A Laptop Keyboard for Your Desktop

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Maybe it's just me, but it seems like over the past ten years or so, keyboards for desktop Macs have steadily gotten worse. (Compare the legendary Extended Keyboard II, with its excellent tactile response and sturdy build, to the versions shipping with most Macs over the past few years.) At the same time, laptop keyboards are getting better and better -- I actually prefer typing on my PowerBook to using the mushy model that came with my Power Mac.

While some vendors have tried to resurrect the keyboards of yesteryear -- for example, Matias with its excellent $100 Tactile Pro Keyboard, covered, coincidentally, by my colleague Chris Breen earlier this week -- Macally has taken the opposite approach: If today's laptop keyboards are so good, why not make a desktop keyboard that feels more like a laptop's? The $60 iceKey (4.5 Mice) puts the same Scissor-Key-Switches found in today's best laptop keyboards into a low-profile, white desktop model complete with two USB ports and a full complement of 108 keys. It even provides volume-up, volume-down, and mute buttons, as well as an eject key, just like Apple's own keyboards. The laptop-like keys have a very short "throw" (i.e., you don't have to press them very far) and provide good feedback, making the iceKey ideal for touch typists and gamers. And if you frequently switch between a laptop and a desktop Mac, the iceKey lets you avoid the tactile transition -- often filled with errors -- from typing on a laptop to using a desktop keyboard.

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