Perixx PERIBOARD-716 and 706 PLUS

The second set of keyboards that we look at today comes from the German manufacturer, Perixx. Their PERIBOARD line of keyboards target most of the market niches in the category - from mechanical gaming keyboards with Cherry MX switches to Bluetooth keyboards for mobile devices. Their play in the HTPC area comprises of wireless keyboards with either integrated touchpads or trackballs, with a focus on being easy on the wallet. However, does that translate to units that are cheap in quality? That is what we aim to find out with our review samples of the PERIBOARD-716 wireless touchpad keyboard and the PERIBOARD-706 PLUS wireless trackball mini-keyboard.

Perixx PERIBOARD-716

The external aspects of the Perixx PERIBOARD-716 are summarized in the table below. The placement of the 2-button touchpad is quite different from what we have seen in other similar units. Usually, it is aligned vertically in the middle on the right side, with a few multimedia buttons on top. However, the PERIBOARD-716 aligns it vertically on top, as shown above. This allows for a hand-rest below the touchpad buttons. The dimensions are closer to that of a full-sized keyboard compared to the Logitech K400. The weight of the unit ensures that it doesn't feel flimsy during use or while carrying around. The touchpad area is a bit small given the overall size of the unit.

Device Type Keyboard + 2-button Touchpad
Keys Count 85 (with 11 multiplexed multimedia hotkeys)
Dimensions 16.14" x 5.71" x 1.02"
Weight 1.12 lbs / 507 g
Power Source 2x AA
Communication Technology 2.4 GHz RF
Touchpad Dimensions (Diagonal) 3.66"

The gallery below takes the reader around the various features in the keyboard chassis. There is an explicit on/off switch to conserve power.

The keyboard layout is aided by the extra width available (compared to other units targeting this market). The availability of full-sized arrow keys as well as explicit Home / Pg Dn / Pg Up / End buttons is definitely appreciated. There is a blue 'Fn' key mode, but Perixx has the good sense to keep the default behavior consistent with the traditional functions of the various keys. The spacing of the keys in the keyboard as well as the almost-standard layout make it suitable for extended typing tasks. We dock off some points for the keyboard layout just because of the non-standard column of keys to the right of the 'Return' key and the number pad multiplexed with Fn - Num Lock. The latter aspect is particularly troublesome for systems that boot up with Num Lock enabled in the BIOS.

Keyboard Layout 8/10

Moving on to the ergonomics, the keyboard does not have an adjustable angle. However, it is not entirely flat, either. The natural angle does make it suitable for usage on a desk, when necessary. In terms of usage in a HTPC scenario, the absence of a dedicated left click button on the left side of the keyboard is a bit unfortunate (but definitely not as issue for single-handed usage). However, our main complaint against the unit in terms of ergonomics is also a case against the build quality - the sharpe edges of the unit slightly beneath the matte edge (particularly in the corners) resulted in multiple scratches on my hand as I moved them to access the touchpad buttons or one of the keys.

Ergonomics 7/10

The unit used to be available for $25 on Newegg for quite some time in the USA. Currently, it seems to be available in Amazon UK for £15. At this price point, it is no surprise that the build quality is not very good. The power on/off toggle switch is rigid and the plastic feels really cheap.

Build Quality 7/10

The PERIBOARDs carry only a one year warranty, but, given the price point, users might not be too concerned. On the whole, it is a good choice for use with SBCs (single board computers) like the Raspberry Pi and the multitude of Android mini-PCs. Even though the keyboard layout looks great for extended typing duties, we fear the construction and build quality make it suitable only for light use. As a keyboard / mouse replacement for HTPCs in the living room, it should be right at home.

Perixx PERIBOARD-706 PLUS

The external aspects of the Perixx PERIBOARD-706 PLUS are summarized in the table below. Unlike the other trackball-based keyboards we have evaluated (such as those from IOGEAR, Adesso and SIIG), this model places the mouse buttons on either side of the trackball. Usually, such a design is adopted if the trackball is placed under the keys and aligned similar to the touchpad location in notebooks. Utilizing this configuration with the trackball to the top-right takes some adjustment from the user's perspective. The absence of a touchpad allows for a width of just 12.4", befitting the 'mini' in the device name without sacrificing on the size of the keys themselves.

Device Type Keyboard + Trackball (with 2 buttons)
Keys Count 87
Dimensions 12.4" x 5.7" x 0.98"
Weight 0.932 lbs / 423 g
Power Source 2x AAA
Communication Technology 2.4 GHz RF
Touchpad Dimensions (Diagonal) N/A

Similar to the PERIBOARD 716, the 706 PLUS also carries an explicit on/off switch for power conservation. The gallery below takes us around the unit.

