Ideazon Zboard - HotHardware

Ideazon Zboard

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Ideazon Zboard
Interchangeable Keyboard System

Tom Laverriere
December 23rd, 2003


 

 
Installation
Plug it in and fire it up...

The installation of the Ideazon ZBoard is extremely easy.  Before plugging the ZBoard into the system, simply insert the supplied install CD into your CD-ROM drive and let the install begin.  Once the drivers for the ZBoard are installed power down the machine and then plug the ZBoard into your PS/2 port.  Start the system back up and you'll notice a little "Z" icon in your system tray.  All the settings and configurations can be accessed from the system tray icon.

Click Images for Full View

Hotkey Settings

Keyset Configuration

General Information

The first image above sets all of the Hotkey's on the ZBoard interface.  The ZBoard base unit has an array of shortcut buttons across the top of the unit.  These hotkey settings effect which programs are opened when a particular shortcut button is pressed.  Some of the shortcut buttons we found most useful were e-mail, Windows Media Player, and Internet Explorer.  The features available from the Hotkey Settings tab can be saved as individual profiles.  You can set up different profiles for the shortcut buttons which makes it extremely easy to change all of their functions just by selecting a pre-saved profile. 

The second tab dubbed Keyset Configuration is how the ZBoard base unit knows which interface is currently "plugged" in.  Here you can browse for a specific set of instructions, which are saved as .exe files for each interface you have for the ZBoard base unit.  When the Enabled checkbox is selected, the ZBoard will load the correct keyset configurations for the particular interface being used.  This makes changing interfaces on the fly simple.  Say you're in the middle of typing an e-mail and you decided to play a little Medal Of Honor.  Simply unsnap the MS Windows interface and snap in the Medal Of Honor interface and the correct keyset configuration is loaded.  Fire up Medal Of Honor and you're off and fragging in no time. 

The last tab contains General Information about the ZBoard such as shortcuts to the user guide and the manual.  Here the user can also check for any driver updates that may be available to the ZBoard software as well as any updates to specific keyset configurations.

The Ideazon ZBoard is a very nice innovation.  The ability to be able to simply swap out different keysets that map perfectly to particular applications is what makes the Ideazon ZBoard unique.  If the process of changing keysets even caused a little hardship to the user, the ZBoard, in our opinion, would not be successful.  But because Ideazon has made it so extremely easy to do, it's hard to not enjoy the usefulness this keyboard provides.  Some of you may be  thinking "my keyboard does everything I need it to, why should I change?"  Maybe you shouldn't change, but the argument would be that this is simply not a keyboard.  By providing gaming interfaces for the ZBoard, it almost functions as a game pad when teamed with your mouse.  So, you're probably guessing all of this ease of use and innovation will cost you.  Surprisingly, this kit is competitive with standard keyboards.  The ZBoard base unit itself only weighs in at $10 on various search engines and each additional interface also comes in at $10.  Find us a keyboard and game pad that comes in at that price point and provides as much functionality as the Ideazon ZBoard does.  Not likely -- and by the way, our fragging skills have improved quite a bit!  Who knows, maybe there's a wireless ZBoard right around the corner.  We can only hope.  We really liked this product and are giving the Ideazon ZBoard a HotHardware heat meter rating of 8.5 out of 10.

  • Great Innovation
  • Many different application specific keysets
  • Highly affordable
  • Easy installation
  • On the fly, easy swapping of keysets
  • Shortcut buttons
  • Quiet
  • Mediocre learning curve on gaming keysets
  • Gaming keysets not great for general typing
  • Not wireless

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