Key Tronic has been a major force in the PC industry for some time and I was interested to see what it could do at the budget end of the market. But as it turned out, the Key Tronic was exactly what I would have expected the Genius to be.
From the moment you pick it up the Key Tronic combo feels cheap and immediately sets about bringing together the worst attributes of the other offerings and some uniquely its own. This is a PS2 only device that doesnâ€™t ship with rechargeable batteries and doesnâ€™t provide a way of recharging batteries should you go out and buy any.
Next, the installation was a nightmare. With no USB connectivity, detection was instantly a problem and when I repeatedly failed to get the mouse to be recognised I was referenced to the supplied CD which in turn directed me to a webpage that said â€œInsert the CD, follow online instructionsâ€. Searching on my own, I eventually found a User Guide in jpeg which consisted of a six step install guide and a troubleshooting segment that directed you to retry the install procedure.
I solved the problem eventually by simply repeating and repeating the install procedure from scratch, but even once up and running I was not impressed by what I had. The keyboard, like the Genius, tries to copy the Logitech design but it does so cutting a few corners along the way. The scroll wheel from the side of the keyboard has been chopped and the multimedia keys are unnecessarily small and ugly. Typing on the keyboard is a mixed bag. While the keys do a decent job of copying the sound and feel of the Microsoft model, obviously this seasonâ€™s en vogue noise, they feel loose and the spacebar is outrageously cheap and clacks in a completely different pitch from rest of the keyboard. I have never understood why manufacturers install a cheap spacebar; after all, it is the second most used key after the vowels.
The mouse is not much better as it offers the same basic set up as the Cherry, just the two mouse buttons and a scroll wheel. It feels too light in the hand and is plagued by lag. Using it is just not a pleasant experience.
All of which leaves me with the transceiver. Again, the styling cues are similar to the Cherry and the result is a feather light black plastic brick with a hollow sounding connect button that I must have pressed more than any of the other units combined.
As with the Cherry, and the one flaw of the Genius, the palm rest also has a tendency to fall off if you lift the keyboard up, but I could have happily overlooked this if the rest of the package was not so disappointing.
Before the tests began, I had expected the Genius and the Key Tronic to be making up the numbers at the bottom of the pile. As it turns out, they ended up at opposite ends of the table.