The name of this keyboard intrigued me off the rip—lots of eco-friendly words. The CES 2023 award-nominated backing claimed this item to be a very innovative piece of technology. With a name like Targus Sustainable Energy Harvesting EcoSmart keyboard, this sounded like it could harness the power of the Sun in a way the Death Star in Star Wars used the power of kyber crystals. Or the way Ross finally mustered his way to working up the courage to full-send his relationship with Rachel in Friends.
Either way, I found this keyboard to be a stellar piece of work, being a full-sized 104-key keyboard. With its chiclet keycaps, it was not a foreign feeling because it was just as comfortable as the chiclet keycaps on my ASUS ROG G14 laptop and other laptops I enjoyed using. I ended up testing this keyboard with that laptop setup to see how it felt for different, dynamic situations.
I found that this technologically advanced keyboard definitely did not thrive in a mobile format too well because of its full-size build. Its chassis is made of 70 percent Global Consumer Recycle (GRS)-certified post-consumer recycled plastic and has infused antimicrobial protection.
Not only was this innovative hardware designed for its eco-friendly factors, but also its ability to prevent the growth of pesky microbes like bacteria and viruses. With the world experiencing the most recent COVID-19 pandemic, it made sense for health concerns to be at the forefront here, especially as this could be geared toward office spaces that could see many microbial activities at work. I do not think we want the cordyceps virus from The Last of Us to thrive either—very scary stuff!
I found myself taking it around with me in my business bag—not very great-looking carrying it, but the compostable box it came in made a nice makeshift carrying case. What surprised me with its hard-to-carry characteristics was how mobile-friendly it really was. With its ultra-low power Bluetooth BLE 5.0 wireless technology, I was able to use this keyboard while my laptop was hooked up to a bigger monitor or TV. The distance from my desk to the TV was a couple of meters away, and it was stated by Targus that it could support distances up to 10 meters away.
Another great wireless feature was its multi-device connectivity capability, able to connect with up to three devices. I was able to take full advantage of this feature by connecting the keyboard with my G14 laptop, Huawei P20 Pro phone and my custom PC—all were connected, and I was able to switch between them with the touch of three buttons.
While I have said much about its wireless technology and design, I wanted to highlight the battery technology of the Targus Sustainable Energy Harvesting EcoSmart keyboard. To its core, it is powered with newly-utilized solar cells known as amorphous silicon photovoltaic cells. These solar cells have been optimized to harvest light from indoor lighting. Since I am no scientist, I had to look up what these solar cells were capable of.
The best example of these thin film strips of cells can be best described as the same design as most calculators today. If you ever wonder why those things last long, it is because of amorphous silicon photovoltaic cells that they stay alive. So, the Targus Sustainable Energy Harvesting EcoSmart keyboard essentially has that (and looks like it, too) but boosted up even more since the battery is bigger on a keyboard, and a keyboard needs more energy than a standard calculator.
I have spoken about Bluetooth technology within this keyboard already, but I wanted to explain what made it more efficient than any other keyboards out there. The ultra-low-power Bluetooth chipset allows this keyboard to last over 75 hours when its backlight is either on its lowest setting or completely off. The three levels of backlight settings were great, too, for those late-night grinding moments. Everything is powered by its rechargeable 1500 mAh battery. In my countless hours of using this keyboard, it took me days to drain this thing!
“The Targus Sustainable Energy Harvesting EcoSmart keyboard seems to be the ideal wireless companion for any office.”
The average person who uses a keyboard for work was said to use it for about 3-6 hours a day. But, of course, most of us leave our keyboards on when we are idling about. The great part about idling with this keyboard is that if the keyboard is not connected to any device, it will enter sleep mode after 2 minutes. If the keyboard is connected to a device, it will enter sleep mode after 10 minutes.
One of the things to look out for with this keyboard I would recommend is to read the manual to understand it fully. While it did not offer anything unheard of, the multi-device connection capability changes how it connects to devices. I did not know I had to click the 1-channel key on the keyboard in order for the keyboard to connect to a device. At first, I thought it was a connectivity issue with this specific keyboard and almost had to contact Targus. I tested other wireless keyboards too.
Overall, the Targus Sustainable Energy Harvesting EcoSmart keyboard seems to be the ideal wireless companion for any office. It took many factors into consideration, from ecological impacts to purposeful design and performance. This was a technological leap in the right direction with little to no lacking qualities. I am only curious to see what other eco-friendly products come out from Targus on their website and what they will bring to CES next year.