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Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 and Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 review
Posted on 4-Apr-2007 16:30 by M Freitas | Tags Filed under: Reviews

With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft has made some features that were previously only available separately through OEMS for the mainstream consumer (and business) markets. The top-end editions of Vista come with Media Centre built-in, and all versions support Vista Gadgets, small programs that live on the desktop showing updated information at any time.

To make the most of the new features, Microsoft developed some new hardware, namely new keyboard and desktop sets. These include the Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 Set (which I'm using day-to-day now) and the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 which I was able to check out for a brief period of time.

The keyboards, 6000 (top) and 7000 (bottom). Note the smaller size of the 7000

The Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 is a set with a thin keyboard measuring 48.7 cm and only 57 mm when legs extended, plus a mid-sized mouse measuring 12.6 cm in length and 7.42cm in width. The mouse weighs 152g with the two AA batteries.

Both devices in this set connect to the PC via a cordless link through a USB dongle, operating at 27kHz frequency. The mouse speed is 1,000 points per inch (39.4 points per millimetre) and tracking speed is up to 20 inches (508 millimetres) per second.

The charging stand (left), Wireless Mouse 7000 (centre), Wireless Mouse 6000 (right) and Bluetooth adapter (top)

The Wireless Laser Entertainment Desktop 7000 has an even thinner keyboard measuring only 45.1cm and only 1.97mm thick. The rechargeable mouse requires only one AA battery.

A 2.4 GHz wireless Bluetooth link is used to connect the Wireless Laser Entertainment Desktop 7000 to your computer. The set comes with a Bluetooth adapter if one is not already installed on your computer, and the main advantage is the compatibility with other devices, including mobile phones and PDAs.

Setting up the gear is in both cases pretty simple: just plug the receiver into a free USB port, insert the AA batteries into the keyboard and mouse, and pair the devices by pressing the reset buttons.

The software for both sets should be installed before connecting the devices, but the Intellipoint and Intellitype software are the same for both models. I recommend you download the software from the Microsoft website just in case an updated version is available.

The Bluetooth keyboard and mouse come factory-paired so you don't need to go through the usual Bluetooth routine of creating a pairing code and entering it - this is a nice convenience feature.

In use
Both sets are very nice to use for long periods of time. I use the Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 now for my daily work, and find both the keyboard and mouse very comfortable. In particular, I like the detachable soft wrist rest on the Desktop 6000 keyboard and the keys on it are distributed in a curved design with good travel and feedback when you type.

The Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 on the other hand requires some getting used to. The keys have a much shorter travel so you don't have to press as hard as keyboards. Also, as the Entertainment 7000 keyboard is designed to be used as a media centre remote control, you use it in your lap or on the coffee table in your living room. It's comfortable enough, but not what one would use for extended typing sessions. This is not the main purpose of the keyboard.

These are some feature rich keyboards and mice! The Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 comes with some special keys for browsing (Back, Forward), keys for quick access to content (My Documents, Browser, My Pictures, Email, Media Player and Instant Messaging/Internet Calling). It also comes with a Zoom key that enlarges or reduces the icons on your desktop, as well as Zoom In and Zoom Out in some applications (mainly Microsoft Office). And a Vista Gadget button that will start the Gadgets application, or bring it to the foreground.

Wireless Laser Desktop 6000

There's also a shortcut key to invoke the Windows Calculator application, as well as a dedicated Log Off key.

Windows Media Player can be controlled from the keyboards, and there are five different programmable keys to use with applications and macros of your choice.

On the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 you will find on the right side a tracking pad with an OK button. You can use this trackpad as a mouse replacement, and it works really well. It is particularly good for when using the keyboard as a remote for your Media Centre.

Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000

Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000

Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000

The Windows button is replaced on the Desktop 7000 with a Windows Vista Orb, but it's in the middle of the keyboard, below the space bar. It also comes with some special keys but has no separate numeric keyboard.

Both mice glide on a good mousepad, and provide features such as scrolling wheel and a tilt scroll button. Also both have buttons on the side that can be used for Back and Forward, or configured for a series of other actions.

I enjoy using the Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 - a lot. It's a very good keyboard with good response. The Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 seemed about right in terms of size for an entertainment unit you are supposed to use from the sofa.

Both keyboard and mouse (in both sets) report their battery levels through software, and you have a dedicated low battery indicator on the Wireless Laser Desktop 6000.

The Bluetooth works well, without interference, but the radio receiver (non-Bluetooth) used on the Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 sometimes works erratically when I plug my USB printer. I think it may be the low quality USB cable I use with my old printer, but this is the only time I've noticed problems with connections.

In both cases I tried playing some PC games and had no problem at all. The testing involved mainly games such as Age of Empires, Counter-Strike and Titan Quest. The mice generated good response from the games and I did not have problems using the sets for this purpose.

Both sets are excellent choices in terms of quality, integrating new functionality that Vista provides. Which one should you go for then? Well, take some time to think about your what you need in terms of features and what you'll use the keyboards for.

The Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 is more appropriate if you spend more time for pure Media Centre usage, while the Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 should be your choice if you need to type more and do traditional computer tasks. Either way, both sets are great input devices.

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