Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is one of the biggest causes of work-related sick leaves in the United States. It costs billions of dollars in medical allowance every year. RSI arises when you use your joints and muscles in the wrong way for a long time. You may start experiencing problems with your hands, neck, or shoulders due to repetitive, monotonous work. Of course, one way to prevent RSI is to vary your posture. And another is to use the right tools at work. Folks at Penclic have designed an ergonomic keyboard called Penclic Mini Keyboard that they claim minimizes the risk of RSI.
Penclic is a Swedish company. Their keyboard adheres to the well-known Scandinavian design philosophy. It beautifully combines the minimalist design with ergonomics and function. We have received a Penclic Mini Keyboard unit for review. After having spent plenty of time with the keyboard, here is our detailed review.
Penclic Mini Keyboard: Design
Penclic’s Mini Keyboard is roughly the same width as Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. It has a swooped up top end. I have not seen a keyboard with that kind of top end before. The black-colored keyboard has two rechargeable AAA batteries that are supposed to last up to two months with normal usage. It comes with a USB receiver and a retractable USB cable for charging.
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The keyboard looks stylish and attractive. Its slim 5mm profile allows you to free up space on your work desk. The Mini Keyboard’s compact size enables a more natural and relaxed working position to help reduce the risk of RSI. The key layout is similar to the regular keyboards, but there are a few non-standard keys as well. For instance, there is an Alt Grr key on the right side of the space bar that I have never seen before. Penclic has also included a Penclic logo key between the Fn and Alt keys in the lower row.
It’s a wireless keyboard, which means there is a USB dongle that you have to plug into your computer. It could be a bit of an issue for people whose computers have only one or two USB ports. If you use this keyboard and a wireless mouse that also relies on a dongle, the two will take up all the USB ports on your Mac. There is no port left for another accessory or to charge your smartphone.
Bluetooth would have been a much better alternative to the USB receiver/dongle. Bluetooth works with almost all computers, smartphones, and tablets today. Penclic Mini Keyboard’s receiver has a range of up to five meters. Bluetooth, on the other hand, has a range of roughly 10 meters. Also, I expected the keyboard to have a small drawer somewhere on the back to store the USB receiver, but there wasn’t.
Penclic Mini Keyboard: Functionality
Setting up the keyboard is pretty easy. Just insert the batteries and charge them using the micro-USB charging cable. You’ll see green flashes on the keyboard LED when it is charging. The light turns constant green when it’s fully charged (and red when the keyboard is running low on battery). You have to pop in the USB receiver into the USB port and set the power switch located at the bottom of the keyboard to ON. You’re all set now.
We had the keyboard running within minutes. The keyboard’s Quiet-Touch keys make the typing experience a breeze. There is almost no noise. It provides a good tactile feeling when you press the keys. You need to apply only minimal pressure when typing. However, it takes some time to get used to it, especially if you are used to the regular keyboards. The keyboard works with Windows, Mac, as well as Linux. We tested it on a PC running Windows 10.
Its low profile means it sits flat on the desk, offering the optimum angle to reduce pain or tiredness for your wrists. The keyboard’s compact size makes for a more centered working position, which reduces the risk of RSI. There are two rubbery feet at the bottom to raise the angle of typing, albeit only slightly. The flip-up feet also prevent the keyboard from sliding away while typing.
The Penclic Mini Keyboard is thin and small. If you are a frequent traveler, it won’t occupy much space in your travel bag/suitcase, which is a big plus compared to a few of the negatives below.
However, it’s not without flaws. For example, the keyboard lacks a CapsLock indicator. You have to figure out on your own whether the CapsLock is on.
Penclic Mini Keyboard: Price
The keyboard’s ergonomic design helps you minimize the risk of RSI. For $70, the Penclic Mini Keyboard is more expensive than keyboards from popular brands such as Microsoft and Logitech. You can buy a good quality Logitech keyboard for $43. Besides its ergonomic design, I believe Penclic needs to add more features (maybe Bluetooth and a drawer for USB receiver) to justify the price tag. In fact, adding Bluetooth would eliminate the need for the USB receiver, which should minimize the cost of production for the company. It will also free up a USB port for users.
However, if you are a frequent traveler, the Penclic is probably the best bet.
FTC disclosure – We would like to thank the company’s external PR for sending us a free copy of the product in exchange for an honest review.