As part of a new segment I've added on the Computers2K7 radio show I co-host, I've begun reviewing hardware and letting our listeners know what I think. Recently I discussed my thoughts on the Microsoft Entertainment Desktop 8000 package. It's a wireless keyboard and mouse package targeted at Vista users and Windows Media Center users. Yes, it works just fine with XP as well.
The first thing that I noticed as I took it out of the box is how light and thin the keyboard is. Don't let that fool you though, it has a solid feel both sitting on a desk AND on your lap in front of the TV.
Yes, you will use this wireless keyboard on your lap from the couch to control Windows Media Center. One of the coolest and handiest features about the keyboard is the backlit feature. Never will you have to ruin the mood by flipping the lights on to work with this keyboard. It illuminates quite nicely providing you the capability to increase the volume, change the channel, launch Windows Media Player, all from the comfort of your couch. Of course you can also code in the dark as well if you're into late night coding sessions! Also included on the keyboard is a built in touch pad for handling mouse operations. While the touchpad is no replacement for an actual mouse and since the package does include a mouse, it's not meant to be. it does get the job done for basic pointing and onscreen selecting.
The function keys across the top are not actual keyboard buttons, they're touch-strips. Initially I didn't like them because its very easy to accidentally hit one of them but as I became more comfortable working with the keyboard I hardly realized they were not actual buttons.
The left side if the keyboard contains controls for volume and muting, channel selection, play/pause, rewind, fast forward, as well as left and right mouse buttons. Also on the left is a magnifier button which pops up a magnified display box to make reading smaller text on the screen a breeze to read.
The mouse is that comes in the package is the Wireless Laser Mouse 8000. It worked just fine but too be honest, I was much more focused on using the keyboard.
The Bluetooth charging hub contains 3 USB ports for plugging in any additional devices. Charging the keyboard is accomplished by slipping the keyboard under the charging hub and the mouse is charged by placing it on top of the charging hub.
I really like this keyboard. Initially I thought the lack of a numeric keypad might be an issue for me but in the end I hardly noticed it. The one sticking point I do have with this keyboard/mouse package is price. It lists at $299 but I've seen it online for about $50 less. I don't care how cool it is, $249 still seems kind of pricey to me for a keyboard and mouse combination but it does work well with Vista and the Windows Media Center.
For additional information and technical details head over to the Microsoft site and check it out.
Have a day. :-|