Aesthetic on point.
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Are you sick of your ordinary-looking keyboard? Gray plastic keys not doing it for you anymore? I'm not sure about you, but I appreciate hardware that's durable and well-designed. I don't need all the bells and whistles, though. An elegant design will do, so long as it's unique and eye-catching, like Apple's Magic Keyboard. Well, the Board Essential from Orée is more than just a keyboard—it's a work of art.
This wooden keyboard is a minimalist's dream. Handcrafted from a single slice of wood, it's the perfect blend of functionality and design. With its beautifully rich tone and silky smooth keys, it looks and feels like a premium product. Aside from a few minor nitpicks, like not having the option to adjust the height or angle, I really enjoyed my experience with Orée's wooden keyboard.
Orée is a European manufacturer that uses wood from family-owned forests in Eastern France to create all kinds of neat gadgets—smartphone chargers, wireless keyboards, and even number pads. The company's products are typically available in maple or walnut, but I think both versions are beautiful, and they seem like they'd be durable, too.
The setup process is really simple. Inside the package, which smells of smoky wood, you'll find the Board Essential, a double-braided USB cable, and an instructional booklet. The handcrafted keyboard, available in Mac or PC configurations, connects to your device via Bluetooth or USB. You can pair it to a smartphone, tablet, desktop, or laptop.
I was able to set up our loaner up in a matter of minutes. After removing the components from the box, I plugged the keyboard into my desktop tower via USB and turned it on. The board came to life with zero complications. I'm unable to speak to the Bluetooth option, as I didn't hook up the review unit that way, but the USB cable worked just fine.
There's no point in beating around the bush. This compact board is one gorgeous piece of hardware. The wood grain pattern differs from keyboard to keyboard, so each one is totally unique. Our loaner, made of dark maple wood, had lots of veins and swirls on it. It's the type of product that will turn heads, for sure.
It's about the same size as the MacBook Pro keyboard, so it's pretty slim and lightweight, making it the perfect travel accessory. Though it's designed for multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones, we hooked ours up to a desktop computer. Not only are the keys smooth to the touch, my fingers never clipped the edges of the keys. It's great to type on.
I found that I adapted to the keyboard within hours of using it. I was able to manage about 80 words-per-minute, which is close to my average. You can't adjust the height or angle, though, as the board doesn't have legs. This might be a problem if you're used to working with a taller keyboard.
My only issue is that it doesn't match the rest of my hardware. My desktop computer is a mishmash of plastic parts, so the wooden board looked a little out of place. Aside from that, though, the product is really lovely. If anything, the aesthetic really transforms your workspace.
This Orée keyboard is attractive, unique, and minimal—not to mention a real conversation starter. Our maple wood unit, for example, is beautifully rich in tone. It's versatile in that it works with multiple devices, and, for a premium product, seems fairly priced. The board is coated in a matte varnish, too, which protects the wood from the oil in your fingertips. And, because wood changes with your environment, getting darker over time, I imagine it'll age well too.
There's a couple of downsides, though. If you want your keyboard to match your desk or monitor, you may want to reconsider the Orée keyboard, as we live in a white and gray plastic kind of world. You can't adjust the height or angle, either. Overall, it's an excellent buy if you're looking to add something different to your desk. The keyboard is comfortable to use for extended periods of time, and it's drop-dead gorgeous too. The Board Essential is available for $150 on the Orée website.