Model: Apple Powerbook G4 1.67 Ghz Aluminum
Mechanism: Pantograph Scissor Switch
Cost: N/A (Built-in)
This is the built in keyboard for the Aluminum Powerbook G4. Powerbook’s are rumored to have pretty good keyboards, and this keyboard is certainly no exception.
The keyboard uses standard laptop-style scissor switches. The weight of the keys is pleasantly light. It’s noticeably lighter than iceKey. Aside from the cramped layout, it’s a keyboard that you can type on for long hours without getting annoyed. It looks great, as it matches the PB’s overall good looks. The key tops have a pleasant slight concavity to them, which makes it easy to feel around for a key without taking your eyes off the screen.
It’s not like you have a choice of a keyboard when you buy a laptop, but the Powerbook’s is about as good as they get. It’s definitely in the same league as the IBM thinkpad keyboard, and some of the better Sony VAIO keyboard’s I’ve seen.
The layout of the keys is standard as far as recent PowerBooks go. Some things that look unusual to PC user’s is the ‘enter’ key on the right side as opposed to a second ‘option/alt’ key or ‘control’ key. There is a inverted-T arrow block, but each of the keys are half height, so the whole block fits in the space of three normal keys. PgUp/PgDown/Home/End are overlayed with the arrow keys and accessed using the fn key.
The only minor gripe I’ve had with this keyboard is the fact that there is no function key on the right side. One of the old Vaio 505 series that I owned had the same PgUp/Down/Home/End configuration, but had a fn key right next to the arrow block, which means you could hit those keys with just your right hand. To get to these keys on a PB, you have to use both hands, since the fn key is in the bottom left corner.