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!!
..Fzzzzzzt!!

Thankfully, assembly of the iRizer requires zero brain power. Just slide the stand in the desired slot/viewing angle and .....
...voila!!
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.

....zzzzzzzzzz

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.


9 comments:

enb said...

nice review- thanks!
did you ever think of uding maybe one of those mini keyboards that only have a few keys that you can program?
I guess for me that even though i type with the stylus pretty fast i still for some reason like the keyboard for writing- but for art ive been wondering if i even need a full keyboard just because of the benefits of a small footprint-
thanks again for the review-

Louie del Carmen said...

enb-

Those small keyboards work well but the Matias folding keyboard folds to almost nothing anyway so I'd rather pack a full keyboard, especially for email and Photoshop use.

Obviously, even with the folding keyboard, the MB is still hard to use on the go like in an airport but that's where QuickClicks comes in.

So far both products have been performing well, especially the keyboard.

Michael said...

hi really awesome blog!!!

i found that the logitec dinovo mini works with macs too as plug and play the only downside is you cant use the software to customize the 4 launch buttons on top.

i really want to buy the modbook but ive been looking at the forums and i hear about some flaws, can you confirm and give me some advice regarding the following:

* Sketchbook: slow pan and drag
* Noticeable lag when drawing
* Jumping Cursor

i know its off topic but i would really like to hear your experience on the modbook

Louie del Carmen said...

Michael,

The Dinovo is a good keyboard because it's thin and lightweight but you'll need a good sized gig bag to fit it. Also it's pricey and since it's a Windows keyboard, you'll have to do the arduous task of transposing keys.

Like any piece of hardware in it's initial configurations, the Modbook will have it's quirks. Honestly I haven't experienced any of those bugs you just mentioned and have been very happy with my Modbook. It has performed well and has become my primary drawing platform.

Victor said...

Cool review! Thanks.

I'm expecting my ModBook in a couple of days (omgimsoexcited!). I'm looking for a sturdy stand to handle my drawing (beefy hands here). Has anyone looked at the Cricket Laptop Stand?

Thanks again!

modman said...

I heard the folding keyboard is not working on your lap, because it folds as you type. There is supposed to be no lock....zzzzz

Viral said...

excellent review for the keyboard

however....I have a regular black macbook and I am and thinking of buying this keyboard but i wanted to know from your experience about the mac specific keys like brightness, expose and spaces (i have configured it with fn key) and especially the command key....

do they map well on the matias folding keyboard ? and the quality of the keyboard in terms of typing and keystrokes ?

thanks again for the review

David Nethery said...

About the stability issue with the i-Rizer:

Wouldn't a wooden book stand like this serve the same purpose ?--

Wooden Book Stand

It can be adjusted to several different angles and folds flat to slip into a briefcase or laptop bag.

Anyone who is a bit handy with tools would probably be able to make one of these

David Nethery said...

And here's another one (less expensive than the one one the first link I posted) --

Adjustable Angle Wooden Book Stand

larger view of Adjustable Wooden Book Stand

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