For day to day typing I typically always reach for my old standby, the Logitech G110. While this keyboard isn't "great" it is what I am used to and typically most of my writing is done on this. Once I am either done gaming or writing, I then move over to quite a selection of various older keyboards, and a couple of wireless versions I have picked up for benching of coolers, or even using one in my living room for the HTPC. While older keyboards are nice to have around, the length of the cable can sometimes really be a pain in the "you know where" to deal with.
For me I am typically sitting at my desk and the benching rig is across the room. While I can read the screen from eight feet away, I typically have to roll my chair across the room, if even just to reset the PC for the next round of testing; my concentration is broken on what I was doing. What I need is a way to make my life easier and more productive within an arm's reach.
Step in Enermax! This is a company that is more revered for their power supplies, fans/coolers and cases. Enermax does have a peripherals section listed on their global site, and glancing through, it seems Enermax has been offering a few keyboard for a while now. They offered both wired and wireless versions of keyboards in the past, but this time we receive more of a complete wireless kit instead of just a single peripheral. Looking at what Enermax has previously released I do believe this to be the first such offering where you get a keyboard, mouse and a 3-in-1 mouse pad. So whether adding this to a laptop, desktop, HTPC, or even just to make life easier, Enermax is offering the complete plug and play system to input to your PC.
Today we are going to be having a look at the Briskie kit from Enermax. With this assembly of components, Enermax delivers a 2.4 GHz wireless, spill resistant keyboard and optical mouse. As you will soon see, everything, and I mean everything you need is included in the box, and if not taking pictures as I do, you can be plugged in and using this kit within two minutes of its arrival. So let's see what Enermax is offering as I continue to use the Briskie to deliver these contents, so any issues or any of the pleasures of this keyboard are just a fingertip away of my attention.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
The specifications are pretty straight forward with the mouse and keyboard included in the Briskie kit. The keyboard which makes up half of the kit is a dark grey body with black keys on rubber membrane switches. On top of the keys each is marked with white paint. As with any keyboard with painted keys, high acid sweat from hands or serious use will wear that off over time. The membrane keys travel 2.8mm before they make contact with one of the ten million keystrokes of lifespan that each of the 107 keys are rated for. The 417 grams is relatively light when comparing to my go to board, and the Briskie keyboard offers keys the same as what can be found on my laptop, and even has full sized shift keys on both sides of the board, something my other wireless solution does not offer.
The mouse uses a red laser for its optical sensing and tracking of location. This four button mouse offers left click, right click, the scroll wheel and a DPI button. The mouse will shift seamlessly through the DPI selections offering users their preference of 800, 1000, 1200 or 1600 DPI on the fly with the press of a button. The mouse without the battery weights in at near 58 grams, and while a bit light in feel, it and the keyboard are light enough to be good travel companions along with your laptop.
Enermax also includes a special gift with the Briskie as I received it, that isn't on the specifications list. That is that they give you a 3-in-1 mouse pad. With this, you not only get a rubber padded bottom with a cloth top to make mouse tracking better than on a plain surface, there are other benefits to be had with this "pad". Enermax claims that this is an anti-funk mat with anti-microbial properties of the micro-fiber cloth. So now that the funk is taken care of, I did mention its micro-fiber, and this allows it to be rinsed out, and better yet, it can be used to clean the screen. The last thing Enermax suggests for its use is to pad the screen from the keys on your laptop by sliding this in there when it is closed.
My last wireless solution set me back something like $20, and I wasn't really expecting all that much from it, and let's just say my low expectations still superseded the quality of that board. The reason I mention its pricing is because the one listing I was able to locate places this solution right in that same ball park. The one location Google turned up for the newly release Briskie was at Amazon.com for $21.75 prior to shipping charges. This is going to affect the scoring at the end, but leniency will be given due to the fresh release of the Briskie. I think we have a good enough grasp of what to expect over the next few pages so let's get to them and see what they are all about.
The Briskie comes in a black box with yellow, orange, and red lines arch and streak across the box; very flashy! Over the graphics there is a large red sticker for the included free gift, and the keyboard, mouse, and nano-receiver are all shown.
Moving closer to the sticker of the free gift, as I know we all like free things, you see that Enermax lists it as a screen protector, a cleaning cloth, then lastly a mouse pad. Under the sticker in large white lettering is the notification that this system runs at 2.4GHz for its transmission signals.
The back of the box has a ton of information about the mouse and keyboard included, but from here it's a little too tough to make out what they are trying to show here, exactly.
The left half displays the specifications charts for the mouse and keyboard at the top followed underneath with four languages of the features of both components.
The right side uses fourteen images to describe and show the features of the kit. The mouse is easy to use and grip, is ambidextrous, has a battery indicator, switchable DPI, and an on/off switch. The keyboard offers ten million keystrokes, is thin, a battery LED, volume control, spill resistant design and adjustable legs.
On both ends of the box you will find the package contents, minus the free gift and the system requirements of the system.
There aren't really instructions, per se, but on the longer side of the packaging there are some basic instructions and things to note and look for when first powering the items and what to do during use to maximize the battery life.
Opening the box you can see the there is an inner partition that keeps the plastic wrapped keyboard and mouse spate. The mouse pad and product placement brochure are set on top of the keyboard so you see them both as soon as you open the top of the box.
Package Contents and the Briskie Wireless Mouse
The product placement brochure is to let users of the Briskie know what else Enermax has to offer you. This includes fans, PSUs, cases, you name it, and it's in there.
There is a folded pamphlet that contains information with images for the usage, maintenance, and features of the 3-in-1 mouse pad included as the free gift.
After you remove the mouse from the box, there is a flap that lifts up to reveal the three AAA batteries and the USB nano receiver that both the mouse and keyboard send their 2.4GHz wireless signals to.
