Customer Reviews: IOGEAR GKM681R 2.4GHz Wireless Compact Keyboard with Optical Trackball and Scroll Wheel (Silver/Black)
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on February 1, 2013
I hooked up the RF receiver to a USB port in the back of my HTPC; no front USB ports available. Computer found it right away. Nice and clean w/ HID compliant setup - no additional drivers needed! However, from the start the keyboard and mouse response was intermittent at best even at close range. So I spun my HTPC around so I would have direct 'line of sight' between the keyboard and receiver. Still the response was spotty; barely responding from 6 feet away, sometimes not even working from 2 feet away. I was getting ready to send this thing back.

However, I know 2.4 GHz is very directional and fussy about nearby metallic obstacles (i.e. my metal computer chassis). So, I plugged a Male/Female Type-A USB extension cable into the computer and the RF receiver into the female end and parked the RF receiver end away from anything metal and instantly the response was perfect and my range expanded. I am now consistently getting 20-25' range with excellent response to keyboard and the mouse control.

I love the form factors built into this product: corner mouse buttons, small size, trackball movement, and side media keys (my favorite feature) to control music and video. It fits nicely in your hands like a slightly oversized X-box game controller. Only thing I don't like is having to press the [Fn] key prior to [Home] and [End]. Don't forget to adjust your BIOS to turn off the [Num Lock] upon boot up for entering password login - DAMHIKT!
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on September 18, 2011
I wish I was lying, but I'm typing this review with the keyboard itself. Ive tried every scenario to reduce or rule out any possible interference, including using different USB cord extensions in case even the cords were messed up. The unit itself works just fine, no problems, but I just cannot get any response past 1.5 feet? Maybe it's a manufacturing error, but the keyboard is pointless if it literally has no range. If the range problem was fixed, I would be happy with this keyboard.
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on April 28, 2011
The range of this keyboard is terrible. It is nowhere near the 33 feet as advertised. I'm a realist so I was not expecting 33 feet range to begin with, but I was not expecting 8.5 feet, which is the max range I got with a "CLEAR line of sight." With obstruction in the line of sight, forget it. This keyboard is designed for HTPC and that's what I bought it for. I don't know anyone who sit closer than 10 feet from a 55inch TV. NOT recommended.
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on January 18, 2012
I have had this product for less than 6 months and it has already failed. One of the many issues reported is range. It seems that vendors can not create a good HTPC keyboard. They always lack something or they just do not work. The trackball failed already and the range is less than 5 feet even with new batteries. I will not purchase a product that has the name of Iogear on it. Most vendors sell the same product and just repackage it differently. If you look around some just stamp their logos on it and sell it as their own. I am really disappointed with the quality and performance of this product. I will try one of the cheaper solutions since I have reasonable expectations of their performance.
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on August 11, 2011
Style good, and function -okay. Small and not super comfortable, with poor range. 10 feet or so at best. Woks beyond that but intermittantly.
Overall satisfied, considering how difficult it is to find a god wireless keyboard with built in mouse. This is my 4th attempt to find the perfect one. This one may last a little while before I smash it in frusteration.
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on February 12, 2012
I've been searching for an ideal HTPC keyboard/mouse/trackball combination in the past few weeks and found that it would be best that I have a keyboard/trackball as the best combination. I'll copy/paste this same review for the three Multimedia Keyboards from IOGEAR.


Released: September 14, 2004

This is the grandfather of the keyboards, surprisingly released over 7-years ago. When I first purchased it, it was based on the high reviews from Amazon and Newegg, and it established the benchmark for size and flexibility.

* Thin profile
* Trackball does work better over time
* Easy to type with
* Location of mouse buttons and scroll wheel is perfect

* A little larger than I'd like, but that's because the keys are spaced nicely
* Trackball ideally should be heavier, using a metal ball bearing (I'm going to measure the diameter of this plastic one and see if I can purchase a metal ball bearing)
* Volume up/down buttons are in the wrong order

Total Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


November 23, 2010

This was released 6-years after the grandfather, 2nd generation keyboard from IOGEAR.

