Netbooks have changed more than you might realise since their inception a few years ago. They’ve evolved from their 7 inch roots, through 8 inch and 9 inch to finally conclude at 10.1 inch (oh, and the odd 12 inch I suppose), with subtle changes to the style as well as plenty of colours during that time as well. The most recent, Seashell, with its gently curving edges, has been iconic for coming up on two years now!
The Chiclet keyboard inside is an absolute change for the better. Having used the missus’ S101 with its old style keyboard versus the more recent Eee’s with chiclet, I have to say the difference is night and day.
Chiclet style means the keys have a space between them, with a perforated cover laid over the top, into those gaps. Originating in America, the term has seen this style of keyboard evolve from the old-school, rubber keyed calculator in the early era of computing, to a far more refined style as the technology and design has inevitably evolved.
ASUS’ Eee PC chiclet keyboard in particular, is so good on a netbook because it creates an extra sense of space to maximse what is otherwise a smaller than normal keyboard. This means that you’re less likely to hit the wrong keys as each gets a slightly larger area to itself, and it also means the design looks more natural as the keyboard area blends neatly into the surrounding casing. Meanwhile the wrist rest has been accentuated not only to highlight itself, but to also provide somewhere for the lid to close as well.
Another rarely documented fact is that it’s also more hygienic! No longer do you have crumbs and hair fall between the keys and ‘crust’ building up on the edges – it’s all much easier to keep clean. If you want to know how and why you should clean your keyboard though, I strongly suggest you checkout Mrs Mario’s very informative posting on the subject.
ASUS also claims it’s creates less fatigue, which is true when you’re not making as many mistakes and it’s more like a larger laptop keyboard to use, but netbook typing will always still require an element of muscle re-teaching, especially if you’re used to using a full PC keyboard. Changing from a laptop is not so bad.
What I want to know, ASUS, is why can’t I get a chiclet keyboard-keyboard? You know, one for my PC with a USB connector? Preferably in conjunction with Micrsoft so it can be ‘Natural Erganomic Chiclet’! Ah, now that would be bliss!