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Cideko Air Keyboard

Price: $70

The Air Keyboard is a small device about the size of a small, thick paperback book.

It’s used to control a PC from afar, making it ideal for people who have a computer connected to a TV in the living room.

It’s mainly useful for controlling the mouse pointer, though it’s not used on a desk or table like a normal mouse. Instead you hold the device in both hands and wave it in the air to move the pointer around on screen.

Unlike the Gyration mouse devices we’ve looked at this one relies on small tilting motions to move the pointer, rather than physically moving in the air. That took a bit of getting used to but after a few days we were used to it and it worked well.

There are left and right ‘mouse’ buttons on the shoulders of the Air Keyboard which will be familiar to anyone who’s used a games console controller.

There’s also a full keyboard so you can control all aspects of the computer just as you would with a standard keyboard. The rubber keys are very small and hard but they are well spaced out, so that while it’s actually quite hard to press the wrong one, typing is not at all comfortable.

Still, it’s good enough for typing in web addresses and search phrases which is most of what you’ll be doing on a PC connected to a TV. We certainly wouldn’t recommend it if you will be typing a lot of emails, for instance.

Our test media centre PC, connected to a living-room flat-panel TV, came with its own wireless keyboard and mouse which we were happy to ditch in favour of the less pleasant but more convenient Air Keyboard.

One thing to note is that it uses the US keyboard layout so the @ sign is above the 2 key. You can re-map the keys using Windows to switch it back to normal, but the labels on the keys will be wrong in that case.

Battery life is good at around 50 hours of use and there’s a power-saving standby mode that activates after four minutes of inactivity. Pressing the left ‘mouse’ button starts it again. The device comes with a USB adapter to attach to the computer, and with which it communicates using radio waves.

It connected easily without any work required, although we came across an intermittent fault in which the keyboard would lose its connection, and we’d have to unplug the USB adapter and plug it back in to make it work.

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