How often have we caused unnecessary trouble for ourselves by spilling drinks on our gadgets? The keyboard is the victim in most cases, and what HP has done is to come up with a washable mouse and keyboard combination that has SpillSeal technology that's made mainly for users who work in "environments that require keyboards to be immersed and cleaned with the following solvents: soap, washing-up liquid, non-abrasive cleaners, general purpose cleaners, bleach, disinfectant, antibacterial cleaners and surgical spirit". While most of us don't work in such places, we reckon that the device would come in handy for those who are slightly more prone to accidents.
At first glance, the keyboard looks pretty unimpressive, with a black non-descript exterior and a fairly standard key layout. There are no bells and whistles here - no custom keys and the design is nothing short of standard. It definitely harks back to old-school keyboards with its rectangular body and keys highlighted in white.
The keyboard is not curved, and there's only the usual option to elevate it to suit your typing posture by pushing out the two tiny stands at the back. Typing on the keyboard was a generally satisfactory experience. The keys were not stiff and provided good tactile feedback, and while not exactly silent, it was relatively quiet.
As for the mouse, the HP washable optical mouse comes in a largely black body that's trimmed with silver. The mouse feels extremely light, and overly plasticky in our hands, but that isn't exactly a detrimental thing. Like most mice, the HP mouse comes with a rather rounded and thick bottom that gives a comfortable fit and grip. While we were satisfied with the keyboard feedback, we felt that the mouse's scroll wheel was a tat too stiff for our liking, making it problematic for prolonged Internet browsing.
The unique thing about the mouse is that as it is made to withstand soaking in solvents, the right and left buttons can be partially opened for washing and the click wheel can be easily removed by pushing it out through the base. While this is undoubtedly convenient, we had some worries initially that the constant removal might eventually cause it to become loose, but HP has fitted magnets with the wheel, making it pretty secure.
Setup is extremely simple for both. The keyboard and mouse come with a short USB port that can be easily connected to a USB extension cable or a USB-PS2 adapter. Plug them into the computer and they will be ready for use. Apprehensive as we were, we ran both devices under lukewarm water, warm water, and soap water consecutively for about 10 minutes. Both devices still worked normally after that, without any problems. Do however, take note to avoid getting the USB connector wet.
If you are looking for a no-frills keyboard and mouse, the HP Washable KeyBoard and Mouse might be a good option as it comes with added waterproof functionality. Otherwise, there is not much here that's trendy enough to catch the eye of the casual shopper.