The key sizes as well as the lettering are big, particularly for a keyboard of this size. The layout is very similar to that of the PERIBOARD 716. Despite the almost-standard layout, two aspects made us dock some points - the extra column of keys to the right of the 'Return' key and the presence of the 'Ins' key in the location where we usually have a 'Ctrl' key. The placement of the 'Shift' key under the 'Return' key is also slightly off from the usual. On the positive side, we have full-sized arrow keys and no Num Lock issues (thanks to the absence of the number pad functionality).

Keyboard Layout 8/10

In terms of ergonomics, the lack of tilt rules out the device for extended typing scenarios. Similar to all trackball keyboards without a left click button on the opposite end, drag-and-drop operations are a big pain. Absence of a scroll button makes certain operations more difficult than they should be. In general, mini-sized keyboards are not that great from an ergonomics viewpoint, but the 706 PLUS is better than most others in that class.

Ergonomics 7/10

The PERIBOARD-706 PLUS is available on both Amazon and Newegg currently for $15. At this price point, most issues can be ignored. It is also not a big surprise that the construction and build quality is average (but, not bad). The main issue is the cheap appearance and feel of the trackball as well as its inconsistency during use. However, many trackball keyboards suffer from similar issues. On the positive side, the overall quality was a bit better compared to the PERIBOARD-716.

Build Quality 8/10

The trackball adopts aggressive power saving measures, causing the system to turn off after a short duration of inactivity (not user-configurable). We saw similar issues with other HTPC keyboards also. The nett effect is that the keyboard appears unresponsive when trying to just move the mouse cursor. Pressing one of the keys or the mouse buttons reactivates the trackball.

Considering the layout and ergonomics, it is clear that the PERIBOARD-706 PLUS is not suitable for extended typing duties. However, for users who prefer a trackball keyboard for occassional use in HTPC scenarios, the unit presents a compelling case with its price point.

Logitech K830 and TK820 Comparisons and Concluding Remarks
POST A COMMENT

76 Comments

View All Comments

  • Salvor - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    Disappointing to me that none of these are left-handed or least ambidextrous, but such is life shopping for peripherals as a lefty. Reply
  • superflex - Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - link

    Visit the Leftorium in Springfield.
    Ned Flanders, proprietor.
    Reply
  • Ilmarinen - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    website: www.stupidflanders.com Reply
  • Refuge - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    So, either Logitech is getting away with highway robbery, or we are buying disposable razors?

    Not to sound like a dick, but I feel like you were way to soft in this one. If the thing is scratching you, why does it almost get the same ratings as the Logitech's? That seems like a massive design flaw.

    Logitech's are over priced pieces of junk, and the Perixx's are disposable razors. Neither are really a solution to the problem, they are just two bad products for a Niche that up until now hasn't seen much attention.

    If you tell them they suck, they might start paying attention. :)
    Reply
  • Samus - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    The Microsoft N9Z-00001 is $25 and kills everything in this list. It doesn't have backlit keys, but it does last a year on two AA batteries making the K8xx presumably lithium battery unnecessary.

    What really bothers me about all the HTPC keyboards now is the lack of Bluetooth for interference-free long range use, and a dedicated sleep button.
    Reply
  • jann5s - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    +1, the microsoft keyboard could have bin in this review as well.

    And i'm looking forward to the new razor turret, but that has not been released yet
    Reply
  • ClockworkPirate - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    I have the Microsoft keyboard, and while quantitatively it's quite good (media/shortcut keys, trackpad gestures), qualitatively I don't like it at all. The keys are mushy, the trackpad isn't a Precision Touchpad for some unfathomable reason, and of course it doesn't connect with Bluetooth. Reply
  • Samus - Monday, May 11, 2015 - link

    It's a $25 keyboard of course the keys are mushy, but granted the key "feel" on the Logitech is snappier (it's a thicker keyboard.) The nail in the coffin is the caps, though. My correction rate on stepped keys is very high.

    With some tweaking the trackpad can be quite good. Turn off "enhance pointer precision" and it doesn't feel so floaty.

    The Microsoft Media keyboard is far from perfect, but I think its substantially better than the K400 in every respect.
    Reply
  • alexrw - Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - link

    I just got the MS keyboard as well and I agree. It looks better than the K400 but it's quite a lot worse when you actually use it. The track pad is simply erratic in comparison, and because the buttons are underneath, I find it awkward and uncomfortable to click as my finger always hits the plastic rim instead. Keys are ok-ish. The only thing that's better than the K400 is the layout (larger keys on the right side, helps if you type for longer). Reply
  • johnny_boy - Friday, May 15, 2015 - link

    I have the MS keyboard as well. I've had it for quite some time and while it looks nice, it's pretty bad and I wouldn't recommend it. The keys are squishy and the trackpad horrible, at least on linux. They've also designed the pad so that it has that upside-down "natural" scroll and the settings aren't configurable in linux because it doesn't use a standard touchpad driver. The reception on the receiver doesn't seem to be that great either, but I know the 2.4Ghz band here is a bit congested. Not a great piece of tech by any means. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now