Although you may know Synaptics from their ‘Fuse’ handset revealed at CES 2010 featuring haptic feedback merged with proximity sensors, the company is way better known for their touch-screens in recent smartphones. Now, however, they are entering a whole new market.
Do you know what the single biggest gripe is that reviewers have when it comes to the super thin elite of Ultrabooks such as the Acer Aspire S3 or Asus Zenbook Prime? Well we do; they constantly knock Ultrabooks for having too shallow a keyboard. This means that there is no sufficient travel from when you hammer down a key to it springing back. In the worst reported cases, an Ultrabook keyboard can in effect really put an downer on a product which would otherwise be good, resulting in a lacklustre score overall.
So what can laptop manufacturers do, because basic physics dictates that there is only so much room for a spring mechanism to be under a key? Well Synaptics might have the answer, or we sure as hell hope they do anyway, if their latest product (a keyboard!) is going to be any good in the real-world.
The product in question is imaged above, and as you can see Synaptics keyboard is rake thin. Size 0 thin. Almost paper thin (well, not quite). It’s interesting to note that this is Synaptics first foray in to the keyboard market, and the company is far better known for their touch-screens as seen in HTC’s latest One series of smartphones and the One X I happily carry in my pocket.
This keyboard is all set to be adopted by Ultrabook manufacturers in the near future. Said to be 50 percent thinner than its competitors and keyboards within current Ultrabooks, Synaptics new product is aiming to create the possibility for laptop manufacturers to create even thinner Ultrabooks for the future. Also of note is the capacitive sensor underneath the keyboard, which disables the track pad whilst typing; a nice feature which I’m sure will benefit people with wandering wrists. Back-lighting comes as standard too, something which Synaptics has noted will be significantly improved over current keyboards due to less space between the chassis.
We’ll have to wait and see how this keyboard performs when it makes its way in to a consumer available Ultrabook. Our guess is it’ll offer up a rather shallow experience, however with that said if you want an amazing keyboard, you’ll have to step up to an Ultrabook with a waist size above 0. Size 6, such as the Carbon X1, should do it.