Microsoft Wireless Desktop 3000 £33
29th Jul 2009 | 10:40
Bluetrack keyboard and mouse set for the price conscious
As a PC user your primary interface is going to be through the old faithful mouse and keyboard setup. Whether you're playing the latest games, browsing or writing amusing asides on Twitter, this interface twinset is your first port of call.
To that end Microsoft has just released its latest desktop set, twinning the BlueTrack-happy Wireless Mouse 5000 and the Wireless Keyboard 3000 v2.0.
Granted they're not the most snappily-titled of peripheral, but they're from the Microsoft stable so you can be relatively sure that the set's going to work out of the box as soon as you plug it in and that it's not going to fall apart after the first hundred words or so.
And both the keyboard and mouse in this kit are well built, with a weight to them that feels reassuring in the hand. The 2.4Ghz wireless connection is stable and fully allows us to type this review from across the room.
Though it's a little tough to read what we've written from over here... But on the desktop the lack of clutter that goes hand-in-hand with a wireless set is a big plus
It's awash with media and productivity buttons too, though the keyboard doesn't feel cluttered with all these extra inputs. The only problem I had though was with the low-fat function keys which operate like a laptop's set, with an 'F Lock' key allowing access to extra office commands.
These small-footprint keys also encompass the 'Esc' key which I use a lot through image checking or gaming, and unfortunately it needed a definite solid press to engage it and often I had to revisit the key a couple of times to reap the reward.
I had a similar problem with the middle button on the mouse too. I use the scroll wheel and button all the time while using the internet, to open a link in another tab for example, but the lack of precision on the scroll wheel often meant that if I were trying to press the wheel down it would scroll the minutest amount.
This meant that I always had to think before using the button or I would need a couple of goes at it.
There's no funky re-charging system such as that on the wireless Sidewinder X8, so standard AA batteries are the norm here, but the battery life on these kits are still pretty decent. Yet this is a fairly budget-conscious wireless desktop kit, coming in at just over thirty pounds, so you wouldn't expect many bells and whistles.
The BlueTrack technology in the mouse though is impressive and allows the device to operate even on rough carpet. Microsoft's decision to bring this technology down into its budget range of peripherals is welcome indeed.
So, in short it's a decent little budget kit. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, though the action of the keys is less so, and the mouse is solid and responsive. It's not the ideal choice for the gamers out there, but for use in an allround PC setup it fits the bill.