In The Box
Our first stop is to see what comes in the box. As shown above, you get the keyboard, batteries, a USB receiver module, a USB cable, a driver disk and a small manual. The batteries used in this keyboard are AAA sized, so should be readily available to most locations. The USB receiver is slim enough that it will easily fit into a front I/O port of most modern cases, but the included cable will allow you to use a rear USB slot and slide the receiver toward the side where the keyboard can communicate with it.
While the keyboard includes a driver disk that labels all Microsoft operating systems to Windows XP, I did not need to install it for the device to work properly. The test system is running Windows XP SP2 and immediately picked up the USB receiver and allowed me to begin using the wireless functions of the keyboard. The disk does, however, install an auto-loading utility that allows you to customize the hotkeys and make adjustments to the operation of the keyboard. If you are happy with the out-of-the-box functionality of the keyboard, then you can start right off with no background program running. If you are in the mood to customize, you will need to load up the included driver.
Taking a closer look at the working area, we see that it is comparable to a laptop keyboard layout. There is no number pad, but the pad is still usable by means of the 890,UIO, JKL and M keys. Beyond this limitation, it operates as a standard QWERTY type keyboard.
To give the wireless device more functionality, the folks at nMedia added some one-touch shortcut buttons to the top of the keyboard. In the upper left area you will find some standardized productivity function buttons to allow you to open commonly used applications with a single button. You can also see a left and right mouse button on the far left.
Moving along the top rail toward the right shows us some multimedia function buttons that can help you with common tasks when viewing video files or watching DVD movies. Remember, this keyboard was designed for the HTPC segment. On the far left of this row of buttons is also a Microsoft Word access button, so I'm guessing the nMedia folks thought adding that last button to the left portion wouldn't look right.
In the upper right hand corner is a small roller ball that acts like a mouse. The notation you see imprinted on the board is accurate, the mouse (actually, the whole keyboard) goes to sleep when not in use and you have to press until you hear and feel a small click to make everything work as it should. This, coupled with the mouse buttons previously noted, allows you to use this keyboard in place of your existing wired one and also gives you full mouse capabilities as well.
The back of the keyboard looks very similar to a normal one and even includes tabs that can be raised for those who like to work from a lap board. Toward the upper edge of the casing you can see the battery hatch, so changing gout batteries won't be too much a task.