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Product: Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.microsoft.com
Estimated Street Price:
$299.95

Review By: Robert Stein


One of the latest hardware combinations coming out of Redmond is all about high-end style while being on the cutting edge of technology by introducing new features to the desktop. This long-awaited combo was designed to complement Windows Vista at its fullest, providing hardware specific functionality for Windows Live, Vista Gadgets and Media Center. While all the features are great, this is the highest-end and highest priced desktop Microsoft has ever released.  Does this mouse and keyboard combo live up to its promises? Read on to find out.


Mouse & Keyboard Features

  • Rechargeable Mouse and Backlit Keyboard
    First ever rechargeable mouse and backlit keyboard solution. Microsoft’s exclusive charging hub allows you to recharge both the mouse and keyboard in one easy-to-use place.
  • 2.4 GHz Bluetooth® Technology
    Connect wirelessly right out of the box with First Connect Technology for up to 30 feet with virtually no interference.
  • Battery Status Indicator
    You'll know when power is low when the battery status indicator senses battery life is running out.
  • 4 USB Ports
    Integrated USB ports in the charging station give you the flexibility to download images from your digital camera or plug in your thumb drive or other USB device—right from your desktop.
  • Wireless Freedom
    Give yourself room to move—wireless mouse and keyboard products let you work without worrying about tangled wires.
  • 3 Year Warranty
    Limited Warranty and License Agreement available here.

Mouse Features

  • Rechargeable Mouse and Keyboard
    Status indicator flashes when batteries need charging. Mouse drops onto the stable, horizontal charging station to activate charging.
  • 4-Way Scrolling
    Scroll four ways for greater efficiency and comfort with Tilt Wheel Technology.
  • High Definition Laser Technology
    Microsoft® High Definition Laser Mouse products are more precise, more responsive, and deliver smoother tracking.
  • Instant Viewer
    Too many open items on your desktop? Click the scroll wheel button to instantly display your open windows, then point and click to select.
  • Magnifier
    Point and click to enlarge and edit detail using the Magnifier*.
  • Brushed Aluminum
    The sleek, symmetrical design features an authentic brushed aluminum that feels as good as it looks.
  • Intelligent Power System
    Adjust battery life depending on performance needs.

Keyboard Features

  • Navigation Pad
    Command your PC from your lap or the comfort of your sofa with the integrated cursor control.
  • Windows® Start Button
    Press to launch your Start menu and search your PC or the Web if you have Windows Vista installed.
  • Ultra-thin Comfort Curve Design
    Place your hands naturally and work comfortably using the distinctive and ergonomist-approved Comfort Curve design with quiet touch keys.
  • Windows Live™ Call Button
    Just press this button to access your Windows Live Messenger contact list; then select an Online Contact and start a video conversation.
  • Compact Industrial Design
    This sleek design reduces clutter on your desk, fits on your lap and complements your flat screen monitor.
  • Gadgets Button
    One-touch access to gadgets such as weather information, news updates, traffic maps and slide shows of online photo albums.
  • Media Center Start Button
    One touch access to Windows Media Center.
  • Ultra-thin Keyboard
    Experience true comfort with the ultra-thin Comfort Curve keyboard plus quiet touch keys.
  • Intelligent Backlighting
    Backlighting comes on automatically when you approach the keyboard and turns off when you’re away, saving valuable battery life. And, backlight intensity automatically adjusts itself to the room lighting conditions.
  • Media Controls
    Media Controls allow you to easily navigate to next track, previous track, play, pause and volume control.
  • "My Favorites" Hot Keys
    Access the folders, files, and Web pages you use most with one-touch “My Favorites” Keys.


     

Setup & Installation 

Mouse & Keyboard Setup: The installation is quite simple, and does not deviate much from other Microsoft Hardware installations. First, you insert the rechargeable Energizer NiMH batteries into the mouse and keyboard. There are five total, one for the mouse and four for the keyboard. The mouse has the standard snap out compartment and you need a coal or a flathead screwdriver to open the battery compartments on the underside of the keyboard. Next, turn the mouse and keyboard on/off switches (located on the bottom) to the on position. Now insert the USB transceiver (Microsoft Transceiver for Bluetooth version 3) into the bottom side of the recharging hub. Connect the power cords, and charge each for at least one hour before use. While charging, install the software (IntelliPoint / Intellitype Version 6.1) to get the additional features, but isn't necessary to use the hardware.

