Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 9, NO. 9 / SEPTEMBER 1983 / PAGE 59

The real thing. (keyboard evaluation) Owen W. Linzmayer.

Ask any Color Computer owner what one thing he would like to change about his system, and the response is most likely to be "that %@1#!@ keyboard." Take heart, all of you frustrated touch typists, relief is at hand with the Super-Pro replacement keyboard from Mark Data Products. The "chiclet" keyboard is now a thing of the past.

Carefully packaged in a sturdy cardboard box, the Super-Pro keyboard comes complete with a plastic dress panel and a single sheet of instructions. While one page of documentation may not seem like enough, remember that the entire replacement operation is painless and takes less than five minutes to complete.

After taking the new keyboard out of the box and removing the seven screws that secure the computer lid, you are ready to begin. The detailed instructions are numbered for easy step-by-step reference. Although there are no illustrations, each direction is spelled out quite thoroughly.

To install the Super-Pro keyboard, you must follow only a few simple procedures: remove the existing keyboard by detaching a small cable, clip off the top portion of an unused support post, place the new keyboard into position, secure the dress panel on the computer lid, and screw everything back together. That's it! No soldering, no traces to cut, and no rewiring. In fact, you do nothing to alter your computer in any way. You may remove the Super-Pro and replace it with the original keyboard at any time.

The advantages of a full-stroke keyboard become apparent even before you begin to type on it. Most noticeably, your Color Computer instantly takes on the appearance of a professional computer. The sleek new look is comparable to that of an Apple.

Unlike some of the other replacement keyboard kits available for the Color Computer, the Mark Data kit comes with a plastic dress panel designed and colored to complement the system. My only complaint with the panel is that unless you use high quality tape to secure it on the inside of the computer, it can be a little bit flimsy when pushed on. To remedy this, you can take more effective measures such as gluing the dress panel in place. Unfortunately, this makes the replacement permanent.

In addition to looking better with the well-fitted keyboard installed, the Color Computer also performs very well. The key contacts are solid, and each touch of a key is smooth--the response is very good. There is no annoying keybounce as there was on the early TRS-80 Model I computers. The Super-Pro keyboard makes typing on the Color Computer a breeze. Gone are the days when your fingers were constantly slipping off of the toy-like keys of the original keyboard.

Take note: Color Comuters manufactured by Tandy after October of 1982 are of a newer style and require a special $4.95 plug adapter (also available from Mark Data).

The new boards are commonly referred to as F versions, but the letters that are actually printed on the board itself are ET. Check for this before ordering.

This American-made product costs $69.95 and comes with a 90-day warranty. If you are serious about your Color computer, you cannot afford to be without a "real" keyboard of this quality.

Products: Super-Pro Replacement Keyboard (computer apparatus)