AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Review

BluePanda - 2013-02-09 20:45:58 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: March 28, 2013
Price: $28.99

AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Introduction:

So I've finally reached the bottom of the box of AZiO goodies today, ending the spree of fun with perhaps my favorite find in the bunch: the AZiO KB505U – Large Print Tri-Color Backlit Keyboard. It isn't an item you are used to finding here for an OCC review, but it is defiantly something different. Chuckling at the oversized print on the keys and the simple blue and red LEDs used to make purple, I was actually pretty excited to use this item. Despite its novelty gift category I place it in, I can see it having quite the practical form in two situations: 1) For my mom/dad who both see poorly and have failed to learn to touch type, and 2) teaching a toddler to type. The latter option keeps their grimy fingers off your keys as well. Coming in at just under the $30 mark, this keyboard has lots of potential for many different reasons, joke or not.

 

AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Closer Look:

The keyboard sitting in the bottom of the box as the last AZiO product on my bench to get it's 20 seconds of fame looking rather comical. At first I thought it was perhaps a cruel joke from my boss following up with his failed attempts at sending me case screws to review. Well, it wasn't a joke, and quite simply the product is no joke either. The box shows off the keyboard's main feature, "LARGE PRINT", in the upper left corner of the box. Alright, so it's not the main feature, but it is a big deal (no pun intended there). The back of the box rattles off the features as well as shows off the illumination of the blue, purple, and red backlighting options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the box is pretty easy as it just opens like a pizza box with a couple extra tucked notches. The keyboard is wrapped in plastic for protection and to keep it free of debris and scratches. I'll be nice and share a little sneak peak before the next page; the keyboard is somewhat impressive in appearance. Despite the low cost, it already seems to be a step above my mediocre Dell 1RW52 keyboard I have work, for which I'm sure they paid well over $30. It comes with a quick user guide. With that, I believe we're ready to go!

 

AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Closer Look

With the Large Print AZiO keyboard out of its packaging, it shows off its clean looking facade. It isn't overly flashy as it only sports a small AZiO logo centered on the wrist space. The layout is standard with a full number pad to the right (as many of you know, having a dedicated number pad is a big deal to me). The letters on the keys seem to overwhelm me in size, but are certainly easy to read even without the backlighting. There are basic media keys along the top, which I should mention work right out of the box without needing any drivers. The top rightmost button is used for changing the LED colors, which I will demonstrate later. The back of the keyboard is pretty simple in nature as well. There are two rubber feet to help hold things in place along the bottom edge and two nifty feet to add a bit of height in the back (which you'll probably want on this one).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zooming in a notch or two allows you to read the sticker on the back of the keyboard. I am not sure why I always take this shot, but you can recall that it was made in China, what brand it is, and I guess more importantly what model it is when your buddy asks what the heck you are using. Shifting the camera a bit gives you a close look at one of the fold-out feet. It doesn't look like it offers much height but with the rolled wrist rest area, you'll be happy to have even that little boost from the back side.

For once I actually thought the included manual was rather useful, as well as short, sweet, and to the point. For anyone who doesn't understand the basic symbols of life (I'm joking), you can figure out very quickly what each of the media keys does. Well done AZiO.

 

 

Now it is time for some fun; it's time to plug it in! The first picture shows off the plain non-illuminated keyboard. I guess now is as good a time as any to mention that only when it's unplugged will you ever see the keyboard this way. There's no "off" setting for the LED colors – once it's powered by your USB port/hub it will always be blue, red, or purple in color. It's not a big deal though, as the lighting is very well done. The backlighting is better than most jobs I've seen with fairly even color. The red is a little erratic in brightness but is still rather even throughout the keys. Purple is obviously the brightest, as it uses the two blue and red colors together to make purple. Overall I was just rather impressed at the coloring from this inexpensive keyboard.

 

 

 

While still plugged in, I thought it was worth taking a few more shots of the keys themselves just to reiterate how even that color truly is and also how MASSIVE the lettering really is. You can see on the number keys that even the symbols are emphasized for easy reading. The basic function keys are even easy to see from a distance. The only oddballs in the whole picture are the green indicator lights for the num lock, caps lock and scroll lock. They are pretty dimly lit and are easy to ignore next to whichever of the three colors you decide to use.

 

 

Overall it's a pretty nice looking keyboard and doesn't feel overly cheap at first touch either. I guess some testing is order to find out how well the AZiO KB505U – Large Print Tri-Color Backlit Keyboard actually works. Keep reading to find out…trust me, you want to keep reading.

