Ask any teacher and they’ll tell you that every moment taken from classroom attention to go to a desktop-bound keyboard or notebook is a moment they’re not teaching. That’s where having a wireless keyboard, like Rapoo’s E9180p, comes in.
Whether you have a desktop, notebook or tablet computer, having a real keyboard that connects without cables is a big step forward. You can roam around the room while staying connected to the big screen bring up Web sites and select a child’s work for projecting onto the big screen.
At 5-ounces, the E9180p’s frameless design is not only function but sophisticated looking and easy to carry around. It has stainless steel edging and its pair of AA batteries raises the keys to a comfortable angle. There’s an on-off switch underneath and the keyboard goes into a low-power mode when not in. To wake it up you need to strike one of the keys and it ran for a couple of months on a set of batteries.
Its 82 black keys have white lettering and are full-size at 19.6 millimeters. There is everything from a Windows key and a full set of color coded Function keys to multimedia controls and a generously-sized space bar. They have just enough depth for a comfortable touch typing and are a big step up from a touch-screen’s display keypad.
The keys are complemented by the E9180p’s large touchpad that takes up the entire right side of the keyboard. At 3- by 4.3-inches, the pad’s surface is lightly textured, the pad responds to right- and left-taps and can accept a wide variety of finger gestures that range from zooming-in and -out to going to the Start Menu. While the keyboard worked well with several recent Windows and Mac systems, the gestures won’t work on Macs.
On the other hand, the keyboard lacks an embedded numeric keypad that could have helped in math and science classes and it does without the backlighting that graces Logitech’s similarly priced K800 keyboard that is a big help when teaching by the light of a projector.
Behind the scenes, the E9180p comes with a tiny USB transmitter that doesn’t require any software or installation. Rather than the crowded 2.4-GHz band that is shared with proprietary wireless devices and WiFi, the E9180p keyboard connects via a 5GHz link. It had a range of 32-feet, more than enough for moving around the typical classroom or small lecture hall while tapping away on the keys.
The E9180p is well made and durable, but school equipment can take a beating day-in and day-out. The keyboard comes with a two year warranty, which is good, but falls short of the three years of coverage that comes with Logitech’s K800 keyboard.
At $60, it’s a great way to stay connected while keeping your eye on the class.
+ Sophisticated design
+ Good range
+ Big touchpad
+ 5GHz wireless connection
+ Comfortable feel
+ Two-year warranty
- Keys not backlit