Guardware produces a variety of innovative products, all of which have been well received. It was interesting, therefore, to see a keyboard product with integral fingerprint reader from this Hungarian company (although the keyboard is actually made in China).
Before connecting the device, first impressions were of a quality product. The keyboard is connected via a single USB connection and there are two additional USB ports neatly integrated on the rear of the keyboard. The quality of the keyboard action is also first rate and a pleasure to use - in fact, I am writing this review on the Guardware keyboard and will be sorry to disconnect it when the time comes.
Installing is straightforward and was trouble-free on the Windows 2000 SP3 test box. An installation and quick start guide is provided, although the entire operation is so intuitive that many will not even need to reference it. So far then, top marks to Guardware for a beautifully presented and easily installed biometric peripheral. But how well does the biometric fingerprint reader work?
The device is an optical reader, which senses the presence of a finger, similarly to other Guardware products. The software allows users to practice as much as they like with any combination of their fingers, before choosing one or more for enrollment. This is a good idea as users will quickly appreciate which fingers can be used comfortably and provide the highest operational performance. A score is kept, in order to identify which fingerprints perform best.
Technical performance is closely aligned with user performance and consistency, which is why it is as well to encourage users to practice before enrolment. This was borne out in practice as biometric identity verification via the Guardware keyboard worked faultlessly.
Integration was straightforward and various software utilities are provided in order to facilitate this. These are equally straightforward and would present very few problems to the average user or systems administrator.
This is an interesting product. The keyboard is rugged enough to be deployed in a hard-working environment. Equally, one could see it being used within a professional office, or, indeed, for access to a standalone workstation by a freelance worker looking for enhanced but simple access control.
All in all, a quality product which was a pleasure to evaluate.