Oree Board Essential wireless keyboard review: Elegance at your fingertips


Oree Board Essential wireless keyboard review: Elegance at your fingertips

Credit:
Abhimanyu Ghoshal

As someone who works at their desk 90 percent of the time, I’m a sucker for anything that improves the look of my workspace. If you’re tiring of black plastic and brushed metals, you might be interested in the latest toy that arrived at my doorstep a couple of weeks ago: Oree’s Board Essential wooden wireless keyboard.

For $150, you get a handcrafted Bluetooth keyboard made entirely from a single piece of wood, with custom configurations for Windows and Mac/iOS. And this isn’t Oree’s first rodeo, it’s been in the business of making quality equipment for a while now. But is worthy of your desk? I put the Essential through three weeks of use to find out.

Design

The compact Essential is practically identical to Oree’s Board from 2013, but has an arguably better finish that lets the wood grain shine through more prominently. Looking closely at the pictures from our previous review, it seems like the French company has also managed to improve on the engraving and cutting processes for the keys.


Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Whether you’re glancing at the Essential for the first time or examining it closely for the 100th time, you’ll be impressed by the impeccable craftsmanship on this baby. I love little details like how the keycap letters that feature an elegant serif font and are precisely engraved, and the subtly rounded corners that make this a delight to touch, even when you’re not typing.

The company says it responsibly sources maple and walnut from family-owned farms forests in Eastern France, so you can rest assured that you aren’t hurting the planet too much with your purchase. The tone of my maple review unit is beautifully rich, and it’s a joy to feel the grain beneath my fingertips.


Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Now for the bad news: the Essential doesn’t have any legs, so you can’t adjust the height or angle at which it rests on your desk. That’s a bummer for folks who might be used to a taller keyboard. I’m a mechanical keyboard guy myself, and this device’s shorter profile does take a while to get the hang of.

Performance

When it comes to typing comfort, the Essential is comparable to most membrane-equipped keyboards, with a bit more travel than a laptop keyboard. It’s pleasant enough with a fair bit of feedback – just don’t expect it to hold a candle to any mechanical keyboard you might have used before.

The device pairs with your desktop or phone over Bluetooth without any fuss, and shortcut keys like those for controlling volume and media playback work right out of the box.

Just look at how productive this guy is with his Essential Board
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal