Blackweb, Walmart’s inexpensive house brand (think Best Buy and Insignia or Rocketfish), is the retail giant’s attempt to stealthily infiltrate their own store, letting the orange and black boxes compete against brighter brands like Logitech and the rest with cheaply made products that can be had for cheap. As we’ve come to expect from such synergistic marriages Walmart has loaded up their Blackweb Wireless Touch Keyboard with so many features and functionality for such a low asking price they almost outweigh the poor experience and build quality. Almost.
Even the packaging is super-cheap – the two AA batteries (included) and USB dongle weren’t even secure and fell right out of the box. No biggie: simply snap the dongle into an free USB slot on your Windows/OSX/Linux/Chrome OS machine and you’re ready to start typing and pointing your way from a reasonable distance. What could possibly be simpler?
This is a cheaply built set of keys, and unapologetically so. The plastic-on-plastic clicks are loud, the body molding catches every smudge and scratch, and you can hear the batteries rattling in their cage. I’m not going to say much about the typing experience except there is one: accuracy and comfort were secondary in its design. I’ve used worse keys (much, much worse) but having to rely on such plastic clicks like these would never, EVER be my first or second choice.
On back is the requisite On/Off switch and Connect button, and apart from the battery bumper – which doubles as the keyboard’s stand – that’s it. In fact, the key layout and travel distance look and feel almost exactly like Best Buy’s Insignia USB Keyboard, minus the cord. Surprisingly, a numberpad is available, though each digit has been reduced to half their original size, with a “00” key added for good measure.
Of course, the biggest attraction here – besides the price – is the built-in trackpad, albeit a super tiny one, which allows for quick cursor movement and light single and double-tapping sans mouse. Two-finger scrolling works, single taps are left-click and three-finger taps bring up the context-menu; none of the fancy Windows/OSX gestures work, however, as this is strictly a drag and tap affair.
Actually using the touchpad is spotty, literally. My right hand kept brushing the trackpad, which can’t be turned off, sending the cursor all over the place. Speaking of cursors, the drag-speed is slow as molasses, and the compromise between having both numberpad and touchpad doesn’t seem worth it. I can’t imagine anyone using this setup for serious number-crunching at a desk, much less from the comforts of a couch across the room. It would’ve been better they excised the itty-bitty numberpad altogether and given the touchpad more room to play.
A top row of equally microsized function keys splayed across the top with standard media keys at the ready (back/forward/play/pause, volume up/down/mute, etc), though this means pushing more useful keys like Scroll, Insert, Print Screen, and Delete to half-size status. The same goes for Enter and the poor arrow keys, shrunken and relocated to the most finger-unfriendly location imaginable: under the left-Shift key. Say goodbye to muscle memory!
In the not-too-distance past you’d have to scour the darker corners of the web and take your chances on a cheap Chinese option to get all these features found in the Blackweb Wireless Touch Keyboard at such a low price; Walmart’s just done the heavy lifting and made things a lot more simple. It’s not a solid replacement keyboard where comfort and accuracy are paramount, but for those wanting a solid wireless keyboard with basic touchpad functionality that works well from comfy couches across the room? You could do worse.