Cherry JK-0300 Strait

The JK-0300 Strait is a stylish corded keyboard by veteran manufacturer Cherry, with a visual design you'll be amazed didn't come from a different firm named for a fruit.

NameKeyboard: Cherry JK-0300 Strait
At a glance:Stylish, Apple-like design,Extremely thin (14.5mm),Quiet keystrokes,No height or angle adjustment
Summary:Gorgeous and a space saver, but sorely lacking height adjustability.
Rating:3.5/5
RRP:$62
Contact:www.cherry.dk/english

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Flat, with island-keys and a visual design you’ll be amazed didn’t come from Apple, the JK-0300 Strait is a stylish corded keyboard by veteran manufacturer Cherry.

Cherry, you ask? Well yes. They’ve been making keyboards since 1967.

Speak to many IT old-hats, and they’ll reminisce about Cherry’s longevity and reliability, as well as waxig lyrical about mechanical keyboards (as opposed to today’s membrane-models) that lasted longer than the average car. Speak to their modern counterparts, and you’re more likely to receive blank looks.

I’d heard of Cherry and was keen to take a look at their modern range. The Strait caught my eye as the prettiest of the bunch; a basic keyboard for the office or home.

The first thing you’re likely to notice is how very thin the Strait is. At just 14.5mm it hugs the desk tightly and its rubberised feet ensure that it doesn’t slip around. Infuriatingly, there’s no way to adjust the height or angle of the keyboard – no little feet on the back edge you can snap up or down. As a result, the keyboard has only a very slight incline toward the user. It adds to the whole desk-hugging aesthetic, but I found it rather uncomfortable after long hours of use. For more casual use – an hour or two at a time throughout the workday – it was fine.

I’ve been using it daily in the PC World offices since December, as my primary keyboard. Except on those rare days when my work is all writing, all day, I haven’t had the urge to swap it back for the stock Dell keyboard I use between review models. On those days, when the tendons in the back of my hand start registering complaints, I do think about it. The Strait is just so slim, so compact and easy to push out of the way when I need desk space, that I’ve kept it this long and I’ll probably continue to use it until Cherry asks for it back, or something new comes along.

I do particularly like the quiet keystrokes – right now I can hear colleagues bashing out text on loud, clunky keys. The Cherry is certainly still audible, but makes a much less annoying sound.

One issue raised by the rest of the PC World team is the Strait’s lack of text labels on the Tab, Caps Lock, Shift, Enter and Backspace keys – these all bear arrow-symbols which if you’re unfamiliar with the traditional PC keyboard layout, you mightn’t be able to recognise. I didn’t even notice this issue – fluent touch typists, you won’t have any problems.

Altogether, the Strait is a pretty keyboard but not the most ergonomic. Great if you need a slim keyboard for occasional use with a server or media centre, or an attractive keyboard for an information kiosk or front desk.

If typing is the greater part of your workday, you might want to give this one a miss.

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Harley Ogier

Harley Ogier

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