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-- by Erik Sherman
Normally, you might only associate the words "keyboard" and "innovation" with an oddly shaped device claiming to be ergonomic or a Dvorak version for those not addicted to the QWERTY system. But Janesway managed to reengineer this basic piece of equipment into something new and different with the Janesway Folding Keyboard.
The unit is a full-sized, 18-by-7-inch, 101-key device designed with a set of hinges in the middle. It's not for everyone. But if you're a business traveler, you might find it a pleasant change to use your notebook with a familiar keyboard. Because of its thickness when folded, you won't be able to slip it into your laptop case (although it would fit in an overnight bag). If you're cramped for desk space, the keyboard comes with an optional monitor stand. Your monitor sits on the stand, and your keyboard folds and slips under it. You can also just stand, the folded unit next to the monitor.
To install, plug the keyboard into a standard DIN connector. To open the unit, move the dust flap up, gently pull back a plastic latch and unfold the two halves. To close, fold one end over to meet the other, flip the dust-cover flap, and the unit snaps shut. A safety mechanism allows the keyboard to work only if it is fully open, preventing an accidental closing from scattering text across your latest document. Unfortunately, while you can latch the keyboard closed, you can't lock it open. As a result, propping the unit in your lap can be frustrating. Set it on a flat surface and you'll be fine. Recognizing the problem, the manufacturer says a version that locks open will be available soon.
Although I liked the positive response from the keys, you might be distracted by the accompanying clicking.
Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.