 

AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Specifications:

Connection Type:
USB
Cord Length:
5 feet
Switch Type:
Rubber Membrane
Backlight:
3 Colors (red, blue, purple)
OS Supported:
Windows XP, 2000, Vista, 7
Quick Access Keys:
Email, Home, Favorites, Play/Pause, Previous Track, Next Track, Stop, Volume +/-, Mute, Media Player, My Computer, Calculator
Dimensions:
7.4 x 18.4 x 1.1 inches (LxWxH)
Warranty:
Limited 3 Year Warranty

 

 

AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Features:

 

All information courtesy of: http://www.aziocorp.com/product/keyboards/wiredkbmain/kb505u.htm

AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Testing and Results:

AZiO's Large Print Tri-Color Backlit Keyboard was defiantly put through over a week of use and testing. During this time it was tested in everyday use, surfing the internet, photoshopping, and of course some gaming. A keyboard is rather personal to each and every individual, so how it responds in these various tasks is important in different ways to everyone. This subjective review is best to provide you the feedback from use rather than assigning made up numbers trying to compare one keyboard to another. It's pretty easy to distinguish the likes and dislikes of a keyboard through words rather than leaving it up to you to decide what a score of seven or eight really means. There's no guessing game today; here's what I liked, and here's what I hated.

Testing Setup:

 

Everyday Use:

Despite how nifty the keyboard looks and the comic relief of the oversized letters, using the AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlit Keyboard wasn't as fun as I had hoped. No, it isn't a mechanical keyboard, and I didn't expect it to preform like one. However, I did expect it to handle use just as well, if not better than my junky Dell keyboard at work. Well, it didn't. Typing emails and even writing short to-do lists with it wasn't as simple as it sounds. Especially troublesome was the enter key, though all of the keys appeared to have the same issue. They seemed to bind up on the keys around them when being pressed. It felt as if the keys were overlapping ever so slightly to catch and say "no, you can't take me down without another". With a little extra force you could get the key to "pop" down making an audible "POW" sound, almost if you had just broken it. Really, the biggest problem for everyday use wasn't the noises or the overlapping, it was the miss typing caused by the problem. It seemed like every other word was missing a letter or needed some sort of correction. The keyboard and I quickly became enemies, and that Dell keyboard at work sounded more and more like a better option.

Working:

I'll start with the fact that I was fortunate to have a number pad. I often complain about keyboards without them, because, as an engineer, I prefer a number pad for numbers. With that said, kudos to AZiO for feeding my need, but again shame on AZiO for this ridiculous key overlap failure. I typically type a bit less when I'm working, but the occasional press or "ctrl + option" to get something done wasn’t as trivial as it ought to be. I did get used to pressing the keys a bit harder to overcome that issue, but it just didn't seem quite right. Nevertheless, this keyboard made it through the "work" of me writing this review all in one piece, which is a statement that has strong meaning coming from a keyboard smasher.

Gaming:

If you've been reading anything I've said up to this point in the results sections, you can take a wild guess at what I'll have to say here; however, oddly enough you may come up wrong. Although the issues of typing and using the keyboard like a normal person were exceptionally painful, the keyboard left little to woe over from a gamer's standpoint. Walking around with W, A, S, and D wasn't a problem and E, C, or the other common interaction keys didn't cause as much pain either. So when used as single letters or with a focused press, the keyboard seems to just work.

AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Conclusion:

Overall, I thought the AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlit Keyboard was a lot of fun to play with, but I am a harsh professor when it comes to giving it a grade. The phrase "fun to play with" is about all there is to it. It is a funny gag gift for a friend, or as a pinch hitter keyboard for use with kids' grimy fingers as I mentioned earlier. As a keyboard, it didn't perform well despite how standard it is. The issue of the keys catching when pressed, causing them to not register was frustrating at best. However, let me try to be gentle with this one. The keyboard is only $30, and even though your average Dell keyboard usually doesn't have many issues typing, it doesn't come backlit with three color options nor does it have massive printed letters for you to read across the room. These features do kick the keyboard up a notch, but the resulting lack of function over sparkle…well, it doesn't sell.

I do think that the keyboard works well enough to be used, but I would just prefer to use even a cheap Dell keyboard over this one due to the lack of a friendly touch typing experience. However, it is a perfect keyboard for the elderly folks who are still chicken pecking away at the keys to write out emails and search AOL. Though I'd say at that point it doesn't matter what keyboard is used as long as it gets letters to the screen. The oversized letters are quite a plus despite all the downsides. My grandmother has poor eyesight, near and far, so being able to look down and easily find the symbols or letters adds quite the benefit to this keyboard, as do the lighting options for typing in the dark (though my grandmother is too old school for that – it's bad for your eyes!!!). All in all it was fun, but I think I'd prefer anything else after a week's worth of typing on this keyboard…

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: