A little over a year ago I discovered the Vidabox Wireless Media Center Keyboard. I bought it the day I found out about it.
Prior to this I had been using a standard Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse and not really enjoying the experience. It was a full size keyboard and mouse which made it clunky in my living room. The USB receiver was large and I had to set it out in front my media rack in order to get reception.
When the Vidabox arrived I put the Microsoft keyboard and mouse in storage and have not touched them since.
The Vidabox Wireless keyboard/mouse is about the size of a standard (say 15″) laptop keyboard. It includes media center buttons across the top, including play/pause, stop, fast forward, rewind, etc. The mouse is a small trackball at the top right of the keyboard and the left and right mouse clicks are at the top left side. This takes some getting used to, but less than you may think. The trackball is very sensitive, but a day of use will get you up to speed. It fits right into a drawer in the coffee table so it can be easily hidden away when not being used. The best part is that the receiver is a tiny USB device, about the size of a small thumb drive. And even better, it’s RF, so I don’t even have to open my solid-wood cabinet door to use it. The range is listed as 30 feet. I have not tested that, but as long as it works from across my room nothing else really matters.
There are a couple of cons that I need to mention. First, the keyboard buttons need to be clicked pretty hard. Generally I set it on the coffee table when I need to type, as opposed to having it in my lap. It seems to allow me to pound the keys just a bit harder. But, I don’t type much on this PC so it’s not a huge deal. The other problem I encountered was when I got a speck of dust in the mouse trackball, which caused the pointer to drift on its own. It looks exactly like a standard mouse ball with a housing around it that can be twisted off. But you will need a tool. It is extremely tight and can’t be twisted off with your fingers like a normal mouse. You will need two tips, such as awls, to push down on the dimple in each side. And then you have to be very careful not to scratch it and ruin the beautiful look of this keyboard.
On the whole though, I am very happy with this. The size is perfect, and the look is elegant. It’s not a cheap little keyboard though – it retails for $79.99. But if you have an HTPC then it’s worth every penny to not have the full-size, clunky keyboard and mouse in your living room. And having the dedicated media center buttons is very handy when watching a show or movie or listening to music. You won’t regret this purchase.