There is no denying that Apple has had a major influence on design these past couple of years. Samsung, Sony and other CE manufacturers have all tried to emulate Apple in some flattering form or another. But what if you don’t own (or want) an Apple computer and would prefer to have a Windows-based system that is clean and minimalistic all the same? Well you will need to piece one together yourself, and that’s where another fruit company comes into play. Cherry, a little known company on the CE front has been around for more than 40 years, and their JK-0300 Strait keyboard is just what you need to get your system looking as sleek and stylish as anything Apple might produce.
The JK-0300 Strait caught our eye in a magazine and we instantly had to get our hands on one. Once the JK-0300 showed up on our doorstep, we quickly tore it from its packaging to get a closer look, but were disappointed to discover that the aluminum Apple uses that we expected, had been replaced with solid plastic painted silver instead. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but it does the job nonetheless. The white cord is nice and long, and our system had no issues recognizing the keyboard. It would have been nice if the JK-0300 had a USB port or two built-in like the Apple keyboards, but perhaps we are asking for too much.
Now keep in mind, that as of this writing, the JK-0300 is more readily available in the UK. We browsed the web and found a few stores here in the U.S. that sold it, but they looked rather fishy. The picture these merchants are using for the JK-0300 wasn’t the same as the actual unit we have in front of us, so make sure to email the store you plan on purchasing it from and ask them to confirm that you are getting the right keyboard.
Regardless, there is a reason to mention the UK origin of the keyboard, because there are a couple things about the JK-0300 that make it differ from keyboards meant for the U.S. First of all, the Shift 5 key has icons for both % and the European dollar sign €, and instead of saying Caps Lock, the key uses a downward arrow for the icon. Otherwise, the rest of the keys are identical to their American counterparts and function as you would expect. The Upper right hand corner also houses your media keys, Play/Pause, and volume controls.
If you are accustomed to typing on an Apple keyboard, the JK-0300 feels nearly identical. The Chiclet style keys are shallow and take a while to get used to, but eventually you should be able to get used to them and type away without any issues. The keyboard lies at a about a 10 degree angle, and there are no adjustable feet to allow you to angle it further – the cost of buying a minimalist design. Key strokes are also nice and quiet, great for people working in a confined space with other coworkers – or sleeping babies.
With a price of about $50 U.S., the Cherry JK-0300 is not a cheap keyboard by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s the same price as the full-size Apple aluminum keyboard which gives you real metal and two USB ports. The problem is that the Cherry JK-0300 is as close as you can get to the Apple design on a Windows based system. Beggars can’t be choosers right? For now, we’ll take it.
- Solid feel construction
- 5-year warranty
- Silent typing
- Minimalist design
- Integrated Media controls
- Plastic, not aluminum
- Lacking USB ports
- Unusual labeling for Caps lock key