10 Comments

Summary:

TAB reviews the iSkin ProTouchPB keyboard protector for Apple laptops. The verdict: great product, a bit on the expensive side.

iSkin, formerly ackNOWLEDGE, has proven the old adage that there’s almost nothing you can’t do with silicone.

Wait, that’s not an old adage?

Uhm.

Well, it should be, because iSkin has more silicone products than a Vegas strippers’ convention, and unlike those silicone bits, iSkin’s various products are actually useful. (By “useful,” I mean “useful for something besides free publicity and $16,766 on eBay.”)

The ProTouchPB is a silicone-rubber keyboard cover that’s custom-moulded to fit recent PowerBooks and iBooks. Available in four colours (clear, pink, green, and blue), it simply sits on the keyboard and keeps everyday gunk out of the keys. At $20, it’s a little pricey, but that’s really the only major problem with it.

The silicone is very translucent, making it easy to read the keys even with a coloured ProTouch, and it doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of the keyboard backlighting in PowerBooks, either. Due to the variations across different keyboards, the F-key row isn’t custom-moulded, and the return key shares a “cover” with the backslash. The silicone is so flexible that this doesn’t make any functional difference, but it does look a mite odd. The home row F and J keys have the little “you are here” nubs, just as on a standard keyboard, which is a nice touch.

Typing on the ProTouchPB is fairly similar to typing on a bare keyboard, although the silicone is tacky enough that fingertips stick to the keys just a little bit. Some extremely fast typists may find this distracting for the first week or two of use, but should will find they get used to it quickly, and anyone who’s simply an average typist probably won’t even notice. The ProTouch is fairly forgiving of minor finger misplacement, although it does have a tendency to depress adjacent keys if you hit the very edge of the intended key.

The only other minor niggle with the ProTouch is the logo on the right side of the space bar. My right thumb still isn’t use to feeling it there even after two weeks of using the ProTouch every day. This logo should have been put in the “gutter” below the arrow keys, at the bottom-right corner of the silicone.

In entirely unscientific testing, the ProTouch accumulated quite a bit of dust and other assorted gunk in two weeks of heavy use. What can I say? It does its job very well, as the innards of the keyboard look quite clean. Washing the ProTouch when it gets dirty is easy — just toss it in some warm water with a gentle detergent, rub it around a bit, and rinse and dry thoroughly. A quick washing will also restore the tackiness that keeps the ProTouch in place on your keyboard.

Got an Apple laptop that sits open on a desk for any length of time? You need one of these. It’s that simple. It works very well in spite of some minor issues. Although it’s a little expensive, consider it insurance for your precious laptop.

By Chris Lawson

You're subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

Related stories

  1. Nollind Whachell Wednesday, March 30, 2005

    What about heat buildup on the laptops? Does it seem any worse with the protector on?

    Share
  2. No, and iSkin addresses this in their FAQ. TiBooks might see marginally more fan activity as a result of an iSkin, but it’s really not a factor.

    cl

    Share
  3. I bought a ProTouch thinking it will protect my screen from the dirty keyboard. But it turns out that the silicone actually transfered more dirt and grease onto the screen than the unprotected keyboard ever did.

    Share
  4. Hi Senator K, in response to your statement, here is a quote from the iSkin website:

    “When washed regularly or removed before closing, the iSkin keyboard protector eliminates screen staining by reducing the occurrence of finger oils and dirt particles being transferred to the iBook/ PowerBook screen.”

    Looks like they even suggest you remove the ProTouch when you close it.

    Share
  5. Would the iSkin or Powerook version offer any protection against liquid spills, even transient which would allow time to react and quickly wipe?
    THANKS!

    Share
  6. George,

    Yes, definitely. It won’t protect against really big spills that could go under the edges, but it will keep a fairly substantial amount of liquid from going straight into the keyboard. Obviously, I don’t recommend anyone test this, but it’s pretty cheap insurance if you have drinks around the computer regularly.

    cl

    Share
  7. Jean Blasingame Thursday, March 22, 2007

    Is this product truly rubber? I heard (a friend heard on maybe 2020 show) about rubber covers that could help us who have sensitivity to the computer; such has burning in hands and head when touching the keys or feeling currents. I currently have peices of rubber I use to type…it very hard and my work requires computer and I must find somthing to help…I know many who pray for such relief. You can look on World Health Organization.com to learn of this condition..ES is what it is called. I would love to try this proiduct!

    Share
  8. This product is awesome to keep dog hair out of your keyboard! It also prevents your wearing the letters/numbers off the keyboard.

    Both of these were problems with my previous iBook G3. With the current G4, I have been using an iSkin Protouch since I got the computer 2 years ago, and the keyboard is in excellent shape! There are smudges on the keys, yes, but they wipe off easily… UNLIKE the dog hair which was impossible to get out from under the keys, and eventually made the keys stop working.

    I also find that I type every bit as fast as normal; but if typing speed were my real concern I’d go DVORAK.

    Share
  9. As a specialized manufacturer and exporter for laptop (IT digital products) beautification and protection products in China, our products contain Laptop Skin (colourful), Laptop Skin (Transparent), LCD Screen Protector (UC & UD & UF), Keyboard Protector/Skin, Laptop Crystal Case, and Laptop Bag/Sleeve Bag.
    We would like to take this opportunity to introduce our company and some newfangled products, with the hope of establishing business relations with you in the future.

    http://www.3topskin.com

    Share
  10. Frances Hamilton Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Looking for a rubber keyboard protector for an Apple MacBook Pro (15″)
    Model A1211. Please advise.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post