Arctic Cooling K481 Wireless Keyboard with Multi-Touch Pad

In Use


As with any keyboard review, I'm typing the review of the K481 on the K481. This allows me to give the keyboard a thorough typing test. So far, whilst the keys are smaller than I'm used to extended typing with, I've had no problems getting used to the keys. The one exception has been the Enter key, which only takes up a single row, rather than the more traditional two rows of other keyboards; even my Acer Aspire One netbook keyboard has an Enter key that takes up two rows. That said, it is something I can get used to quite easily, although using other keyboards does mean that when I go back to the K481 I have to remind myself to strike the Enter key lower. Other than that, if you've used a small keyboard, such as on a netbook, you'll have no trouble getting to grips with the K481. The keys are quite wide and nicely spaced out, with plenty of room around them. They depress in a satisfying manner and you get the usual lip on the F and J keys so you can find them blind. Naturally, the Fn functions will take you some learning time, and in all honesty, they are not keys you will use often; in the case of the arrow keys, since there are already arrow keys at the bottom of the keyboard, the Fn arrow keys probably won't be used by many at all.


The K481 is small enough that you can easily hold it in one hand and type or use the touchpad with the other. I'm sure many HTPC users will appreciate that, myself included.


The K481 has a multi-Touch touchpad to the left, which supports multi-Touch. Earlier I mentioned that the touchpad was a slight bit smaller than I'm used to, mainly in width. However with the multi-Touch nature of the pad, this is not a problem Generally, the extra width of a touchpad is used to provide a scrolling area. The K481 does not have a scrolling area, but it does provide scrolling functions via multi-Touch. Using two fingers, you can drag down (or up) a page you won't scrolled.


You can see the full list of gestures and touch arrangements , but suffice to say you can vertical scroll, middle click, drag and right click as well as the more common left click and move cursor.


The touchpad sits in a slight depression, which means that you're not going to be using the pad right to the edges, which with it's reduced width does mean you are somewhat reduced in how far the cursor will travel on screen at the default sensitivity. Personally I increased the sensitivity a notch and found I could nearly make it across an entire 1080p screen from corner to corner without lifting.


I should point out that the K481 requires no drivers to be installed if you're using a Windows PC of the 2000 and up variety. This does mean if you have another pointing device (a mouse for example) installed at the same time, should you choose to adjust the sensitivity, you will of course be adjusting the mouse sensitivity as well.


I also mentioned earlier that the On/Off button wasn't used as often as you might think. The reason for this is that the K481 has a power saving function. If the keyboard is not used for more than four minutes, the keyboard goes to sleep, saving your battery power. One thing my wife did find a negative during testing was that the keyboard can't be woke up by moving your finger on the touchpad; you have to press a button (any button) to bring it back to life. I personally have got used to hitting the space bar to wake up a PC/Laptop and found it quite natural to do the same with the K481 keyboard, but my wife still swipes the touchpad. A matter of preference I guess, but worth mentioning.


We also found that the touchpad became a little too sensitive when greasy, and as much as I've tried to get the kids to not use the keyboard while eating … So that's the main reason the On/Off switch has been used in the past 2 weeks of testing; to wipe off the touchpad and stop it performing multi-Touch gestures when were only using one finger.



Final Words

The is overall a pretty neat little device. I like gadgets, but I detest useless gadgets, but the is far from useless.


Everyday typing might take you a little time to get used to the size and layout of the keyboard, but should you be aiming to do day to day typing on the , you won't find it a chore.


The multi-Touch pad on the right side of the keyboard works well, although I thought that the default sensitivity needed raising, as I prefer it if a cursor can make it from corner to corner of a 1080p screen, although that is of course a preferential setting.


Also, we did find that the if the touchpad became a little dirty (from eating crisps/chips etc.) it also had a tendency to treat one finger as two or even three. A quick wipe down with the keyboard switched off at the switch on the rear, and it's good to go. This makes the K481 a good general household/family control device; if you've got kids you'll know what I mean!


I personally found that holding the keyboard in both hands and using my thumb on my right hand to control the touchpad was a good way of navigating, but you can as easily navigate (or type) whilst holding the keyboard underneath with one hand and using it with the other.


The is quite light, nicely compact and works well. I can't tell you much about power usage, except to say that the keyboard has been used for HTPC duties for hours at a time daily the past two weeks (kids off school, wife off work, my own testing … it's taken some abuse) and I've had no indication that the included batteries are showing signs of low power. The operates comfortably from my sofa 5 metres away from the receiver, and only cuts out if I leave the room.


The is priced at $45.90 on the website, which I don't think makes it a bargain but is certainly a fair price for what you get.


I think HTPC users will like the , as it offers a little more than a simple remote. I would have liked to have seen some further multimedia keys, but not a deal breaker. Overall, I rather like the , and if you're after small (but not too small) wireless keyboard with a touchpad, I think you'll like it too.



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