One of the slips included with the keyboard states: "If you are running Microsoft Windows Vista..., you must install a critical update from the Web before setting up the Microsoft product. Before following the setup steps...install the following update from: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/vistaupdate " The update is: Reliability update for USB stack in Windows Vista 32-bit (KB925528)
 

Microsoft IntelliType Pro Software

If you would like to adjust your keyboard settings, i.e. reprogram its hotkeys, then you’ll want to install Microsoft IntelliType Pro 6.1 software. Installation of the IntelliType Pro 6.1 software (although not needed) is a breeze. Just pop in the CD included or download the software (about 8 MB). To customize your keys, select either “Keyboard” from the Control Panel or “Microsoft Keyboard” from the Program menu. On the Key Settings tab, you’ll see a list of thirty hot key defaults, which you can reprogram if you like. Another nice feature is you can print out a list of the key assignments, which is good for those who like to reprogram a significant amount of keys. From here you can edit your key assignments from a list of fifty-five available commands. Options include disabling, programming to open a webpage or file, and reprogramming to fit Microsoft’s available commands. Some keys, however, such as the Caps Lock, you can only disable the key, not reprogram it.

To customize your keys, select either “Keyboard” from the Control Panel or “Microsoft Keyboard” from the Program menu. On the Key Settings tab, you’ll see a list of thirty hot key defaults, which you can reprogram if you like. Another nice feature is you can print out a list of the key assignments, which is good for those who like to reprogram a significant amount of keys. From here you can edit your key assignments from a list of fifty-five available commands. Options include disabling, programming to open a webpage or file, and reprogramming to fit Microsoft’s available commands. Some keys, however, such as the Caps Lock, you can only disable the key, not reprogram it.

Microsoft IntelliPoint Software

If you want to customize your mouse, you will have to install IntelliPoint 6.1 (about 60 MB), which requires a restart. To customize your mouse keys, select either "Mouse" for the Control Panel or "Microsoft Mouse" from the program menu. On the buttons tab you can click on the different buttons and reassign the keys to a variety of functions. In this software you can also change your pointers, other pointer options, view which hardware is connected, change scrolling options, and view wireless features. The software is easy to use and is required for advanced functionality of the mouse.

Mouse Design

The Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 8000 is about 5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, 1.5 inches high and weighs just a few ounces. The mouse includes five buttons (two on top, the wheel and two sides) in ambidextrous form, so both left and right hand people can use the mouse with ease. The mouse has a three-tone dark silver and grey design with silver buttons and is very aesthetically appealing, with a brushed aluminum front. I must admit, the aluminum is cool looking! I believe this is the first time Microsoft has used metal in the design of a mouse. The scroll wheel is the standard translucent tilt wheel with scroll wheel detents. The mouse has a grey bottom, with a single battery compartment for the rechargeable battery, a "Microsoft Laser Technology" sensor, an on/off switch, Bluetooth connect button, and two recessed prongs to connect to the rechargeable base. There is a light at the top of the mouse which flashes red when it needs charged and green when is fully charged. The integration of the light is quite nice. Please see our separate Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 8000 Review.

Microsoft High Definition Laser Technology

This product includes the Microsoft Laser Technology which aims to improve performance at much higher levels than the previous optical technology, including the High Definition Optical Technology on other Microsoft mice. The technology is 6000 frames per second (FPS) - an improvement over the 2500 FPS of most of the previous optical mice. Other technology improvements that have been made include 1000 dots per inch (DPI) resolution (responsiveness), 85 million operations per second (MOPS), .18 CMOS technology (preciseness) and the Microsoft Intelligent Tracking System (smoother tracking). Unlike the Microsoft High Definition Optical mice, the Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 has a 600 nm laser providing optical input. Microsoft optical technologies have been well tested for many years now and work smoothly on most surfaces. It has been broken-in well with previous mice, so you know you won’t have any problem. 
 