* Easy to type with (similar keys to the 561R)
* Accuracy of the trackball (optical vs 561R laser) is the same

* Bulkier than the 561 (thickness and width)
* Trackball tends to skip for some reason, usually when scrolling down
* I don't like the location of the scroll wheel and 2nd mouse button compared to the 561R

Total Rating: 3.5 of 5.0


February 17, 2011

This one came out 3-months after the 2nd generation 581R. I believe this is still 2nd generation keyboard, simply different size/design for people who want less bulk

* Small size
* Light
* Metal trackball that is best to used compared to it's 561R and 581R brothers

* Location of scroll wheel and mouse buttons is not intuitive compared to the 561R
* The keys are very small and very difficult to type with. I found myself frustrated too many times when entering a simple URL address
* The location of the multimedia buttons (on the left and right sides) is poor. I found myself hitting these too often when I held the keyboard with my left/right lower thumb

Total Rating: 2.5 of 5.0


As you can see from the above ratings, the 7+ year old grandfather 561R keyboard is the best amongst it's younger brothers. I really wanted to like the 681R, due to it's size, but the location of the buttons/keys and difficulty in typing dropped it below it's larger 581R brother. Bottom line, IOGEAR makes decent multimedia keyboards, but they are having difficult time refining their classic 561R which I am going to keep and return the others. I would gladly pay $60 for a small version of the 561R that had good location of buttons/keys, along with quality of keys that allows easy typing.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on April 11, 2014
The dual mouse button placement is nice. There is a button on the top edge in the left and right corners, plus a pair of puttons on the front surface below the trackball.

It's just small enough to allow thumb typing if you're not in a hurry.

Battery life is good.

Shoddy quality. Mine lasted about 6 months before the trackball stopped working.

They keys vary in size from the tab key which is about 1/3 the width of my pinky finger making it difficult hit without also hitting the letter Q up to the letter keys which are smaller than a normal laptop's keys are.

Touch typing is impossible on this thing. Not because of the keys, but because the placement and spacing is idiotic. The right shift key is to the right and very close to the up arrow, the tab key is less than 1/3 the width of my pinky finger and extremely close to the Q, etc.. It's very easy to accidentally hit the wrong key or multiple keys and it requires some focus and slow fingers to type. Between the trackball and one set of mouse buttons is a battery indicator and a button that opens "My Computer" -- why would anyone put that between the trackball and buttons that go with the trackball?

BEWARE THE NUMLOCK. Seriously, who was the blithering idiot that thought this style of keyboard should have a numlock key that turns the right side letters U, I, O, J, K, L and M into numbers? Naturally to save battery life there is no light indicating that num lock is on. If you happen to have set a magazine on the keyboard or anything else that might have pressed the keys be prepared for the login screen to tell you your password is wrong because numlock is on.

On both the right and left edge are a series of buttons that control volume, launch your media player, etc. It's difficult to pick the keyboard up or move without inadvertently pressing these buttons.

Even when the trackball was working it required careful hand movement to avoid moving the mouse when clicking a button.
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on May 16, 2011
This is a good compact keyboard. The size of the keyboard is perfect and the key placements are very friendly to use, especially the left and right click buttons on the upper corners.
My biggest complaint is the trackball. It is sluggish. There are many occassions when I am moving the trackball and the mouse pointer on the monitor screen is stuck on the same location. Its so annoying!
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on October 15, 2011
I looked at a bunch of other options before buying this one. This one seemed like the best overall combination of features so I went for it. I have pretty big fingers but I can still just reasonably touch type with this. The keyboard part is just smaller than a netbook compact keyboard. Then there is a little mouse trackball to the right of that. You can also hold the whole thing in your two hands kind of like an Xbox controller because there are two additional buttons on the back sides (left and right mouse clicks). There are extra keys lining the sides for standard media functions like "Play", "Next", "Volume Up", etc. It is super light. I am getting good reception at 10 feet. There are no drivers to install so It works with both Mac and Windows.
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on April 20, 2012
The first one I purchased lasted 2 weeks then the scroll stopped working along wit a few mouse buttons. Amazon replaced it for me free with their stellar customer service. The 2nd one lasted 35ish days. The scroll again broke and a mouse button broke as well. The trackball works when it wants to. I had to deal with Iogear customer service. They wanted me to ship it to them to be fixed and pay the shipping!!! Umm, no thanks!! It still semi-works and I needed it until I get a new one. They wont send me a new one and let me keep using the half-broken one until I get a new one. This does not help me at all. IT would take weeks to fix and get back!!! And Im sure only break again. I accepted this and decided to cut my losses with this horrible product and even worse customer service.I am being 100% honest with my review. Please, learn from my mistake and do no buy any Iogear. Now, if they had good customer service like Amazon I may say "take the risk", but having to pay for shipping and be without a wireless keyboard for a few weeks does not constitute good customer service in my opinion.It is a shame the company treats consumers this way because if the keyboard worked or if they would simply replace their product when it malfunctions I would take another chance with it. Because I do like the keyboard very much in the little time I had before it started to fall apart. When there are soo many similar products on the market...customer service is everything and it can and usually does influence purchases. Iogear couldnt care less about its consumers. ( once again in my opinion). You have been warned.
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