Goldtouch Go!2 Ergonomic Mobile Keyboard Review
Goldtouch's new keyboard, the Go!2, brings tried-and-true ergonomic benefits to the mobile keyboard market. Its design, modeled after Goldtouch's V2 ergonomic keyboard, lets users adjust their typing angles to find more ergonomic wrist positions. Moreover, the Go!2 has the unique ability to fold into a compact, travel-size package for easy storage. It doesn't quite have the chops to stand toe-to-toe with other ergonomic giants, but it's an important first step in giving frequent travelers better ergonomics on the road.
13.5" x 6" x .9"
7" x 6" x 2.5"
Adjustable split-keyboard design allows for ergonomically customizable typing angles. Folds into a compact, portable form for easy travel. Versatile enough to use on just about any computer, without installing supplementary software.
Keys are smaller and provide less tactile feedback than on full-sized keyboards. Keyboard segments don't fully separate, restricting the keyboard's customizability. Lack of a palm rest makes it more strenuous to use than other ergonomic keyboards.
Business travel is rough. In addition to spending hours in a cramped seat as you hurtle through the air from one city to the next, you need to somehow work without your normal workplace tools at your disposal; usually in whatever chair your hotel or nearby cafés provide. While nowadays it’s a cinch to customize your own ergonomic workstation at home or at the office, there aren’t all that many viable options for on-the-go ergonomics. This is what makes Goldtouch’s new mobile ergonomic keyboard, the Go!2, such an important accessory for frequent flyers. It’s the first mobile keyboard we’ve tested that’s specifically designed to prevent the wrist strain and injuries caused by excessive pronation. However, Goldtouch’s new entry is still far from perfect, as some sacrifices were clearly made in the name of portability.
While we were expecting a smaller keyboard, we were nonetheless impressed with just how compact the Go!2 turned out to be. Many mobile keyboards are content with just shrinking down everything, including the keys, to fit in your briefcase. But there’s only so much space you can save this way before the keys become too small to type on. The result is a keyboard that’s portable in name only: They’re difficult to use quickly and accurately, and are often still too long to travel with. More recently, a new category of mobile keyboards do away with the plastic chassis of traditional keyboards in favor of a flexible gel construction that can be rolled up when not in use. While such keyboards make for easy storage, they have frustratingly little tactile feedback, resulting in slower, more exhausting typing. Moreover, neither keyboard style provides any of the ergonomic benefits that we’ve come to expect. What we need is a new keyboard designed from the ground up to provide a robust typing experience, while still being compact enough to easily travel with.
Goldtouch’s keyboard offers a unique take on keyboard portability. Modeled after Goldtouch’s signature V2 adjustable keyboard, the Go!2 has a split-panel design that connects two angle-adjustable keyboard halves at the inside top corners with a ball joint. These halves fold together (one on top of the other) in an easy-to-carry form measuring just 7 inches wide and 2.5″ thick. This makes the Go!2 a natural fit for laptop bags and briefcase of nearly all sizes. Despite its reduced footprint, Go!2 is nevertheless a more robust keyboard than the gel membrane models.
Easy Adjustment, Easy Storage
Adjusting the Go!2 is a simple process. A handle lever at the top of the keyboard keeps the two halves locked in place. Releasing the lever allows you to swivel the keyboard segments along the connecting ball joint in a full 360-degree range, and lock it in place. It can be a little tricky at first to position the two halves at just the right angles, but its well worth the ergonomic advantage. Each segment is adjustable up to 30 degrees, either horizontally or vertically. This adjustability range helps users achieve a more natural typing angle—one that does not force you to bend or twist your wrists excessively—than traditional keyboards. The ability to set the angles of your keyboard panels goes a long way to protecting your wrists from the strain of prolonged typing.
