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A chiclet keyboard is a category of keyboard that makes use of keys in the shape of small squares or rectangles with straight sides and rounded corners. In most cases, the gaps between the keys are filled with perforated bezel. The keyboard makes use of thin, clean-cut keys which are slightly spread out from each other. The chiclet keyboard is popular in laptops, netbooks, and are prominently used in Apple MacBooks.
Chiclet keyboards are also known as island-style keyboards or simply island keyboards.
The chiclet keyboard gets its name due to the style of the keys used which are similar to Chiclets, an American chewing gum brand. The underlying technology used by chiclet keyboards varies considerably. In many cases, the keys of the chiclet keyboard are part of the backing membrane and tend to deform when touched to complete the electrical contact. Some chiclet keyboards avoid the upper membrane and spacer layers and have conductive coating on the underside of the keys.
There are some advantages associated with chiclet keyboards. One of the main advantages lies in the fact that the keys have slightly larger surface area than sculpted keys, and therefore have a smaller chance of hitting the wrong keys. The overall look and feel of a chiclet keyboard is more space efficient and flatter than a conventional keyboard. Again compared to other keyboard, maintenance and cleaning are much easier with chiclet keyboards.
There are critics of the chiclet keyboard. Some state the overall typing speed is lesser as sculpting is missing to guide the fingers. Due to same reason, some claim that on a longer run, chiclet keyboards cause fatigue to the user compared to other types of keyboards and are also less responsive.