Phantom of the Opera
Keyboard spins 180 degrees to accommodate lefties; a real mouse and keyboard on your lap.
Angled typing sucks; subpar mouse doesnt stay put; high price tag.
There’s a lot of history behind the Phantom lapboard (and its ill-begotten console progenitor) but we don’t need to go into that. What you do need to know is that the Phantom lapboard is essentially a wireless keyboard on a hinge. You can (and must) lock it into an angled position to use the mouse on the surface below and to the side of the keyboard. Now, this raises a question: Do you like typing on a keyboard that’s locked at a significant angle to the natural plane of your hands? Of course you don’t.
The hinge only locks to one position. Hope you like that angle!
Also, about that mousing surface. It’s really slippery, and so is the mouse. And it doesn’t have any sort of lip on it. So if you’re thinking about relaxing on the couch and using the Phantom in any sort of natural position, forget about it. The second you take your hand off the mouse to type something, that sucker’s clattering to the floor.
The keys don’t have a lot of click to them, but the keyboard is otherwise all right. Phantom Entertainment is advertising that the board has 13 hotkeys, but this is sort of misleading, as they’re actually referring to the media-player commands bound to the 12 function keys, none of which are programmable.
The mouse that comes with the Phantom Lapboard is a shiny black, pebble-shaped affair with an incredibly floaty scroll wheel with a clicking mechanism that makes it difficult to perform a single middle-click. Also, the mouse features no additional buttons, which makes it a hard sell as a gaming mouse.
The bottom line is that this thing is bad. The mouse isn’t good for gaming, the angled keyboard is awful for typing, and for media playback you’d do much better with a slimmer wireless media keyboard with a built-in trackpad or ball, which are available for significantly less than the Lapboard’s $140 asking price.
Edit: This review erroneously described the Phantom Lapboard as costing $140. The actual price is $129.99