Orée Board Essential review: A keyboard at one with nature

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech
Orée Board Essential

Every key, every button, and even the battery cover are constructed from wood.

TA-ratings-93The Orée Board Essential is a bit different than the average keyboard. Most keyboards are just hunks of plastic that sit cold and lifeless on our desks. They don’t inspire, and they usually are not things of beauty. Orée is hoping to change the way we see the keyboard by adding the warmth of wood to their offering. Will using wood make a difference, and how will it perform? Read on for my full review of the Orée Board Essential keyboard.

Specifications

  • Material: Maple or walnut
  • Operating system layout: OSX/iOS or Windows
  • Connectivity: USB cable or Bluetooth
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Finish: Food safe varnish
  • Extras: Custom engraving available

What’s In The Box

  • Orée Board Essential keyboard
  • USB cable
  • Quick start guide

Design

The Orée Board Essential keyboard that I received for review came in walnut with a beautiful wood grain throughout. When I first removed it from the box, I could smell the natural scent of the wood. If not for that smell, I may have mistaken the keyboard for plastic. The finish of the surface is so finely sanded and smooth that one would be forgiven for making that mistake. The Board Essential is made from a single piece of wood. This allows the natural wood grain to continue from the body of the keyboard to the keys uninterrupted. You will find the back of the keyboard just as nicely finished. The wood grain comes through just enough to know it is real wood.

The letters on the keys are engraved and highlighted by the stain used on the surface of the keyboard. Every key, every button, and even the battery cover are constructed from wood. The only part of the keyboard that is not wood are the few tiny screws that hold the battery cover and backplate in place. You can add a custom engraving with up to 1,000 characters on the back for an additional $30.00USD. Engraving would be great if the keyboard is a gift or a presentation.The natural color of the wood truly adds a warm touch to my otherwise white and plasticky office.

Orée Board Essential

Orée Board Essential

There are three lights at the top of the keyboard and a USB connector on the rear. The lights are for battery level, Bluetooth, and caps lock. Its great to have the lights there, the problem is that lights are not visible when the keyboard is flat. To see the lights, you must lift the keyboard and look directly into the holes they are in. The reason for this is that the holes are too deep. The lights are at the very bottom and not visible. Perhaps moving the lights up, so they are closer to, or protruding from, the surface would help. The USB connector on the rear connects your keyboard to your computer should you choose not to use Bluetooth. It also serves to recharge the batteries of the Orée Board Essential keyboard.

Ease Of Use

Connecting the Orée Board Essential keyboard via Bluetooth was quick and simple. First, make sure that Bluetooth is active on your device. Next, turn the keyboard on and press the connect button on the back of the keyboard. Finally, select Orée from the Bluetooth list. There were no issues in connecting the keyboard to Bluetooth. If you decide to connect via USB, you only need connect the cable to a USB slot on your computer. Either way you decide to go, getting the Board Essential up and running is no problem.

Performance

Typing with the Orée Board Essential keyboard came very easy to me. The set up of the keyboard is exactly like an Apple Magic keyboard.  Although the Board Essential is a bit taller, I did find the extra height beneficial when it came to typing. It was more comfortable.  The Board Essential is also a bit wider than the Magic keyboard, but only because of the width between the keys and the sides. The keys themselves are nearly the same size and shape. It only took me about half an hour to become accustomed to the feel of the new keyboard. The similarities between the Orée and the Apple keyboards made the transition very easy.

As far as the Bluetooth connection, not once did the Board Essential keyboard lose the signal from the keyboard. I walked over 50 feet away from my computer and the connection still held. I’m not sure why you would need to type from that far away, but should the need arise, the Orée Board Essential keyboard can help you do it. I have been using the Board Essential for two weeks now, and the battery level is still at 100%. I am not a heavy user, so your results may vary depending on use.

Price/Value

The Orée Board Essential keyboard has a listed price of $149.00USD and comes with a lifetime warranty. You can order custom engraving for an additional $30.00USD. The price may be a bit high for some, considering how cheap some keyboard are these days. I feel that for the price you not only get a great keyboard, you also get a work of art that helps add life to your office.

Wrap Up

Do you look around your office and wish it weren’t so drab? Do people stop by and just stand around awkwardly, trying to make some conversation? Have you been looking for some wood art that is not only beautiful but can be used as a Bluetooth or USB connected keyboard as well? Then the Orée Board Essential keyboard may be just what you’re looking for. The wood tones add life, no more boring office. The Board Essential has character and beauty, sure to get your friends and co-workers talking.  And it also has functionality, you’ll be happy to get work done on this stylish keyboard. So if your wish list is hyper-specific, then make sure you check out the Orée Board Essential keyboard.

We were sent a sample of the Orée Board Essential for the purposes of this review.

Orée Board Essential

$149.00USD
Orée Board Essential
9.3

Design

9/10

    Ease of Use

    10/10

      Performance

      10/10

        Price/Value

        8/10

          Nailed it

          • Easy to use
          • Familiar feel
          • Functional and artistic

          Needs work

          • Lights on keyboard can't be seen
          • Price may be a bit high for some
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