Getting onto the Wireless Keyboard 3000 V2.0, it’s a fairly attractive affair: a relatively sleek and compact rectangle with rounded edges. Aside from the white trim it sports an appealing mix of matte and glossy black. Matte keys are set into a glossy surround for the main typing area, while the shiny shortcut keys are shown off against a matte background.
A permanently-attached wrist rest is coated in a pleasant soft-touch material, though personally I found the angle too low to be particularly comfortable. There’s no way to raise the keyboard’s front either, since the ingenious removable feet found on Microsoft’s excellent Wireless Laser Desktop 7000 have been done away with – a pity since it was a unique feature that (literally) lifted Microsoft’s keyboard above the competition.
Nevertheless the 3000s’ keyboard is generally quite comfortable, as you would hope from a company with the experience Microsoft has in this area. Its low-profile keys are shaped well and offer what is among the best feedback of any keyboard at this kind of price point. Just the right amount of travel combines with a positive click for every key to make typing a pleasure – if we had to choose we’d say Microsoft just about beats Logitech in this regard. With the exclusion of the spacebar, typing is also less noisy than on many rivals.
Along the top edge of the keyboard are 17 shortcut and multimedia keys arranged in four groups. The first one consists of home, chat, Skype and email buttons, the second offers six favourites buttons, the next group controls playback while the last section has volume controls. Of course each of these can be re-assigned, as can the zoom and document controls along the keyboard’s left side.
In addition to the dedicated shortcuts at the keyboard’s top, the F1-F12 keys also double as shortcuts – in fact the F-functions are set up as secondary, and need to be enabled by an F-lock button found above backspace. Rather than being grouped in threes or fours as on other keyboards, here the F-keys are all equally-spaced, which combines with the small function labels (the main ones on the keys being shortcut-icons) to make it far too easy to accidentally press the wrong one. Come on Microsoft, there’s a good reason these keys are grouped on most keyboards!
Other extras worth mentioning are the ever-essential calculator shortcut and a low-battery status indicator LED above the number pad. The 3000 Keyboard is also spill-resistant, with built-in drainage channels should that cup of coffee empty itself into your precious peripheral.