Friday, 6 July 2007

Hardware Review: Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000

This is a preliminary review of the product that we just received.

I finally got sick and tired of the Desktop 6000's radio signals always breaking or loosing key strokes.

So, on first glance: Neat looking keyboard!

The keys are a little more fluid in their action than the 6000 was, so it will take a little getting used to them. They have a very smooth action, with a very gentle resistance point to let you know that the key will perform the requested action.

There have been no radio issues so far. And, I would expect that from a Bluetooth based keyboard. This blog post is being written on the keyboard, and even when I am typing quite fast, not a keystroke has been lost yet!!!! YAY! :D

The 6000 Microsoft driver software picked up the new 7000 series Bluetooth USB fob with no issues, and subsequently the keyboard and mouse were picked up as well.

The install was flawless from that point of view.

There is no extended number pad on this keyboard. Keep this in mind for corporate offices, especially accounting ones.

Microsoft, could you make a version of this keyboard for the Office please? We know that the Media Center market is huge, but don't forget about us.

The keyboard is also quite flat. And, I mean flat! At its highest point it probably stands less than 1" (~1.5cm). Just tall enough to house the 4 nonrechargeable AA batteries, two per top side of the keyboard. The Bluetooth radio must be hungry for power, so we will see what kind of battery life we will get from the keyboard.

The Function keys as well as the Home and End "keys" do not have traditional buttons. There is a little raised bar in the keyboard's plastic where their respective labels are with the keyboard sensing a finger's presence. That is a neat feature.

The mouse is a huge step in the right direction.

It is laser based, and uses a regular NiMH 2000mAh AA battery which can come in very handy to replace with a fully charged one quickly. It also means that if the battery dies for some reason, one can replace it. The Logitech MX Laser that I have been using would require the mouse to be thrown out as the battery is not user replaceable.

The mouse's ergonomic shape has been vastly improved over the 6000 series mouse. It actually fits in my hand comfortably! That should not be too tough to do, but in some cases like the 6000 series mouse, it is.

The mouse charger is essentially a small plate with a bump for lining up the mouse and the two electrodes to pass power through to it. The setup is rather simple, but uses up a bit more desktop space than the Logitech charger that stands the mouse vertically.

All in all, I am pretty impressed with this new keyboard/mouse desktop set. Given that the mouse actually fits with my hand, I am going to actually use it for a while to see if I continue to like it. No other MS mouse other than the basic optical has been given that chance due to poor hand fitting.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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