Microsoft Wireless Gadgets

Ian Knott

Ian is a multimedia reviewer who would seriously consider selling his wife and kids to own the latest electronic gadgets.

Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000

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The latest release in Microsoft’s Wireless Desktop series is the Comfort Desktop 5000 and it’s quite a dramatic change from its predecessor the Wireless Desktop 4000. I’ve been using the 4000 keyboard in my full-time job as a graphic designer (yes, on a Mac) for about 2 years now and have thoroughly enjoyed the extra functionality it has. The Comfort 5000 keyboard has much of the same functionality with a row of shiny buttons along the top which take care of multimedia functions and programmable favourites. But the 5000 makes the 4000 look like a chunky behemoth – it’s low profile and lack of surrounding unused space gives it clean lines and a more compact size.

It has two removable feet to raise the back of the keyboard (don’t lose them if you take them out) which I found essential to have in at all times.
I’m loving the keyboard and have found it very comfortable over an 8 hour day with its crosshatched palm rest.

The accompanying mouse doesn’t fare as well. While it is ambidextrous and has 5 buttons and a scroll wheel, it’s very basic yet functional. It features Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology which allows it to be used on virtually any surface except glass. But I found the mouse too narrow which meant my fingers were bent more to hold on and my hand would slide forward on the mouse. It was uncomfortable and useable for occasional web surfing only rather than regular use.

Both the keyboard and mouse each take 2 AA batteries and communicate to a small USB dongle which comes in the package. It has an operating range of 30ft and is compatible with all versions of Windows including Windows 7 as well as Mac OSX 10.4x-10.5x

Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000


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The Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is Microsoft’s thinnest keyboard to date. Running on 2 AAA batteries the thickness of the keyboard is barely more than the batteries themselves. At 355mm wide and 167mm deep the 6000 genuinely fits the mobile category. Both is and the separate accompanying number pad (1x AAA battery) would slot inconspicuously into any laptop bag or suitcase.
If you use your laptop as a desktop computer but find that you still need a keyboard at the level of a sliding keyboard shelf then this is the unit for you.

As the name suggests the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 is powered by Bluetooth, but it doesn’t come packaged with its own Bluetooth dongle. - so you need to have a computer with it built in. Both the keyboard and the number pad will make separate pairings with your computer and usually disconnect after a few minutes of inactivity. Connection is picked up again with the press of any key and your ready to type after about a 2 second delay.
I do a lot of typing using the 6000 (again on a Mac) and the only problem I have found is that I keep nudging the Caps Lock key on by mistake. It’s probably no fault of the keyboard however, instead it’s because I’m used to the Comfort Desktop 5000 all day and coming home to the more compact Mobile 6000 keyboard I have to get used to shifting my hands a little closer together.

Speaking of Macs – if your like me and the latest Mac slimline keyboards drive you nuts, then the Mobile 6000 is an excellent alternative as it has the compact size but feels like a fuller sized and practical keyboard to use.
The number pad also comes with it’s own cloth case – to keep it clean and safe when not in use.

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Now here’s a handy little mouse that can travel with your laptop or netbook wherever you go.
The Mobile Mouse 4000 uses a tiny USB dongle to connect and has a slot in the base, next to the single AA battery cover, to keep the dongle in when not in use. Like the

Comfort Desktop 5000 mouse, it uses BlueTrack technology which is very convenient for a mobile mouse as you could be using it on anything from a café table to your thigh or a duvet.

Despite the compact size, the mouse is surprisingly comfortable to use for extended periods of time, even more so than its previously mentioned bigger brother. It has 4 buttons including the scroll wheel and as usual is compatible with all versions of Windows and Mac OSX 10.4x-10.5x.

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Microsoft’s award winning LifeCam Cinema is the world’s first full 720p HD webcam delivering high definition, clear and smooth video in 16:9 widescreen.
The camera has auto-focus and a high precision glass element lens. The digital noise cancelling microphone on top of the unit helps filter out background noise for improved speech quality.

Easily Microsoft’s best looking webcam in years, the LifeCam Cinema has a black tubular body about 55mm in length which sits on top of a flexible stand suitable for both laptops or desktop PCs.

The camera comes packaged with Windows Live Movie Maker which makes recording video and uploading to social networking sites a breeze. The unit also has a Windows Live Call Button on top to make video calls at the touch of a button. It will work with Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype and Google Chat.
While most modern laptops come with built in cameras, the LifeCam Cinema brings a whole new experience in terms of professional quality 720p video. The camera is Windows 7 compatible but, as with all Microsoft webcams, does not work with Mac OSX.

 
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  • Vince says
    The bluetooth wireless set looks awesome. The lifecam though.....maybe it's just my sick mind, but i seem to be only capable of thinking of dodgy applications for this type of device hahahaaa
  • Bryce says
    Wireless keyboard and mouse are ftw! It's SOOOOO much easier than a corded setup. Gives you the freedom to move around :-)
  • The bluetooth keyboard and mouse with a big screen is awesome with the laptop.
  • paula says
    wireless is excellent except when the mouse batteries run out.
    • twisterjamz says
      yeah I must agree, I use a wireless mouse and when the battery power runs out I always have to hassle looking forward a spare battery
    • I have wireless for both my PC and Laptop, there Logitech though. Bluetooth is awsome, so may have to look at upgrading to Microsoft.
    • Nos4R2D2 says
      I bought a Microsoft wireless desktop from JB HiFi for the great price of $48 with a $15 cashback so it only ended up costing me $33. One of the best value purchases I have ever made.
    • Waples says
      I have a dell wireless key board and mouse and tho a bit Microsoft designs works brill huh had the problem with the batteries the first time i got then but quickly learnt to invest in rechargables and have a extra pair waiting in the charger ready to go when the mouse runs flat! props to teh keyborad tho iv only ever had to replace the battires in it 4 times since i bought it 3 years ago
    • Garry says
      Microsoft were trying to make me join a long term broadband plan by offering me free amicrosoft mouse and keyboard. First I thought what a good deal and then I thought hey instead of wasting all this money getting these keyboards and mouses to try bribe us to stay with you why don't you make your internet reliable and especially be able to have a download speed quicker than 20kbs per second. Hopefully as NZ gets better broadband cables over the next couple of years my internet will actually be at a decent speed.
    • Ella says
      I really like the look of the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 - I think it's the fact that there is a seperate number pad from the rest of the unit. Also, have to admit that life is so much easier these days using a wireless mouse - all the benefits without the hassle to my way of thinking. Am thinking it might be time to upgrade my webcam though, cos that LifeCam one makes mine sound useless =(
    • Phantomize says
      "Both the keyboard and mouse each take" a heavy pounding of frustration from twitching upon running out of battery in the middle of a something important "and communicate to a" dongle which I have misplaced within 2 hours of purchase. Ideally wireless interface devices are wonderful and user-friendly for both tech savvies and everyday household. For us nerds, we like the wires, we won't be the same without them, girls love it. All in all, great job Microsoft, just wait till I make a keyboard so thin I won't have to type on it.
      • Phantomize says
        Just on the note of the camera. Isn't it great that my relatives in Australia can now see the infected hair follicle on my face? Still, good to see technology is moving forward. Now we just need telecom to move forward too :)

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