Adesso Nu-Form USB Keyboard

First, thank you to Adesso for supplying a keyboard for this review. Since the advent of the Power Mac G4, we have to find a new keyboard we can use at work – the G4 has no ADB port for our old Apple Extended, Apple Adjustable, MicroSpeed KB-105M, or Adesso Nu-Form ADB keyboards.

We have a pair of MacAlly keyboards, but have not been impressed with them, so we are researching alternatives to it and the compact keyboard Apple supplies with the iMac and Power Mac.

imackbI’ve never found ergonomic keyboards comfortable, although I’ve had better luck with the Adesso Nu-Form than with any other “split” keyboards that I’ve tried. It takes anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks to become comfortable with an ergo keyboard, so I asked coworkers already comfortable with ergo boards to use the Adesso for several days and report their findings.

Robin has been using an Adesso Nu-Form ADB for a few months, so the identical layout of the USB keyboard was no problem at all. In fact, she found the feel of the new keyboard superior to the one-to-two year old ADB keyboard.

The Nu-Form USB keyboard is very comfortable to use. The wristrest is adequately wide and slanted at an ergonomically appropriate angle. The required touch is light, eliminating the strain caused by having to press hard on the keys. The raised orientation points on the F and J keys required some mental adjustment, since the keyboard I have been using places the points on the D and K keys (an Apple standard, but the rest of the computer industry used F and J). However, after using the Adesso keyboard for several days, I prefer the new placement – it just seems to make more sense to me.

The Adesso keyboard created no problems with any part of my computer system. One small annoyance was that the left foot unexpectedly folded several times during the week.

I would highly recommend the Adesso Nu-Form keyboard and have, in fact, asked my supervisor to purchase one for me.

My supervisor has been using the Apple Adjustable Keyboard for years, but once he got a G4, there was no way to connect it. Although we could invest in a USB-to-ADB adapter, the other issue is the poor reliability of the Apple Adjustable Keyboard. One or another component seems to fail each year.

He writes:

On the plus side, I am quickly comfortable with the ergonomic angle of the keys. I appreciate having the function keys above the standard keys (unlike Apple’s Adjustable Keyboard). Even the arrangement of the Help key grouping, cursor keys, and numeric keypad are positioned comfortably. I like the fact that the command, option, and control keys appear on either side of the space bar, and that they are large enough to use easily. The touch is very comfortable.

Now the problems:

First, the “6” key is on the wrong side! I can’t believe it! How many of us who’ve been typing for years are going to need to learn the new position, to use the left hand instead of the right one. I have no great affection for the QWERTY arrangement, but moving this key makes it even more awkward to use. [The Apple Adjustable Keyboard keeps the “6” key on the right side.]

Second, the USB cable is too short. An extension cable is not provided with the new G4, as it was with the G3, so if, as many do, you place the computer on the floor, the cable is not long enough to reach the USB port.

Third, the less than conventional position of the “\” key is unfortunate. The large return key is nice, but I’d rather have the backslash key next to the “]” as on other keyboards. This would also allow for, fourth, the Delete key to be larger, which would also then be consistent with other keyboards. It’s hard to hit that small Delete key when typing fast.

Fifth, though the Bondi color matches the original iMac, it looks awful with other colors. The translucent white color on the iMac would have been a better choice, since all the iMacs, the G3, and the G4 all use a clear or translucent clear color. It would also blend in better with the surroundings.

Sixth, the feet used to raise the back of the keyboard are floppy. It would be better if they snapped firmly into position so they don’t flip down as easily when the keyboard is moved.

Seventh, I’ve typed on lots of Mac keyboards since my Mac Plus and have grown accustomed to having the raised markers on the D and K keys. I suppose this is one I’ll just have to get used to, since many manufacturers have been using the F and J keys, but it will not make the transition any easier to be constantly placing my fingers on the wrong keys. This, too, is unfortunate.

Overall, the feel of the Adesso Nu-Form USB keyboard is excellent. The only mechanical problems are a floppy foot and a short cable (Adesso’s mouse has a much longer cable).

As my supervisor points out, there are discrepancies with the standard Apple keyboard layout. We have deliberately purchased keyboards that match Apple’s extended keyboard layout in the past. The MicroSpeed and MacAlly keyboards do that; the Adesso Nu-Form misses the mark in several areas. While the large Return key is nice, the small Delete key isn’t. And for anyone whose learned touch typing, having the 6 key on the wrong side will be a nuisance.

That said, if you’re looking for an ergonomic USB keyboard, the Adesso Nu-Form is a good choice.

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