SIIG JK-WR0412-S1 - Features & Usage Impressions

The SIIG JK-WR0412-S1 is a wireless mini multimedia trackball keyboard. Using 2x AA batteries, it operates in the 2.4 GHz range and has an advertised range of 33 ft. The trackball is on the top right. In truly ergonomic fashion, there is a left click button on the top side of the frame which makes it easy to move the trackball and perform a left click operation simultaneously with a single hand. For the 'typical' living room scenario usage with both hands, there are left and right click buttons on the top left (similar to the IOGEAR keyboard covered in the previous section). However, unlike the IOGEAR keyboard, the scroll wheel is not on the top panel, but on top side of the frame (on the left side, right above the two mouse buttons).

The trackball resolution is set to 800 dpi and is not configurable.  The 2.4 GHz spectrum is pretty crowded, and, in order to prevent interference, the unit is capable of frequency hopping (with operation in 1 of 80 distinct channels). The unit has rubber soles for slip resistance. Unlike the IOGEAR unit, there is no explicit power switch (which is a drawback if you have a toddler active in your living room). However, for power saving purposes, the keyboard enters a sleep state after 8 minutes of inactivity. Only a keypress or mouse button click can bring it out of the sleep state. This is a bit frustrating in living room scenarios, where users tend to move the trackball first. The trackball itself is flimsier than the one on the IOGEAR unit. They main keys are also smaller than the standard size that we encountered on the other units. This might make fast typing difficult for those used to standard keyboards, though that is probably not the primary use case for this keyboard.

In terms of keyboard layout, the Fn key and Ctrl key on the bottom left are switched from the usual, which may result in the user inadvertently mistyping key combinations. Another unfortunate aspect of the keyboard layout is the fact that a numeric keypad is embedded in the main keypad, and it is controlled by the NumLock key. Most computers boot with the NumLock key turned on, resulting in the users typing in numbers instead of the intended letters. In case of passwords, the user might not even realize the mistake. It would be nice to have an indicator on the device for this purpose. That said, PCs usually have a BIOS setting to turn off this feature. The problem turned out to be bad enough for SIIG to issue an addendum [PDF] to the user manual [PDF].

The trackball has a red glow underneath when the unit is in the active state. This provides an easy way to identify whether a keypress or mouse click needs to be made, but might also be disconcerting in a dark room (a frequent HTPC usage scenario). The ergonomics and intuitiveness of the keyboard and the mouse buttons / scroll wheel layout, as well as the larger number of special keys, are the positives for the device.

IOGEAR GKM561R - Features & Usage Impressions SIIG JK-WR0312-S1 - Features & Usage Impressions
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  • kolepard - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    The section on the Logitech appears to be missing at the moment. Reply
  • kolepard - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    Ah, nevermind, I see now. Reply
  • sepffuzzball - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    I still use my Logitech Dinovo Edge for my HTPC...still haven't found one that looks better! Bit expensive at $100 when I bought it (on sale I believe too) though... Reply
  • xraycat - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    This is the latest HTPC keyboard/mouse/remote device I'm using:
    http://liliputing.com/2013/04/feilan-fl-102-media-...
    I've got the Lenovo Remote Keyboard v2 and used to have v1. This Feilan device is great as it can switch between PC (RF) and TV (IR). The only downside is it can't switch between multiple IR devices, I just program the buttons to operate my TV and cable box simultaneously.
    Reply
  • willis936 - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    After reading through this I realized how cheap it would be to be able to control my desktop from my TV in the next room. I have an HDMI extender going to it and it works great but having to use a dinky android tablet for remote desktop or get up to change/set stuff up is annoying. $30 to be able to just turn on my tv and use my computer from my couch? Yep. Reply
  • Don Tonino - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    I'm not sure if it is still on sale, but for the last 3 or 4 years I've been quite happy with the Enermax Aurora Micro (http://www.enermax.co.uk/aurora-micro-wireless). The aluminium face place adds to the weight, but it has a really neat finish and feeling IMHO. Reply
  • kgh00007 - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    What about this Logitech k820 all in one, totally awesome and multi touch touchpad supports windows 8 gestures!
    http://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/wireless-all...
    Reply
  • Vincent - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    I have the IOGEAR and am unimpressed with its build quality. The left mouse button sticks and the trackball does not consistently respond. I have two Logitech K400s and they are way better. Reply
  • ganeshts - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    The trackball issue - I have seen that on almost all trackball based units I have used - FWIW, the trackball quality, feel and responsiveness was better on the IOGEAR compared to the SIIG.

    Now, the K400 is a touchpad unit -- So, it wouldn't be fair to compare the trackball vs. touchpad build quality. In addition, the K400s are almost half the weight of the other units. For many people, it appears a little flimsy.. Having a toddler around in the living room, I have been worried about the health of the K400 when it gets into her hands :)

    It is all a subjective experience -- Personally, I prefer the touchpad to the trackball keyboards, but different people have different requirements / preferences.
    Reply
  • casteve - Monday, March 3, 2014 - link

    I have the K400. On the plus side, it's cheap and Logitech's paired wifi transceivers work great. On the minus side, the touchpad response is horrible/erratic. If they put in a decent quality touchpad and added a backlight to the keyboard (HTPC lives in a dark room, eh?) it would go from mediocre to great. Reply

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