The Goldtouch Go!2 Mobile Keyboard has a design that is quite unique in today’s saturated ‘techy’ world. The design that it is based upon is a compact keyboard, except it is souped up (more on this later). But first, let’s start at square one and briefly discuss the value of using a compact type of keyboard.
Why choose a compact keyboard in the first place?
To put into a nutshell the footprint of a regular keyboard pushes the mousing arm into a really awkward position (shown by the yellow area). For some people this can result in shoulder discomfort overtime.
The simplest way to illustrate the value of using a compact keyboard is with the picture below. You can see that the compact keyboard reduces some of its footprint by removing the number pad. Depending on your job function, you may never even realize that its not even there anymore! With the compact keyboard the user’s mousing arm is in a more optimal position (you can see with the green area), and thereby there is a much lesser chance of developing shoulder discomfort.
Neutral Wrist Posture. The Goldtouch Go!2 Mobile Keyboard has all the benefits of using a compact keyboard but the really unusual/neat design feature is its ability to literally split in half. It is literally split in half; if you were to draw a line between the H and G keys that is where the keyboard is split. This distinct design features affords improved ergonomics and usability via:
- The Keyboard can be Angled Upwards. Take a look a the picture below. This keyboard can be angled upwards maximally to a 45 degree typing position and in any position in-between. It does this by the locking mechanism on the top of the keyboard and you can see it on the upper left portion of the keyboard below. The user simply pulls the arm outwards, positions the keyboard to where it is comfortable, then locks the arm into place. A very minimal amount of force is required to do this. This design is important because it allows for a:
- Handshake design: By placing the keyboard in a more vertical angled position, it improves the ergonomics of its design. Now it can be used in a ‘handshake’/more neutral position. With a conventional keyboard, the user is required to use pronated (palm down) postures. Pronation is considered to be an awkward posture. The benefits of this design is that it can be positioned (based on user discretion) in more of a vertical or ‘handshake’/neutral position.
- Soft tissue compression: Angling the keyboard upwards eliminates all soft tissue compression between the user’s wrists and work surface that is present in a conventional keyboard. Soft tissue compression or contact stress is an ergonomic risk factor that can impede circulation to the hand. Lower blood flow increases the susceptibility to ergonomic risk.
- The Keyboard can be Openly Pivoted. Another really neat design feature is that the keyboard can be pivoted outwards. This function works very similarly to the function above and uses the same lock bar function and flexible positioning. With a conventional keyboard, the hand is forced into an awkward posture (called ulnar deviation) to use it. But, with the Goldtouch Go!2 Mobile Keyboard, the outward pivoting can position the keyboard so that it is can be angled exactly aligned with the forearms. This will reduce ulnar deviation, or outside flexed wrist postures, which is an ergonomic risk factor.
- Obese Workers: This keyboard is an ideal prevention tool for the obese office worker. The larger torso size increases the outward positioning of the arm away from the body. Interested in more information on this topic? We did a blogpost on this, the value of the openly pivoted for obese workers.
Intuitiveness. Compared to a convention keyboard, the Goldtouch Go!2 design is very familiar, which I was pleasantly surprised about. This means that little or no error is experienced when first switching to this keyboard. When the keyboard is angled upwards, it does take a bit of time, it took me 3 days, to fully get used to the new set-up and I didn’t find this to be surprising. When the keyboard is openly pivoted there really shouldn’t be much (if any) of an adjustment period.
Travel Friendly. Another really neat feature of the Goldtouch Go!2 keyboard is that it can be folded in half (!) by activating a button on the back of the keyboard. I did try this and it is easily done and quite compact.
Competing Demands. Although this keyboard offers many ergonomic benefits, it is quite bulky. It can be difficult to find a neutral hand working height for both the mouse and keyboard height if this product is used with a conventional mouse. In an ideal situation, the hand working height should be slightly below a neutral elbow height. Since the keyboard can be as much as 10 cm higher than a conventional mouse, it can be difficult to find a reasonable compromise between the two, especially if the user is experiencing chronic discomfort in their shoulders. One solution is to switch to an entirely ‘vertical’ set-up and use this keyboard with a vertical mouse such as the Evoluent Vertical Mouse or Penguin Mouse. We’ve done product reviews on both of these, you can check out the Evoluent Mouse here and the Penguin Mouse here.
Connectivity. The Bluetooth of this keyboard leaves a lot to be desired. This is a known concern to Goldtouch, so they do have some solutions. However I think that you would be able to agree with me that lost connectivity can reduce productivity and increase frustrations.
Force to Type. Although I would certainly say that this keyboard does not require the highest amount of force to operate, it is not the best keyboard that I have ever typed on. The keys are not as responsive as I would like them be to my light touch. This may be contributing to some hand soreness that I experience after using this keyboard for significant periods of time.
The Goldtouch Go!2 Mobile Keyboard’s two plane adjustments (both vertical and horizontal) allows this keyboard to be useful for certain musculoskeletal injuries as well as obese users (view this post here). In my experience doing ergonomic assessments I have found a lot of success in recommending this keyboard for overuse injuries, such as tennis elbow. The outward and upward angle does position this keyboard very uniquely in the market, but it must be weight against the connectivity and force to type issues. Overall it depends on where your ergonomic concerns are and how often you use a computer during your day. To reduce some frustrations with this keyboard’s use, I would recommend getting the wired version.
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