Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Accessory Update: iRizer & Folding Keyboard

It took a while but I finally received two products I purchased in February from MATIAS: The iRizer notebook stand and the Folding USB Keyboard.

The iRizer has been available for a while now but the Macintosh version of the folding keyboard was delayed and they didn't want to ship the items separately. The iRizer was exactly what I thought it was going to be. A portable, lightweight stand for everyday use. I had reservations because the maximum tilt angle was only 50 degrees which may not be enough to view the screen directly. But I am happy to report that at normal table height, I had no problem viewing the screen at all. (This stand is intended to hold a normal laptop so the maximum 50 degree angle would be at the extreme) The iRizer is made out of hard plastic and easy to carry and assemble. And since it disassembles flat, it's pretty easy to slip in a laptop case.

I wasn't sure what I would be getting with the Matias Folding Keyboard. All the product photos looked very good but like anything you buy over the internet, it's a roll of the dice in terms of actual quality. Once again I am happy to report that THIS KEYBOARD IS PRETTY AWESOME! The great thing about it is that you're not sacrificing functionality at all. It is a full sized keyboard. What you gain in space and weight in a mini-keyboard, you give up in functionality but that is not the case with this product.

Like the iRizer, it's lightweight. As a matter of fact it weighs next to nothing. Yet when you open it up, lay it down and start typing on it, it feels just like a regular keyboard. It has just the right amount of tactile feedback and the keyboard action is smooth and fluid. The construction quality is impressive as well. Extra functions include dedicated buttons for controlling the system volume. (Mute, Volume up and down)

One gripe I have is that they took out the Caps Lock key in lieu of a Fn key. They incorporated this button so certain functions could be used without having to move your hand to reach across the keyboard. So to enable the Caps Lock you have to press Fn then another key. A little irritating when you are in a groove typing.

One question left to answer for both products is durability, especially for the keyboard. I plan to use the keyboard full time either on the go or at home. So we'll see how it fares in the long run. Info including product measurements and such can be found on the sidebar in the accessory links.

Now I've got a portable iMac!

Folding keyboard...Transform!!

Thankfully, assembly of the iRizer requires zero brain power. Just slide the stand in the desired slot/viewing angle and .....
This is at the 50 degree setting
... now that it's done, simply add a Modbook

Even though this angle is tolerable for general use, I suppose ergonomically, it will cause fatigue at some point. I've tried propping up a book at the back end of the stand to increase the angle and it certainly makes it better, however I shouldn't have to explain that this might cause the whole thing to come crashing forward so use your best judgement. Use a Reader's Digest instead of War and Peace.


iRizer Update - 5-6-08

As much as the iRizer works great as an all around stand, it's a little rickety to do a lot of drawing on especially if you have a heavy stroke. If you plan on using your Modbook as your main workstation, the iRizer is probably not for you. A more sturdy stand or monitor arm will work better.