The pandemic added a brand new entry to the record of firm names which have change into verbs, with Xerox and Google joined by Zoom. So it was solely a matter of time earlier than the arrival of the self-proclaimed world’s first keyboard licensed for Zoom. The Dell KB900 Premier Collaboration Keyboard ($119.99) has 4 LED icons that present one-touch shortcuts for videoconferencing capabilities resembling muting your microphone and sharing your display. It is a good-looking wi-fi machine with mushy backlit keys that prices $40 lower than the Editors’ Alternative award-winning Razer Professional Kind Extremely, however since it is not a mechanical keyboard, it could’t match the Razer’s clicky typing really feel and lengthy lifespan. Nonetheless, the KB900 is extraordinarily snug and carries a three-year guarantee. It is a wonderful workplace keyboard for anybody who makes numerous Zoom calls.
Two Methods to Join
Product of a darkish grey plastic Dell calls graphite with a black stripe over the cursor management keys, the Premier Collaboration Keyboard measures 0.8 by 17.3 by 4.8 inches (HWD), barely much less deep than the Professional Kind Extremely (1.6 by 17.3 by 5.2 inches) or one other mechanical keyboard, the Logitech MX Mechanical (1.02 by 17.1 by 5.2 inches). It weighs 1.6 kilos. Two pop-out toes elevate its again edge in case you want a typing tilt. Dell doesn’t provide a wrist relaxation as Razer does.
Like different wi-fi peripherals, the 109-key board helps each Bluetooth and a pair of.4GHz RF connections, the latter by way of a dinky USB Kind-A receiver that Dell says encrypts knowledge switch. The rightmost key within the high proper nook cycles by the RF and two Bluetooth hyperlinks, letting the KB900 management as much as three units. It really works with Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, and Android, however its keycaps and software program are just for Home windows 10 and 11.
Whenever you insert the RF dongle—there isn’t any cubbyhole or area of interest to stash it within the keyboard as some rivals present—the KB900 downloads and installs the Dell Peripheral Supervisor software program, which may additionally management the companion Dell MS900 Premier Rechargeable Mouse. Pairing a second machine is as straightforward as holding a button or key (on the machine you are including, not the primary, as I found) whereas turning the latter on. Extra in regards to the software program in a second.
The KB900 comes with a cable with USB-C connectors on each ends, used just for charging (it at all times capabilities as a wi-fi keyboard). Dell says charging for one minute is adequate for a day’s use, and a full cost lasts as much as 20 days. There is a energy swap on the proper rear, however no USB pass-through ports, which generally aren’t discovered on wi-fi keyboards.
The Premier Collaboration Keyboard has a numeric keypad with keys to launch Home windows’ Calculator and clear entries above it. By default, the top-row F1 by F12 keys management audio quantity, media playback and subsequent/earlier observe, system lock, Snipping Software, displaying and switching desktops, search, and backlight brightness.
The final is assigned to F8, which may at all times be used to show off keyboard lighting, however solely cycles by totally different ranges when Dell Peripheral Supervisor is ready to Guide moderately than Adaptive Gentle mode. The latter adjusts the backlight primarily based on ambient mild and turns it off after a minute of idle time, illuminating once more while you deliver your fingers again to the keyboard.
Testing the KB900: Whisper-Quiet, Nice Texture
Dell’s web site says the KB900 is “crafted with surreal element,” which apparently means elegant design moderately than Lovecraftian geometry. Whereas it each seems and feels significantly higher-quality than a generic $49 keyboard, the Premier Collaboration Keyboard depends on laptop-style scissor switches moderately than mechanical swap expertise.
This implies its key journey is comparatively shallow—Dell does not specify journey in millimeters, however I would describe it as comparable with a mainstream laptop computer, a bit deeper than the thinnest ultraportable—and virtually silent, with solely a faint tapping moderately than clickety-clacking sound.
The keycaps have a barely padded or rubbery texture that makes typing straightforward. I do know mechanical keyboards are alleged to be the elite alternative, however my fingers generally really feel drained after a day’s work on one; the KB900 feels luxuriously snug and pleasant. Along with lacking key journey and actuation drive rankings, Dell additionally fails to record estimated sturdiness, which I would guess is wanting the Professional Kind Extremely’s 80 million keystrokes, however as I discussed the keyboard carries a three-year guarantee.
Between the cursor arrow keys and the Delete, Finish, and Web page Down row are 4 LEDs that mild up solely throughout Zoom calls (utilizing model 5.9.3 or later of the desktop app). They toggle or mute your microphone; flip your webcam or video on and off; launch display sharing; and open Zoom’s chat window. They work high-quality, however oddly require a double faucet by default. The Dell software program helps you to change to a single faucet or allow and disable the 4 individually.
Talking of Dell Peripheral Supervisor, model 1.6.4 proved balky on my Home windows 11 desktop, failing to launch correctly a couple of third of the time—the battery gauge was grayed out and there was no response when clicking the backlight possibility buttons. Closing and restarting it often labored.
Moreover seeing your machine connections and controlling the lighting and Zoom LEDs, it helps you to customise or reprogram 15 top-row keys—F1 by F12 besides F8, Print Display screen, Scroll Lock, Pause, and the calculator key. You possibly can select capabilities from a pull-down menu; I seemed for and could not discover display brightness (one among my HP Envy 34 keyboard’s defaults) however was in any other case happy with the array of choices.
Verdict: A Splendid Comfortable Contact
Typically, we suggest high-quality mechanical keyboards over laptop-style fashions, however the Dell KB900 is about pretty much as good as a non-mechanical keyboard will get. It provides a luxurious typing really feel, handy backlighting and Zoom shortcuts, versatile wi-fi connections, and good battery life. The shortage of a wrist relaxation will flip off some, and the software program glitch I encountered was annoying, however the Premier Collaboration Keyboard nonetheless earns excessive marks—notably in case you spend a lot of your day on video calls.