Halloween is the time when kids get a chance to get tricks or treats from others. This Halloween, I actually got a treat from Microsoft. They sent me a Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 keyboard and mouse set.
I've been planning to switch my current USB Mouse and USB keyboard with wireless versions for some time now. In fact, I had bought a Microsoft Wireless MultiMedia keyboard (1.0A) a while back, but never installed it. The primary hindrance point was the big wired receiver that you still needed to have on your desk for the devices to work. The receiver was just as bad as having a wired mouse on your desk. While I managed to get this set out of the box, I never installed it.
I also didn't like the idea that you needed to have the receiver and mouse/keyboard in line with each other and relatively close. I use a keyboard and mouse that are located under the main desk and away from the main computer that sits off to the side. There is no straight line and there is a good amount of wooden desk between the computer and the peripherals I use.
With the Desktop 5000, the technology uses a 2.4GHz wireless USB transceiver. This transceiver is no larger than a standard USB memory stick. There are no wires for this receiver, it simply plugs into a USB slot and then gives you up to 30 feet to place your keyboard and mouse. It is very clean and simple.
My wired keyboard was a natural keyboard in that the keys were on a bit of a hill and thus to the right and left. While the Comfort Desktop 5000 keyboard is not a natural keyboard, it does do two things to make up for this. First, its keys are aligned in a curve rather than being straight across. Coming from a natural keyboard, this meant the keys felt perfectly positioned. I imagine that if I used a standard keyboard, the slightly bigger keys in the middle (G, H, B, and N) might feel odd. Secondarily, while most keyboard come with little feet to raise the back this keyboard allows you to put the feet in the back or the front. I put them in the front so that the palm rest is raised to support my hands. Small feature, but one that makes this keyboard much in line with the natural keyboard I am replacing.
Of course, all this ignores the features that are on the keyboard. In truth, if you've used a modern keyboard, then you'll find the features you expect. This includes media keys, customizable buttons, standard arrow, numeric pad, and other keys, and more. The one thing that is a little off is the function keys. They are smaller than the function keys on most keyboards. While initially this smaller size bothered me, I believe the jury is still out as to whether it is a negative or not.
The software for customizing the keyboard is simple to use and makes assigning your on functions to the special keys easy. By running the keyboard program that installs on the Start menu, you can quickly access the settings:
It is a simple matter of selecting a custom key to configure and setting a value. Like everyone should, I set the first custom key to go to Codeguru.com by simply entering http://www.Codeguru.com.
Being that Microsoft gave me this keyboard, I was set for it to possibly be a trick. In reality, so far it has been a great treat! Being that the batteries are not rechargeable, only time will tell if this becomes more of a trick!
- Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000
- List Price: $79.99 (seems a bit high priced)
- Windows 7, Vista, and 32-bit XP compatible (100 MB hard drive space)
- Mac OS X v10.4x- 10.5x compatible (30 MB hard drive space)
- USB required
- Uses 4 AA batteries (included)
- Mouse uses Microsoft BlueTrack Technology