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Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000
- Looks great, lots of shortcut keys, comfortable to type on
- Very expensive, key layout takes some getting used to
If you have a bit of money to splash around and want a wireless keyboard and mouse package that has all the bells and whistles, the Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 may be right for you.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Most keyboards sent to our office for testing aren't exactly the most inspiring devices, so when we received the Microsoft Wireless Desktop Entertainer 8000, we were pleased to see it has a little flare. While still a standard keyboard for the most part, it has an attractive design, a slightly funky key layout and is completely wireless making it a great choice for people who regularly use their PC away from their desk.
The best thing about the Entertainer 8000 is its simple recharge system. A critical problem with older wireless peripherals was how quickly they ran out of batteries, but that isn't a concern with this package. It comes with two sets of rechargeable batteries and a docking station that connects to AC power. Whenever you aren't using it, simply rest the dock on top of the keyboard, slot the mouse into it and you're good to go. Another nifty thing about the dock is that you have the option of connecting it to a USB port which acts as a hub, providing four extra USB connections.
We experienced no periods of downtime during out testing; it was still working well after leaving the keyboard and mouse off the charger for a whole weekend. This is partially thanks to the intelligent power saving options which do things such as shut off the backlight when the keyboard isn't in use.
Typing on the Entertainer 8000 took a little getting used to as the keys are laid out in a slightly strange manner. The difference isn't huge, but having the delete key and page up/page down buttons on the very far right led to more than a few typing errors until we eventually made the adjustment. There is also no number pad, making this package feel more like a notebook keyboard than a full desktop model.
However Microsoft has made great use of the extra space, packing in a ton of shortcut keys. The left-hand side bears host to a variety of media controls, including play/pause, track skip, volume, record, mute and even a channel change switch. Next to those are magnifier and gadget keys for use with Windows Vista, and two keys that act as mouse buttons. They work in tandem with the touch sensitive directional pad that sits on the right-hand side of the keyboard, completely removing the need for a mouse. There are also shortcuts for the start menu and Windows Media Center.
The Entertainer 8000 uses scissor keys which make for a fluid and speedy typing experience. The keys are responsive and we found ourselves working very quickly after adjusting to the aforementioned key placements. Wireless connectivity is achieved using Bluetooth technology and this operates via a simple Bluetooth dongle. We experienced no drop outs during testing, maintaining a strong and consistent signal.
The mouse is comfortable to use and thanks to the laser sensor, it is extremely accurate. While we'd recommend a proper gaming mouse if you're a hardcore gamer, the unit included in this package was more than adequate during our tests and will suit casual gamers very well.
Aesthetically the Entertainer 8000 is very smooth, with a brushed aluminium build and slim design. It is lightweight yet the metal design feels extremely sturdy to be easily carried around a room. The blue backlight also ensures typing in low light conditions isn't a problem.
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