Packing up the keyboard is just as simple. Press the lock button on the underside of the keyboard to separate the segments to reveal a second joint. Release the hand lever to unlock the ball joint, and then you can fold the two halves in. We tested a wired variant of the Go!2, which had the less elegant step of wrapping the cord around the keyboard, but Goldtouch makes a Bluetooth-enabled wireless version as well.
A Flexible Keyboard in More Ways than One
Aside from the compact foldability, the Go!2 boasts other mobility features specifically designed to make it versatile enough to use anywhere. First, it’s compatible with both Windows and Mac PCs: A switch toggles between the two, and the keyboard accommodates both the ‘Windows Start’ button and the Mac’s ‘Command’ key. Unlike most custom keyboards, the Go!2 does not require installation of any driver programs. This makes the Go!2 compatible with public computers like in libraries, airports, or internet cafes—computers that normally block software installation of any .
Small Keyboard, Small Keys
The Go!2 features all of the standard keys we’ve come to expect in a modern keyboard. It has a suite of playback keys on the upper left, such as play, pause, and fast forward buttons, as well as a row of Windows hot keys, so you can open your email directly from the keyboard. A separate numeric keypad is available for around $60.
The keys are designed in the slim, chiclet style that most modern laptops adhere to. Compared to traditional membrane keys, chiclet keys have less space between the top layer of the key and the keypad “floor.” They also often lack a conductive top membrane layer, relying instead on a conductive coating directly on the underside of the keys. Because typing on chiclet keys requires direct impact of the top of the key with the floor of the keypad, chiclet keys provide more satisfying tactile feedback than the “squishier” rubber dome membrane keys—which have layers of membranes dampening your keystrokes and requiring more pressure to type—while remaining quiet during use.
The downside of chiclet keys is they don’t offer the tactile feedback and comfort of more robust mechanical key switches, like the ones on the Matias Ergo Pro. Unlike mechanical key switches, which have mechanisms within each key that give off a gentle bump when the key is pressed sufficiently, chiclet-style keys require you to press each key all the way, resulting in slower, more fatiguing typing than on a mechanical keyboard.
While the Go!2 does its best to maximize the real estate for its keys, it’s clear some concessions were made to maintain its compact design. The primary alphanumeric keys are all sufficiently sized, which we can’t say is the case for the laughably diminutive Apple keyboards. That said, we did experience some difficulty with the size of the secondary keys, and with the spacing between all the keys. The Control buttons and spacebars are rather small. Additionally, all the keys are clumped together, forming a cramped typing space rife with potential typos. Exacerbating this problem, the flat, chiclet keys lack the contouring found on full, sculpted keycaps—a feature that helps keep your finger tips on the right keys.
We mentioned before that the Go!2 keyboard is modeled after the V2—Goldtouch’s full-sized, signature ergonomic keyboard. This means that the Go!2 also shares the V2’s ergonomic flaws. It’s true that the split keyboard and tenting ability makes it far more ergonomically adjustable than common fare. However, compared to other ergonomic keyboards, the Go!2’s inability to separate completely forces users to keep their hands close together as they type, resulting in a less-natural posture than the completely split panel designs of either the Matias Ergo Pro or Kinesis Freestyle2 keyboards, which allow for a greater degree of ergonomic customization. Not only that, but the Go!2 lacks any sort of palm rest, a feature which comes standard on the Matias. Palm rests reduce strain on your arms, becoming more and more crucial to prevent typing fatigue the longer you type. We understand that sacrificing palm rests was a decision most certainly made for the sake of portability. Still, not having palm rests is a mark against the Go!2 in the ergonomics arena that we would be remiss for not mentioning.
Despite its shortcomings, the Go!2 is still the most ergonomic product we’ve tested in the mobile keyboard arena. It offers a substantially more comfortable typing angle than is available on the smaller mobile keyboards of yesteryear, yet it remains easy to stow and to travel with. We still would not recommend it for daily use at your main workstation, but as a tool to make business travel more ergonomic it does the job just fine. Now the frequent flyers have a real ergonomic product to add to their offices-on-the-go.