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Brando Mini Keyboard

First impressions of a Brando UKEYB001500 USB Wireless Mini Keyboard and Mouse

USB Wireless Mini Keyboard and Mouse

On March 10, 2009 i bought a Brando UKEYB001500 USB mini keyboard and mouse. It arrived today, March 24, 2009. Shipping things from Asia to the US seems to take quite a while, despite the fact that it was sent via air mail. They did point this out at the time of purchase though, so no surprise.

Here is what greeted me when i opened the box. You can click on these images to get higher resolution versions for a closer look.

The box


Buying the cat in the sack

As usual their web site said it would work on Windoze. Wondering whether it would work on Linux, i turned to Google. A search for UKEYB001500 yielded nothing. This article aims to change that. So thinking that keyboards and mice "should" just work even though both ran off a single wireless USB dongle, i decided to give it a try and spend the $60.


And the winner is...


After unpacking it, i put the batteries in and plugged it in. Here's what /var/log/messages had to say:

usb 1-1: new low speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 4
usb 1-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
input:         USB Receiver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.0/usb1/1-1/1-1:1.0/input/input27
generic-usb 0003:05AF:3062.0011: input,hidraw2: USB HID v1.10 Keyboard [USB Receiver] on usb-0000:00:1a.0-1/input0
input:         USB Receiver as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.0/usb1/1-1/1-1:1.1/input/input28
generic-usb 0003:05AF:3062.0012: input,hiddev97,hidraw3: USB HID v1.10 Mouse [USB Receiver] on usb-0000:00:1a.0-1/input1

So in short, things worked just fine. Note this is on Kubuntu Intrepid running a jaunty kernel.


So, how does the keyboard it feel?

Well, the keyboard is small, but big enough for me not to fat finger any keys. The pressure sensitivity is a little firmer than my W500, which i bought it for, and the noise level is the same as the Thinkpad. I'm alright with that. I do however, still need to get used to the layout a bit, as it's somewhat different from the Thinkpad as well as the plane Jane PS2 keyboards i'm so used to. Here's the layout.

The UKEYB001500 keyboard


And the mouse?

The mouse feel is similar to the Keyboard; firm. That seemed fine at first, but after a little bit of heavy click usage, could maybe be a bit lighter. The one thing i miss is the free spinning wheel, my little Logitech has. But in return i appreciate being able to get to the middle mouse button without having to relocate my hand on the mouse. This is a pet peeve i've had with the Logitech. Go figure. The mouse is an LED mouse, not a laser mouse.

The mouse and dongle


I'm curious to see how long the Batteries last. Both keyboard and mouse use 2 AAA batteries each. The mouse has an Off-L-H switch on the bottom so "Off" will help. The keyboard does not have a switch.

There was no documentation with this product, which is reasonable, but it took me a little playing around to find out that the L-H switch settings seem to affect mouse acceleration. I don't know whether they affect power consumption.

The mouse has a little storage compartment for the USB dongle. While at first, i wondered how i would ever get the battery out of the mouse with out a strap to pull it out, it came out with my fingers just fine. The battery next to the dongle slot is somewhat below the other battery, which is not so apparent on this shot.

The same went for the dongle. There, a tap on mouse makes it fall out, provided you place it in there the right way. Now that part i could have done without. The right way it goes in fairly easily, while the wrong way it's firm, but doesn't require force. I just fell for that and had a whale of a time getting the dongle out again. The trick is, if it doesn't almost fall into the slot, you got it backwards.

The back of the UKEYB001500 mouse


The Back of the keyboard

The keyboard has a dongle slot as well. My initial thought was, what if the dongle falls out of the keyboard slot. Then i tried it, and found that i had a hard time getting the dongle out again. So i'll probably be using the mouse instead of the keyboard for storage. Not for fear of losing the dongle but to make it easier to retrieve.

Update: Tried this again after the first day and the dongle comes out of the slot just fine. A case of infant stickiness, i guess.

The slot in back of the keyboard

For completeness of documentation, here's the back of the keyboard.

The back of the UKEYB001500 keyboard


Why i wanted this keyboard?

Easy. It fits :)

My use case


Last thoughts

All in all i'm happy, i bought this little keyboard because it filled a need of mine that i had a hard time getting filled. An ergonomic laptop. The mouse was not really part of my consideration to buy. While looking around in various places, such as newegg, i was not able to find anything that had the form factor of this thing. And this thing didn't come without a mouse. This is also the reason i purchased it directly from China instead of procuring it locally. I will try to use the mouse as it saves me from wasting yet another USB slot.


After the first day

Well, after using both mouse and keyboard today for a few hours i've come to the conclusion to leave the mouse at home, this is a personal decision most likely being influenced, by me being used to my little Logitech mouse. The keyboard however, rocks. As i pointed out in my update above the dongle now stays with the keyboard.



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