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Adesso’s Slimmedia Mini Keyboard offers full-size keys in a standard layout, despite being several inches narrower (just over 15 inches wide) than a traditional full-size keyboard. That means that, unlike many compact models, you won’t have to relearn key locations just to get a smaller keyboard footprint. The Slimmedia is also, as its name implies, fairly slim—less than one inch at its thickest point.
The Slimmedia Mini achieves this narrower size by moving the arrow keys below the right shift key and by completely omitting the home/end/page up/page down key grouping (usually positioned between the main key area and the numeric keypad). This is a significant omission, especially if, like me, you frequently make use of page up and page down. Help and forward-delete keys, also often included in that grouping, are located above the numeric keypad, but they don’t work without installing the keyboard’s driver. On the other hand, unlike many compact keyboards, the Slimmedia Mini includes a full row of function keys (F1 through F12) split into three groups of four instead of crowded together.
The Slimmedia Mini’s low-profile keys are similar in shape and size to those of Logitech’s excellent S530 Laser Desktop keyboard; however, Adesso’s keys are somewhat difficult to press and provide poor tactile feedback—overall, they feel stiff and slow to respond.
The keyboard includes a nice complement of media keys for Web browsing, iTunes playback, printing, launching favorite applications, and putting your Mac to sleep, and these work as expected—when used with a PowerPC Mac. Unfortunately, the driver software currently doesn’t work with Intel Macs; without this software, these keys are useless—even the volume up, volume down, mute, help, and forward delete keys, which work on most third-party keyboards without drivers, are disabled.
The keyboard provides two unpowered USB ports on the back for connecting a mouse or other input device.
Macworld’s buying advice
Adesso’s Mac Slimmedia Mini keyboard provides most of the keys found on a traditional full-size keyboard without taking as much space on your desk—and without making those keys smaller or cramped. If you’ve got a PowerPC Mac, you’ll be pleased with the performance of the special media keys that are included. Unfortunately, several frequently used keys are omitted, and you’ll want to try out the feel of the keys themselves before buying. Unless you’ve got an older Mac and are hurting for desk space, there are better keyboards out there.
[ Dan Frakes is a senior editor at Macworld.]Adesso Mac Slimmedia Mini Keyboard