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KeySonic EL and Compact Aluminium Keyboards

18th July 2005
Manufacured By
Supplied By



ACK-720 EL:

The Box

The ACK-720 EL is a mid-sized keyboard with no fancy multifunction or multimedia keys and a simple, uncluttered design. The upper shell is of brushed aluminium with a fairly pronounced "grain" to it.

The Keyboard


In keeping with current trends, blue LEDs are used to signal the use of the Number Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll lock.

Status LEDs


The KeySonic logo features at the top/centre of the keyboard in a raised aluminium design, no less classy looking for the fact that it clearly seems to be covering an aperture presumably used for status LEDs on a different model. Try to avoid the temptation to wipe a finger over it though as the sharp edges tend to shave off a fine layer of dead skin and scum and deposit around the edges of the letters, an effect that looks quite grotty until you eventually succumb and reach for a tooth pick or something similar to scrape away the uninvited dark outline.



The Aluminium construction isn't carried though to the bottom of the keyboard where it reverts back to plastic.

Rear of Keyboard


Two flip-open legs raise the keyboard slightly. With these legs retracted the keyboard sits completely flat and parallel to the working surface.

The feet have no rubber pads but two pads on the front edge help keep it from slipping and sliding.

Keyboard Legs


The keys are low travel and similar to those typically used in notebook. The image below shows the space key actually depressed which is around 2mm of travel in all.

Key Travel


The top right of the main key array features a button labeled "EL On/Off" which, as the name suggests, is used to switch the EL backlight on and off. The backlight is fairly subdued making it comfortable enough to use in very dark environments, yet bright enough to illuminate the keys from the rear and make the letters, numbers and symbols perfectly legible. The illumination intensity can't be varied.

The EL (Electro-Luminescent) function is powered directly by the USB port so may not work with some loaded, unpowered hubs. An entire underlay sheet beneath the keys illuminates very evenly, there are on real hot-spots or point light sources. Bare in mind also that the light from any EL device will decrease over time, though we're probably looking at a life span of around 10,000 hours plus.



The keys on both keyboards are of the more expensive mechanical "scissor" type, accompanied by membrane switches, which makes them feel very precise, reduces travel and is generally quieter than an all-mechanical key and switch design. Less travel means faster typing speeds, though not for me for the reasons already discussed. Having said that, my typing accuracy did improve slightly simply because the keys are flattened out giving a bigger surface area to aim at.

The bulk of the keyboard is around 15mm in thickness.




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