Keyboard Design

The keyboard is 8.3 inches wide and 17.7 inches long, and at most .75 inches high, but really much thinner at the front because there is a gradient from front to back. The great thing about being thin is the keyboard is also quite light. From right to left, there are mouse buttons (yes on the keyboard), magnifier, gadget button, media center buttons, function keys up top, start button in the center of the keyboard, back light adjusting keys,  and finishing up with the directional pad (for the mouse) and media center button. There is also a switch between directional pad and mouse mode on the right. There is a connection point at the top center of the keyboard. On the back side, there is an on/off switch and battery compartments (with screw lock) at each corner. The overall finish is two-tone silver aluminum and has a quite sophisticated look. The keyboard is nearly identical to the one included in the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000. The major differences between the two are the following (as the mouse is nearly identical): the keyboard has a aluminum finish, is rechargeable, has a magnifier button, and the recharging hub (now used for the mouse and keyboard) has been upgraded. In addition, there are 4 USB ports on the charging hub.  A few negatives, there is no keypad and the keyboard is quite flat, if you are used to a more angled keyboard. Also, it looks like there was some extra room, as the B, G, H and N keys are disproportionately big compared to the rest. Although you can't tell from looking in the daytime - the keys are backlit (see picture), which I must admit, is pretty cool. The mouse controls are useful for media center applications and in case your mouse dies, but I don't think most will use them. I am not sure why they didn't include the controls on the same side of the keyboard instead of having the buttons on the left and the directional keypad on the right.

Miscellaneous

The recharging hub is much better than the one that came with the WED 7000 and integrates nicely with the keyboard. There is a aluminum edge that says Bluetooth. There are four USB ports, two in the back and one on each side, which is a nice welcome for those of us who have a ton of USB devices. The charging hub cord is split - the USB end plugs into the back of the computer, while the other plugs into the power unit - and then the power cord plugs into that. Don't worry though - the power unit is fairly small.

Final Comments

How It Grades

Installation: 90%
Performance: 90%
Design: 100%
Price/Value: 85%
Overall: 91.25%

This product is perfect for those who want the latest in technology and style on their desktop. While best suited for Windows Vista Home Premium / Ultimate users to take advantage of all the features available (such as the Media Center features, etc.), this desktop can also work on Windows XP. You can get a similar desktop (the WED 7000) for $100 cheaper, so you need to determine if this version has enough different features to justify the extra cost. I think the back lighting is very cool, but I know I do not use the keyboard in the dark too much. The mouse is great, though it is the same already available on the market ($90), it would be nice if they would tweak the one included in this desktop to help add some edge to the total package. I really like the new recharging hub and the 4 USB ports, as that will be something that will affect me on a daily basis. While I feel this combo is excellent, and one of Microsoft's best products, I think the cost may be prohibitive to some users. But if you feel there is value and can afford it, definitely go for it! Otherwise, the WED 7000 is still a very nice option.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 91.25%
Version Reviewed Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000
Release Date Out Now
In the Box Keyboard
Mouse
Recharging Hub
USB Transceiver
5 Energizer NiMH Rechargeable Batteries
Power Cord
Power Pack
Quick Start guide
IntelliPoint/IntelliType CD
3 other small flyers
The Good Points Sleek Aluminum Design
4 USB Ports
Charging Hub
Backlit keys
Features Best Suited for advanced versions of Vista
Windows Vista Certified
The Bad Points No keypad
Expensive
Keyboard is pretty flat
Mouse is the same as stand-alone
Similar Product Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000
System Requirements

Requires a PC that meets the requirements for and has installed one of these operating systems: Windows Vista® or Windows XP (XP Professional/Home Edition/Media Center Edition/Tablet PC Edition).

IMPORTANT:  For best results and Bluetooth® device compatibility, use the included Microsoft mini Bluetooth transceiver. Service Pack 2 is also required with Windows XP.

For a Windows-based PC:

Pentium 233 MHz or higher processor

128 MB of RAM

60 MB of available hard disk space

Internet Hot Keys are supported for use with:
Windows-based PC: Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.0 or later; MSN® Explorer versions 7.0 or 8.0; Netscape Navigator versions 6.1, 6.2, 7.0; and AOL , 6.2, 7.0; and AOL versions 7.0, 8.0, 9.0

Multimedia Hot Keys are supported for use with:
Windows-based PC: Versions of Microsoft CD Player, Microsoft Deluxe CD, Microsoft Windows Media® Player, and certain versions of other popular media players and browsers
Macintosh: iTunes

 

 

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