A week with: The Orée wooden keyboard

As thick as a plank (not in a bad way...)

Specs

£130, oreedesign.com
Windows and Mac compatible
Bluetooth 3.0 chipset
AAA battery-powered
Maple or walnut construction

What is it?

This review is being written on a wooden keyboard. Earth-loving techies have already had a bamboo smartphone from ADzero and there's a London-based outfit making bamboo bikes (as featured in on these pages earlier this year goo.gl/ahnygb), but this particular piece of wooden kit is hewn from a single piece of QWERTY-friendly walnut or maple.

It's made by a French firm called Orée, which has ditched black plastic keys and even the shiny white and chrome loved by Apple users. Instead it sources its materials from a forest near the Jura mountains in the Alps.

Why wood?

The idea behind Orée is to move away from impersonal materials and towards eco-friendly ones, so the wood is harvested sustainably, each board is assembled by hand and the keys are laser-etched. The result is that it feels warmer and more pleasant to touch than an Apple or standard PC product, which, frankly – at £130 – it bloody well should (Orée is based in France, but ships to the UK).

Obviously the wood grain and colour pattern differs from keyboard to keyboard. That's part of the charm, though, and you can even choose from a selection of pretty illustrations from a Spanish artist, including a neat set of birds and plants to run above the function keys at the top of the board.

What does it do?

Everything a normal keyboard does except with the soundtrack of the forest, well, nice wooden tapping sounds. It's offered with either Windows or Mac/iOS key layouts and runs on a Bluetooth 3.0 chipset which means it should run for several months (I'm several weeks in) on two AAA batteries.

Is it any good?

Pairing it to your machine is easy – my test model did occasionally lose connection and require attention – but the best bit is the sensation of typing – it's lovely. The key action is positively finger-tapping and soft to touch, which is a refreshing change from my black HP board at work. Orée says the board is primarily aimed at tablet users – who are currently poorly served by naff tablet-specific boards – and it's fairly easy to get up to a good typing speed. One concern would be how well the wood would age. It is given a fine varnish, but only time will tell how well it keeps keyboard dirt at bay.

That said, it can't be worse or more unhygienic than most plastic boards.

Is it worth the money?

In French, Orée means "at the edge of the forest" or "at the brink of something new". That's rather fancy for a keyboard, but then again not every board can claim that it was designed by award-winning designer Franck Fontana and produced with the help of Christophe Della Signora, of Compagnon du Tour de France, the most prestigious cabinet-making group in the country. It's certainly a pretty and pleasing thing, but whether it's worth the high-end price tag depends on the value you put on design in everyday objects.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager / Account Manager

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...

    Recruitment Genius: Systems Application Analyst - Data, SQL

    £22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online Marketing Executive i...

    Recruitment Genius: B2B Internal Sales Executive - OTE £32,000

    £16000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a hands-on role which i...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence