in a hard plastic shell. Take that membrane and wrap it in a rubber shell, and you have a flexible keyboard. Of course, the "niche factor" of doing this often yields a higher price than your $10 Mitsumi.
Flexible keyboards will flex (thus the name), are spill resistant, dust resistant, are very quiet and look pretty groovy. But typically a flexible keyboard leaves the user with a feel far detached from that of a regular keyboard.
The most common unit on the market of flexible keyboards is the one often sold as simply the "Smart Flexible Keyboard". Certainly, the "Smart" keyboard has its advantages, but one of the biggest complaints of it is its complete lack of keyboard feedback.
I wanted to see if there was an alternative to the "Smart" keyboard, so I did some poking around. I found the "Coolgreen (http://www.coolgreen.co.jp) FOLD-2000" unit at TCWO.COM (Click here) for only $29. The price blew me away since the "Smart" keyboard was found about the web for $99 or more, so I decided to pick one up.
I received the keyboard and opened it up. One of the very first things I noticed was that the keys are significantly raised compared to other flexible keyboards. The FOLD-2000 has a standard key pitch of 19mm and a key travel of 3.5mm. Certainly, this makes the keyboard harder to clean with a cloth, but because the keyboard is waterproof, a quick rinse takes care of any java that may spill onto the keyboard.
The characters on the keys seem to be quite durable in that the characters are not actually printed on the key, but rather UNDER the key. Since the membrane is actually clear, the letters, numbers, etc are printed on plastic pieces that are underneath the actual surface of the keyboard.
The feedback in the keys is surprisingly decent. While touch-typing at a fast rate, I occasionally missed keys that were punched with my pinky finger, but knew as soon as I punched the key that I had missed it because I didn't feel the key push down and bounce back up like a keyboard normally does. I was hesitant that to push harder, however, because the keyboard would slide across the keyboard tray. A solution to this is simple. A bit of the no skid material used under throw rugs or in toolboxes helps, but takes away from its portability.
Thinking that the problems that I had with the keyboard may be some sort of error between the keyboard and the chair, I volunteered my wife to use the keyboard for the entire day. This only proved the theory that women can have a firm, but delicate touch and men are just barbarians. Her significantly smaller fingers managed to nail every single keystroke without a flaw, and although the keyboard did slip a little, it did not move the keyboard over enough to the point where her fingers were no longer on the home row keys.
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