So you like the look and feel of a nice flat laptop keyboard but you don’t like the number row. If you are, like me, a fan of the 10 key pad (especially handy if you work with numbers all day) then Rapoo may have a solution for you. The Blade 8900 is a peripheral set which includes a low profile keyboard (17” x 6 5/8” x 7/8”) and a laser mouse.
The keyboard is only 7/8” tall to allow for the two AA batteries which power it and to give the keyboard a little incline. Most of the actual keyboard is only 1/4” thick, and that includes the keys. The layout is the same as a standard 104 key layout for PC (including MS Windows icon button, but we won’t hold that against them…). I used the Blade 8900 with my Macbook Pro and the translation for the PC standard commands all seemed to work just fine, so there were no points of confusion for the computer.
As mentioned above, you get a full 10 key pad on the right end of the keyboard for those of us who live with a lot of numbers. The key action is crisp and responsive and only very slightly firmer than the Macbook keyboard. The Rapoo Blade 8900P keyboard even sports some stealth media keys in the strip at the top. The clever bit is you don’t even have to touch them to make them light up. If your finger gets to within about 1/8” of the surface, the controls will self illuminate. When you tap one of these keys you will get a small tactile feedback indicator (vibrate) to let you know the command was executed.
Now for the rodent. The optical mouse uses laser technology, so just about any surface (other than glass) will track well. There is even a small DPI button on the top to switch between fast and precise modes. Aside from the standard left and right buttons, this mouse comes with a 4D scroll wheel, two additional navigation buttons (not so useful in the Mac environment, but definable on a PC) and a self-centering slider for zooming in and out while web browsing. The mouse is sort of ergonomically designed, but using the extra controls can be a bit awkward, especially the 2 extra buttons just over the thumb rest spot. The scroll wheel works well and the overall size and shape fit well enough.
The Rapoo Blade 8900P keyboard and mouse offer a 5G USB connection which supports both peripherals. The mouse functions about as well as expected for a modern cordless mouse. The keyboard is strikingly slim and clean looking, as well as lightweight. In reading the back of the box the unit came in, I noticed there is a bonus: the “Ultra-slim Floating Chocolate Buttons!” I tried one, and they are decidedly not chocolate (or edible for that matter). I think they meant chicklet buttons, which is what they are (and still not edible).
Both the mouse and keyboard have on/off switches on their respective bottoms to extend your battery life.
The shape of the mouse does not lend itself to the best grip. The outside face is sloped so the hand almost wants to ride up and off. The look and feel of the mouse also leaves one with the impression that looks trumped build quality by a little bit (not too much, though).
As for the keyboard, while I appreciate a full size keyboard and really like the 10 key pad, it’s 17” wide and it might be easier to pack in a carry case if it was just a bit shorter. The base plate is stainless steel and the top is an aluminium alloy, and where they meet is not quite a happy land; the top folds over and leaves a “sharp” edge (I don’t think it will cut anything, but it isn’t a dull feeling kind of roughness). There is also a gap between the two panels which gives the keyboard that unfinished look everybody doesn’t like.
Here’s the fun part: how much does this thing cost me? Well, that depends where you’re looking. Rapoo handles the design and manufacturing and leaves the distribution to the retailers. I looked at sites like Amazon.com and Walmart.com and found retail prices ranging from as high as $119.90 down to $52.16, so do some shopping around if you want one of these. I personally do not think the build quality commands the $119.90.
The Rapoo Blade 8900P wireless keyboard and mouse function fine and the look good, but in the densely populated peripherals market they do not quite have the fit and finish to be considered high end hardware. I can’t give this one full marks, but as a wireless option they work well enough.
Just make sure you are getting a fair price deal.
Provides: Full keyboard input with multimedia input, optical mouse input
Minimum Requirements: USB port