FILCO

Ma­jestouch Con­vert­ible 2

Computer Shopper - - OFFICE KEYBOARDS - £143 From www.key­boardco.com

VERDICT

A pricey but flex­i­ble me­chan­i­cal key­board, ca­pa­ble of swap­ping be­tween wired and wire­less modes

FILCO IS ONE of the more sto­ried key­board brands. Owned by the Ja­panese Di­atec Cor­po­ra­tion, Filco ticked along for sev­eral years (pro­duc­ing, along­side the usual fare, the SMK-8851 – a full tenkey board in the shape of a di­nosaur), but it wasn’t un­til the launch of the Ma­jestouch me­chan­i­cal se­ries that it really started to take off. A decade later, Ma­jestouch and more re­cent Ma­jestouch-2 key­boards are vi­able op­tions for Western con­sumers, lo­calised lay­outs and all.

The Con­vert­ible 2 is one of the more re­cent ad­di­tions to the range. It looks like a fairly un­re­mark­able full-size key­board, but by de­tach­ing the USB ca­ble and adding two AA batteries (hand­ily in­cluded in the box), it can switch freely be­tween wired and wire­less op­er­a­tion via Blue­tooth.

Wire­less me­chan­i­cal key­boards are much rarer than their ca­bled coun­ter­parts, for var­i­ous rea­sons; their heavy weight makes them un­suited to porta­bil­ity, and many of those who pre­fer the higher per­for­mance of

me­chan­i­cal switches might not care for the la­tency of a Blue­tooth con­nec­tion.

Still, if you’re only typ­ing, rather than gam­ing, we can see the ap­peal; when it’s on bat­tery power, the Con­vert­ible 2 looks even neater and ti­dier than usual, and there’s a much greater flex­i­bil­ity to which de­vices you can use with it. Not keen on your 2-in-1’s cramped, flat key­board? Swap it out for the Con­vert­ible 2, even if there’s no full-size USB port. We even got it work­ing with an An­droid smart­phone, though this is very much a desk­top key­board rather than a mo­bile one.

A recharge­able bat­tery would have cut down on fu­ture costs, but stan­dard AA cells have their perks. Bat­tery life is rated at six months with five hours’ use per day; if this be­comes your main work key­board, that ex­pectancy will drop quite a bit, but you’re still look­ing at months with­out in­ter­rup­tion.

We tested the Con­vert­ible 2 with Cherry MX Brown switches, though click­ier MX Blues are avail­able too. We pre­fer the for­mer any­way – the tac­tile bump re­sponse makes ev­ery key­press feel firm and de­ci­sive, and while there is some au­di­tory feed­back as well, it’s not loud enough to be dis­tract­ing. Sub­jec­tively, us­ing the Blue­tooth con­nec­tion makes typ­ing feel a tiny bit less crisp and re­spon­sive than with the USB ca­ble, but it’s still more than good enough for crank­ing out Word doc­u­ments.

Gen­er­ally, this is a very prim and proper key­board, so there are no fancy ad­di­tions such as back­light­ing or tex­tured key­caps, but you do get me­dia con­trols in­te­grated with the Func­tion keys, and there’s a Blue­tooth on/off switch so you don’t waste bat­tery power when it’s not in use.

The only real is­sues are the Caps Lock in­di­ca­tor light be­ing dis­abled in Blue­tooth mode (which is un­for­tu­nate, but not ru­inous) and the price, which is very much on the high side. If you don’t care about ca­bles, we’d rec­om­mend spend­ing less, but con­sid­er­ing how rare it is to find a qual­ity wire­less me­chan­i­cal key­board, pay­ing the pre­mium does make a cer­tain kind of sense.

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