We usually review dedicated gaming keyboards here at the site, which makes our look at Kensington’s Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports seem a bit out of character. Well, when we first saw the Ci70, we were immediately attracted to its sleek profile and wondered how it would fare while playing our favorite video games. We warn you, we did not review this keyboard as a ‘gaming keyboard’, we reviewed it from the perspective of a non-enthusiast class gamer that dabbles in gaming at the home or office.
The Ci70 definitely excels in the looks and style department. As you can see from its low profile, sleek lines, and narrow width – a full 2.5′ more narrow that the Razer Lycosa. There is a black sliding panel which covers either the USB ports or the internet
keys moves back and forth with ease and seems of durable construction. In fact, while the keyboard is light and small, with the thinner area of the keyboard coming in at .25′ thick, it feels remarkably solid.
Installing the Ci70 on your PC requires no software. Just plug it in and you are all set. On the Mac platform, however, you will need to install some basic drivers before it functions as advertised.
the Usage, Mundane:
Kensington’s Ci70 performs very well under normal office conditions. The biggest complaint we had about it, and this comes into play alot more when gaming (see below), was the need for a wrist rest. The Ci70 was a bit uncomfortable to use after a long period of time. We loved, however, the mini-USB port. We were able to connect our digital camera to it with ease and it was a ton more convenient than climbing around the back of the case to accomplish the same task.
the Usage, Gaming:
We have been all set to play Age of Conan for the last four years so, with its recent ‘Early Access’ launch, it was the first thing we tested the keyboard with. The crisp-clicking keyboard performed admirably, although after some hours of play, we noticed our wrists were a bit uncomfortable. We placed a padded wrist rest in front of the Ci70 and it was no longer an issue. In addition to the mini-USB plug, there is a standard USB 2.0 port next to it. In this, you could easily plug in a command unit (such as the Nostromo n52te), joystick, or any other gaming peripheral that does not require a powered USB port.
While the gaming capabilities of the Kensington Ci70 USB are minimal and not what you would expect from a full-fledged gaming keyboard, if you are a home or office user who would like to have easy access to his or her USB ports and still be able to play some games here and there, this is a great purchase you should seriously look into. And the mini-USB plug just adds a ton of convenience. I always end up losing those cables with my electronic devices. Now, that just can’t happen. There is a wireless version of the Ci70 as well, however that model does not have USB ports (obviously). The Kensington Ci70 with USB ports retails for $49.99 here.