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Some months ago gadget blogs were wowed by the announcement of a new top-of-the-range keyboard from Microsoft that offered features such as cool back-light with proximity sensor, an integrated USB hub, and a dock to charge the bundled mouse at the same time. Well this isn’t it. Despite appearing on the Microsoft site some months ago the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 is not actually arriving till September. In the mean time then, we’ve got its more modest but still rather spectacular flash – the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000. This package contains keyboard and mouse which are, to give them their rather wordy titles, a Desktop Entertainment 7000 keyboard and a Wireless Laser Mouse 8000.
The set is uses Bluetooth and a small USB dongle is included. The keyboard and mouse work as soon as you plug in the dongle but to get the most out of them you’ll definitely want to install the Intellipoint software. If you have Logitech software already installed the software will make you uninstall it first to avoid conflicts.
The keyboard and mouse together look every inch like modern sleek input device, with curves, angles and two tone colours. The keyboard has a slightly V-shaped design and ultra thin profile which Microsoft calls ‘Comfort Curve’ and ‘Quiet Keys’, the latter presumably because the less the keys have to travel the less clacking type noise they make. The edge drops down at the top centre of the keyboard though that appears just to be purely for design reasons.
I was surprised to find that it doesn’t even have small drop down legs to raise it up at an angle but this didn’t actually cause a problem and it was quite comfortable to type on. As far as I know this is the first curved keyboard to have flat keys, so if you’re a fan of those crazy split keyboards but also like notebook style keys, this could be your perfect keyboard. It lacks a number pad though, so accountants won’t like it.
It clearly designed with Windows Vista in mind, but it does work in Windows XP too. Microsoft has removed the Windows key from the left of the Space Bar and moved it to a dedicated plastic raised button beneath it that mimics the look of the new circular ‘Start’ button in Vista. It looks good and can be easily reached with the thumb so you don’t have to take your fingers off the keys. As the cursor then defaults to new Search box you can just press this and type to launch your application. It’s quite slick.
There’s another dedicated key with the Windows logo on the right – green instead of blue. This is designed to launch Windows Media Center, which is now included in most versions of Windows Vista.