Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard

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Click to viewWe've had video and pictures of the Optimus Maximus keyboard, but now we've got the first hands on with the mythical layout-changing input device. Is it as good as all the hype's built it up to be? No. It's better.

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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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Illustration for article titled Hands On With Optimus Maximus Keyboard
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The units we got to play with were both fully working—one of which was hooked up to a Mac and the other was running in demo mode. Here's what we think:

• Each key's display is very bright and very crisp.

• The keys aren't too clacky and aren't too soft. A good and happy medium between the old ass IBM clackers and the scissor-style laptop keys.

• Unless you wash your hands regularly (which apparently trade-show attendees do not) the keyboard gets greasy. Very greasy. I need some anti-herpes wipe.

• The shift and caps lock keys were working, and they change the entire layout to CAPS (just as you'd expect). We've got video of this later, but it's very crisp and makes it extremely easy to tell whether or not YOU"VE GOT THE SHIFT KEY HELD DOWN.

• It's extremely customizable. We didn't get to see it here, but you can use the utility to change the background, foreground, and make the whole keyboard rainbow-colored if you so wish.

• It's super responsive hitting the keys as well—absolutely no difference between this and a regular keyboard.

• It feels very solidly made, more so than many other keyboards.

• Taking keys out is fairly easy, and it pops right back into place.

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Is it worth $1500? We weren't sure before, but after getting hands-on time with it we're definitely leaning toward a maybe. And if they can lower the price by 50%, then it's a yes. It's one of those things that we'll save up money for and buy after a drunken night out.

We also got to meet Art Lebedev, the guy responsible for the Optimus and many other designs, and we can totally tell that he's on the level and a great guy to boot. In case any of you still thought the Optimus Maximus was vaporware, it's not.

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DISCUSSION

imadifferentbird
I'm A Different Bird

@ithcy: No, instead it's a $50 keyboard with pretty light-up keys. :)

There's no denying this is very cool. But at some point, the added expense has to be justified. What, exactly, does this add to the computing experience? Not a whole ton. Definitely not anything worth $1500. When the price does come down out of the stratosphere, it'll be worth considering. Until then, if you want to pay that much to be an early adopter, and have something that no app or game in the world will support because the installed user base at that price point will be, precisely, dick, then go ahead.

And yes, I realize that OLEDs are expensive. That doesn't mean that this application of them has value to match the expense.

And no, the price won't come down. When demand increases (i.e. when people see it's real and want it), prices stay the same or go up. Read a book! Or go on ebay and look for a Wii; there's an object lesson.