A few days ago the boss asked me to get a wireless keyboard and mouse for him (I’m the unofficial ITwallah for colleagues and friends). My friendly neighbourhood dealer (Bajaj Sales Corporation, 43 Veer Savarkar Block, Shakarpur Extention, Delhi 110 092) didn’t have the model required in stock and while he ordered it from another dealer, I browsed through his store and eyed a USB powered mini vaccum. Since it is a real pain to get the dust out of the keyboard and with earlier misadventures with the keyboard cleaning process I decided to get one for me.

I enquired about the price and one of the brothers manning the store replied “Rs 1800,” and after a pause added “a dozen.” Quick mental mathematics put it at Rs 150 a piece. Not a bad deal.

The model looking very China made, I eyed it with suspicion. The packaging was ordinary and nor were the colours available to my linking. Nevertheless, I brought one home and plugged it to my USB extension cable. It didn’t have the power that I expected, then I connected it directly to the USB port on my PC. A slight increase in suction, it seemed. Maybe I was just imagining. But the cord with the vacuum is too short (about a metre) if you keep the computer cabinet below the level of your keyboard and monitor (the front USB ports on my PC don’t work).

Then I thought of giving it a test, a mild one – cleaning the cigarette ash from the ashtray – and it worked wonderfully. Hoping that the dust hidden behind the keys would also respond accordingly, I gave up the idea of returning the piece to the dealer. Though not a ‘powerful’ vacuum cleaner, it should meet minor needs which a dusting cloth or a brush might not perform to satisfaction.

Here are more details from the packaging (there’s no make or manufacturer’s name mentioned):

1. Simply connect the vacuum to the USB port of your laptop or computer

2. Two vacuum cleaning attachments included – one bristle brush attachment and one flexible rubber, computer keyboard tool attachment.

3. Two switch levels slide. The switch to the first level to turn on the LED light. Slide the switch to the second level to turn on the vacuum cleaner.

4. Press the ‘High Power’ button to increase suction power, for vacumming heavier dirt and dust.

5. Use the keyboard attachment rubber to vaccum the dust and other dirt particles trapped underneath the keyboard keys by sliding the squeezable tube between keys.

6. Use the brush and suction tube attachment for general cleaning of air vents (fan), monitor and computer areas, or dust on your desktop.

7. Requires no external power source, plugs straight into any USB port.

I checked for prices for similar products on online shopping sites and they were at least Rs 50 more plus Rs 100 as handling and delivery charges. A phenomenon that I had noted in an earlier post.

By the way the wireless keyboard and mouse (Microsoft) cost Rs 1500.

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