I’m typing this story on a keyboard that is also a mouse and also a touchpad … all in one.
When I want to type, I type. When I want to scroll my browser window, I brush two fingers across the keyboard. A three-fingered brush switches windows on my Mac. A single finger moves my cursor, and a tap that isn’t quite a key-depressing typing motion moves my insertion point.
In short, pretty much everything I want to do with the keyboard, I can.
And, pretty much anything I want to do with a mouse or a trackpad, too.
The Prestigio Click&Touch is the brainchild of Clevetura, a company with offices in Minsk, in Belarus, and Shenzhen, China. The company has found a way to embed sensors on the surface of the keyboard, enabling keys to detect touch without actually being pressed. Called TouchOnKeys, it’s an interesting and — as far as I know — unique way of managing computer input.
But the company has much bigger ideas.
Because the keyboard is wireless (although it comes with a USB connector which also charges the keyboard, making it easy to connect) it can also be used for smart TVs, tablets, phones, even a video game console: up to five devices at a time, the company says. Plus, a signal distance of up to 10 meters (30 feet) ensures you can connect with even the largest home theater TV, even if you’re sitting well back from it.
A key benefit?
“Users can type, scroll or move the cursor without changing their palm position,” the company says.
Plus, of course, it’s hard to use a mouse on the sofa.
It does take a little getting used to, and I did occasionally actually press a key when only intending to move my cursor. But over time, you get use to it. And, because the keyboard is designed with a significant amount of travel for each key, especially compared to today’s laptops, it’s fairly easy to not make that mistake again. The biggest challenge is to not forget this is not an ordinary keyboard. On an ordinary keyboard, you can simply rest your fingers on the keys with no spurious inputs. Doing the same on the Click&Touch runs the risk of moving your cursor or focus point, especially if you happen to move your hands slightly.
There’s some intelligence embedded in the keyboard, which means no manual switching.
“Switching between modes is automatic, with a built-in microcontroller instantly recognizing and processing every touch and stroke,” the company says. “Users do not have to think about modes as the system recognizes what they are doing.”
The Click&Touch worked automatically on my Mac with the latest Catalina operating system, although Mac OS X did throw up an “unknown keyboard” dialog. I ignored the warning, clicked out of it, and just used it, with no apparent negative impact.
On your mobile phone, you can download the Clevetura app for more finger gesture support.
Interestingly, the keyboard displays a blue light at the top when it is in keyboard mode, and a green light when it is in touchpad mode. The switch is essentially instantaneous … I noticed no lag.
One downside of the model I tested: it also had Cyrillic characters on the keyboard. It’s minor, but that did cause some confusion for me on occasion (generally only when I actually looked at the keyboard).
I wouldn’t recommend the Click&Touch as a full-time keyboard, as the very feature that makes it useful for the smart TV or phone or tablet — it’s small size — makes it a little cramped. But it makes for an interesting companion to your smart TV or tablet, or works well as a backup keyboard.