The BakkerElkhuizen UltraBoard 950 Wireless Compact Keyboard is difficult to pronounce and requires a full lung-full of air to say in one go… but it’s a piece of kit that stands out for a number of reasons and this is the story of why.
Before telling you about some of the features and feel… let us (well, me) explain that I have two desks.
At desk number one I work with a Logitech K780, which is a great keyboard as it allows me to switch between 3-different Bluetooth sources at the touch of a button.
At desk number two I work with a wired version of the BakkerElkhuizen UltraBoard range. I like the ‘clack clack’ of the keys a lot, they’re almost reminiscent of the sound of a Commodore Pet back in the day, but without the harshness… and the keys have a nice ‘travel’ about them to let you know you’ve actually hit them.
The only shortcoming of BakkerElkhuizen UltraBoard in the wired version is that it is connected to the machine you are connected to, obviously.
Wireless Bluetooth freedom
Thankfully, BakkerElkhuizen has got around that problem with the BakkerElkhuizen UltraBoard and it’s gone one better (two better, in fact) than Logitech because it allows the user to connect up to five different Bluetooth devices at any one time.
Doing so is pretty simple: the user hits Function (highlighted in blue as Fn) and then hit the Bluetooth symbols on keys 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. It’s then a simple matter of pairing with each device you want to connect to using the Bluetooth CONNECT nipple on the underside of the keyboard. The user can then switch between devices very simply using Fn 1, 2 and so on.
In practice, this worked just fine between Windows and Mac OS/X and the keyboard was able to switch between the two in a matter of seconds. Mac OS/X shows a “connected” logo and “connection lost” logo on screen — Windows, on the other hand, shows nothing (unless you open up the Bluetooth devices menu to check that the keyboard is connected), but it works regardless and you can type between two machines fairly fluidly.
Specs & stuff
In terms of other specs for this device, the unit itself is specifically designed without a number pad (this is bad for ergonomics, apparently… and unless you’re an accountant you probably don’t really need one) and has an 81/82-key wireless keyboard with 4 hotkeys for fast and easy working with figures, Home, Mail, PrtScr (print screen) and NumLock to PC (Mac system does not support the 4 hotkeys).
As mentioned, it can register up to 5 Bluetooth hosts and power comes from 2 x AAA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries, charging via Micro USB cable.
If you’re hell-bent on living a wired life, there’s even support for USB with a cable to connect a PC via micro USB cable.
Cross-OS platform support by holding Fn key and “W” key for PC or “A” key for Mac, although most functionalities appeared to work fine without this switch.
A final note on the ergonomic factor, Microsoft research has suggested that an active computer user’s fingers can travel up to 32 kilometres per day.
As WhatMobile noted here, “The benefits of removing the numeric keypad leaves you with a compact keyboard. The major advantage of this design is that you can place your mouse closer to your body, which means you will not have to reach as far to use your mouse. Because you can keep your arms alongside your body, the discomfort you feel in your hands and wrists all the way up to your shoulders will decrease.“
Let’s see how true that is, we shall look for the benefits and hope to enjoy it.