Wrapped in a cellophane sleeve, the free gift arrives clean and ready for service in any of the ways suggested by Enermax. This micro fiber mat comes 12-inch by almost 5-inch in size, just big enough for a mouse pad, while being small enough to roll up and travel with.
The wireless mouse has the basic egg shape of most of the smaller wireless mice on the market. The top and sides of the mouse are made of textured plastic, and the sides are indented to conform to your grip and make it easy to handle. The mouse features a four button layout with a low battery LED indicator at the front.
The back of the mouse is where the Enermax logo is painted and with the wide smooth curve, offers a comfortable fit. I don't typically pick smaller mice, but even so I found myself comfortable with this one right away.
Under the mouse you can see that four 7mm diameter feet support the mouse and allow it to move freely on almost any surface. Just under the sticker is the on/off switch for the mouse only. Under the switch you now see the window that the single optical sensor uses to deliver pretty good accuracy.
To get things under way with the Briskie wireless mouse, you simply grab a pair of AAA batteries and install them as they are shown in the plastic where they get placed. With the switch on, the optical sensor is always on. While there is a power saving feature to shut this down over time, Enermax recommends to shut it off when not in use.
The Briskie Wireless Keyboard
The Briskie wireless keyboard is almost 18-inch wide, 5.25-inch deep, and stands three quarters of an inch tall in its thickest part. With the half-inch addition of the adjustable legs underneath, the grey and black keyboard will still only stand 1.25-inch tall in the back of this 107 key layout.
The keys are roughly three quarters of an inch square and are all concave in the center to sort of accept your finger tip. The keys are also raised above the keyboard as part of the spill-resistant design. This way if something spills on the keys, if should flow around them and into the channels for drainage.
I like that the right side of this keyboard offers a full number pad, arrow keys, and the nine keys of functionality above the battery indicator that tend to be hidden with other keys on a lot of these solutions. Here you have the full comfort of a regular keyboard, just with slimmer dimensions, and of course no USB cables!
At the rear of the keyboard, underneath, there is a pair of these adjustable feet to raise the back of the keyboard an additional half-inch for comfort and ergonomics. If they are tucked in, there are five dense rubber stick on feet that keep it in place and protect the surface it's on.
Next to the foot on the left, there is a removable cover for the single AAA battery that powers this wireless keyboard. When you add the battery, the LED on the front will light for two seconds, then shuts off, and you are ready to go.
While you can read the sticker, I am pointing out what you need to do if you do spill something. The square hole in the middle will allow liquids to pass through the keyboard and onto your desk. The screws in conjunction with the "U" shaped locks are what secure the halves together.
The rubber membrane switches are wired to traces printed on both sides of the plastic sheet. If a spill does occur, the only thing that can take real damage is the PCB with the functional electronics and radio transmitter on it. The rest can be wiped clean.
I wanted to get a bit closer to the switches to show off what looks like teal gumdrops on plastic sheets. Slightly out of focus on the PCB is the radio crystal on the right with the power circuitry to the left side.
I am pleased to see that when I did split the keyboard in half, all of the keys stayed in place in the top half of the keyboard.
The keys are lightly locked into the plastic frame and can be removed if soda is what happens to be spilled. You can also see how the channels come right from under the keys and deliver the fluid through the keyboard without getting to the electronics hopefully.
The last image is just to present the whole Briskie kit, including the free gift pad, as they might sit in front of your laptop, or on your coffee table for your HTPC.
Let me take this step by step for a moment. The Wireless mouse! Here we have a mouse that doesn't offer a lot in features, but this set isn't designed for gaming or super speedy browsing. This mouse offers enough functionality to get by easily with the right and left clicks and scroll wheel use, but I really missed my "page back" button, and that's all I can really say bad about the mouse. The on the fly DPI switching, its tracking, and the multitude of surfaces I tested on (even glass) the mouse had no issues doing its job. Part of that is aided by the free gift, and while it is free, being part of the total package is a plus in either instance. Not only is it a great mouse surface, the ability for it to clean the screen and act as a pad for the screen in transit makes it that much more to appreciate about it. If it does get a little funky, just run it under the sink and rinse it out, dry it out, and put it back into use.
The wireless keyboard is easy to use and type on. Its low profile makes it comfortable to use on your lap, and its smaller size lends well to this, too. Comparing to my other wireless solution, this keyboard in the Briskie is really nice for the amount of money you are spending here. The rubber membrane keys are dead silent, and keystrokes are only verified by the tactile feel of the switch bottoming out or the appearance of them on the screen. The feel and size of the keys are very much like those on my laptop, so in the transition over to the Briskie, laptop users should feel right at home with this. Lastly, and this is a personal thing, I like to not have to mess around with keys listed under the function or shift keys. I like that Enermax delivered a full set of keys that allow me to spend more time using it than studying the hidden key layout. I know manufacturers don't want me to say that you should take their products apart, but accidents do happen, especially to keyboards. The engineering and design of this spill resistant system isn't something I would expect at such a low cost, nor would I have expected it to be so easy.
Considering my first purchase was based on what one was cheapest at the time, and just satisfying my need to cover a distance without a cable, my $20 investment got me tons of frustration and disappointments. The number pad and arrow keys were all hidden, and the gesture style mouse pad on it was complete garbage. What Enermax has done for me personally is not only showing me that if I had waited I would have found a much better solution, but they also reaffirmed the notion that you don't have to pay through your teeth to get nine out of the ten things on your personal checklist.
For me the mouse lacking the back button is a bit of a downer, having a setup that delivers everything else you could want, including portability, the listing at Amazon.com of $21.75 is worth every bit of that asking price. For what I just bought similarly priced, the Briskie Wireless keyboard, mouse, and free gift put my old one to shame and renewed my use in wireless systems.