Purchasing a wireless keyboard and mouse seems like an easy thing to do but it’s not. There’s no lack of choices in the market but not all of them perform as well as expected. Wireless keyboard and mice usually have poor range and if you plan on using one with an HTPC or if you like sitting more than 4 feet away from your PC, you might be surprised at how badly they perform.
Microsoft Wireless Desktop 800 - Basic offering in its segment
The ones that perform better are usually pretty expensive. Microsoft’s relatively cheaper offering is the Wireless Desktop 800.
Features and Design
The Microsoft Wireless Desktop 800 has a somewhat sleek keyboard and mouse. Unlike most other keyboards, the keyboard in this kit has a glossy black finish all across which of course means plenty of finger prints and smudges. The keys themselves have a rough matte finish which is smoother than most other keyboards. The underneath of the keyboard has a white matte finish.
Cramped set of keys
The layout of the keyboard isn’t a lot different from other keyboards. The gap between the numerical pad and the main character set has less space than there usually is. There is some space wasted used on the extreme ends of the keyboard. In terms of size, it’s more or less the same size as any other keyboard. The bigger issue is with the function keys on top. The keys are a third of the size and aren’t as deep as the rest of the keys. Using them is a little difficult and you need to look at the keys to make accurate typing. There are a set of multimedia buttons placed on the extreme right corner of the keyboard. This is where the Num Lock, Scroll Lock and Caps Lock indicators would normally go. In this case, there are no status indicators. Unlike the mouse that uses AA batteries, the keyboard makes use of two AAA batteries.
Beveled line of keys at the bottom
The mouse bundled in the kit is the Wireless Mouse 1000. It’s pretty compact and smaller than most desktop mice in the market, even though it’s powered by two AA batteries; it’s not as light as most desktop mice though. It has the usual three-click and single scroll design. There’s provision for you to attach the tiny wireless USB dongle to the bottom of the mouse. A power switch allows you to turn the mouse on and off. This should help conserve some battery charge. There are low battery warning indicators on both the keyboard and mouse which warn you well in advance when the batteries are about to run out.
The build quality of both the mouse and keyboard is pretty decent. The lowest row of keys on the keyboard has been beveled so your fingers don’t rest again the edge of the keys.
The keyboard has a very light feel to it and there’s little feedback from the keys. There isn’t too much of plays in the keys itself and everything is sturdy. Using the function keys because of their reduced area is also somewhat difficult. The cramped set of keys between the character set and the numerical pad is a distracting while typing.
Missing status indicators
Wireless performance of both the keyboard and mouse is great. There is no skipping beyond 5 to 6 feet. Characters are registered properly and there is close to delay either. This could very well be used as a keyboard-mouse set for an HTPC. Furniture is no problem either. We were able to use the keyboard and mouse on the other side of the cubicle without any issues whatsoever.
The Microsoft Wireless Desktop 800 sells for Rs. 1,370, which means it’s not the cheapest wireless keyboard-mouse set in the market. It’s pretty good value for money in our opinion. We don’t like the cramped areas of the keyboard but with plenty of below-par options in the market, this is one of the safer solutions that money can buy. If you’re looking for an affordable, light-weight wireless keyboard-mouse set for your PC or HTPC, this is worth picking up.
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