Back to basics for me on LD. This one is just a straight-up, old fashioned gadget review.
This wireless laser Desktop 6000 v 3.0 mouse and keyboard have some pretty cool features, though the keyboard suffers from some serious performance drawbacks. I’ll start with the mouse, and then my impressions, and then the keyboard, and my further impressions.
The mouse is well shaped, comfortable, and has some nifty features. The front thumb button lets you magnify a small section of the screen, and the rear button lets you move back a page. In the settings area you can re-designate some different functions for those buttons. The USB wireless “dongle” fits into the bottom of the mouse; this dongle connects both thhe mouse and thhe keyboard.
The mouse has worked great so far. the plastic and rubber surfacing is comfortable and pleasantly tactile. The “magnify“ feature is OK, but the back button is awesome. When I use my portable mouse I reach for it, and I’m bummed that it’s not there. This is not an incredible innovation – features like this have been around a long time. But efficiency is a funny thing: once you get used to a simpler / faster / more efficient mechanism, it’s hard to give it up. Overall, I am very happy with the mouse.
The keyboard has similar whiz-bang features and a wrist-friendly layout. I’m used to using my old-school Dell keyboard, complete with coffee stains and non-ergonomic design. This new black and smoke gray model, with it’s ergonomic curvatures, enlarged “critical keys” and rubberized hand rests seems like a huge step up. There are some hot keys as well with useful shortcuts and lots of customization options. My favorite key is actually the “documents key;” you can use it to open a specific folder (like “My Documents.” 🙂 Again, efficiency is a pleasant thing, and easy to get used to.
Here’s the issue: performance has been spotty. When I first plugged in the dongle and tried to type I saw significant lag. For a minute or two the keystrokes would be fine, then all of a sudden no type appeared. Then ten seconds later, it all appeared in a rush. I try to delete or backup knowing that I mis-typed something, but no type is appearing (or disappearing.) Then I have to just stop and wait for things to realign. Sometimes it would type fine for a minute, and then lag for eight or ten characters, and then catch up again. Also, sometimes the keyboard seems to lose itself. By this I mean that though I haven’t moved the cursor or moused into a new application, suddenly the keyboard seems to stop typing, and I am forced to click on something else, and then click back into the “typing zone.” Not OK.
I tried moving the dongle to a couple of different USB ports, tried the “reset / reconnect” button, and also tried installing the software that came with the setup (I like to check for plug-and-play compatibility before installing software). After doing all of that, the performance improved significantly. Having shut down and re-booted a half dozen times while running these peripherals seems to have helped as well. At this point performance is largely acceptable, though not quite equivalent to my old PS/2 connected keyboard. However the ergonomics, hotkeys, and overall shiny-newness makes up for a lot. As long as they type-pace keeps up with the speed of the keystrokes, I think I will stick with it. But I’m not throwing out my old keyboard just yet.
This rig costs $99 retail – you can purchase it from Microsoft directly, or from any number of alternative online and traditional retailers. Overall I think it’s a pretty good rig. If I were forced to give it a numeric score from one to ten, I’d give it a 6. If performance were as solid as my old wired keyboard, I’d give it a 9. There’s another great review of this item over at IStartedSomething with some beautiful pictures if you want some more info on this setup.
This review is also posted at 1TO10REVIEWS.