Review: Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000

Looking for a new keyboard and mouse combo? Got a bit of spare cash? Look no further, this is the "Ultimate" keyboard and mouse combo set that Microsoft has ever created.

The Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 combines a mouse, keyboard and a new charging "dock". The dock allows you to charge both the mouse and keyboard...wirelessly. You simply slip the keyboard under the charging port and it's charging, stick the mouse on top and that's charging too. It was this sole reason I was interested in this combo combined with the fact it has a backlit keyboard.

Lets take a look at all its features.

The keyboard:

The keyboard has a slightly curved design but it's not as dramatic as the "Comfort Curve" range of Microsoft's keyboards. The feel of the soft keys is similar to that of a laptop and is very comfortable if you're typing a lot day to day or feel like writing a novel. The key layout is similar to a normal keyboard, up the top you have the F keys which are "touch" so they sense your finger touch on them rather than actually depress. You also have a re-arranged Windows Orb key, no numpad and various buttons you wouldn't find on a normal keyboard. There's a Media Center button on the right which directs you straight into Media Center, you can also find a navigation pad so you can command your PC from the sofa without the need for a mouse.

On the left hand side there's right/left mouse click buttons, a magnifier button, a gadgets button to show the gadgets on your Sidebar (Vista) or desktop (Win 7). There's also a range of media buttons from channel up (for media center) to volume up and down and skipping audio tracks forward and backwards.

Aside from all the buttons this keyboard is also backlit. It auto senses when to turn on the light and if you turn your PC off in the dark the little Windows Orb flashes 3 times into the ceiling before turning off, a neat little effect just as you're about to go to sleep.

The mouse:

The mouse has a fairly simple and eloquent design and fits nicely in your palm. In addition to the left, middle and right click you have 2 buttons either side which are easily programmable to different functions.

The charging hub:

A simple hub sits near to the front of your keyboard and provides 4 USB ports within it and the ability to wirelessly re-charge the keyboard and mouse. You simply slip the keyboard underneath it and drop the mouse on to the top. It couldn't be any more easier. I've created a 30 second video below to demonstrate how easy this is:

My thoughts:

The design of this desktop set puts it into another league from standard desktop sets but unfortunately as does the price. I have been using this set for approximately 3 months now and find typing a lot easier due to the soft keys. Currently I have the desktop set running in Windows 7 and it compliments it perfectly. It's an expensive set but if you want the ultimate keyboard and mouse combo then certainly look no further, you will not be disappointed.

Keyboard pros:

  • Backlit keyboard
  • Soft keys
  • Excellent media buttons
  • Navigation pad
  • Wireless charging
  • Very thin and lightweight
Keyboard cons:
  • No numpad
  • Position of the windows key
  • The F key "touch" is fiddly sometimes
Mouse pros:
  • Light weight
  • Feels great in your palm
  • Smooth scrolling through pages with the scroll wheel
Mouse cons:
  • The click scroll wheel middle button is impossible to click
  • Right hand button placement is difficult to use
Overall this keyboard is for the enthusiast and Media Center owner, it works great with Windows Vista and Windows 7 so if you're an avid fan of either of those (and Media Center) this would be an obvious purchase for you. The starting price in the US is $216 onwards.

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