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