Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 3000
Comfortable, ergonomical keyboard and mouse
- Sleek design, intuitive software
- Awkward positioning of some mouse buttons
The Wireless Laser Desktop 3000 is a keyboard/mouse combo that offers comfort, ergonomics and intuitive software in a single package. Microsoft's higher-end products are better designed, but this package is decently priced and is fine for everyday use.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Microsoft has refreshed its line-up of wireless keyboard and mouse combos with the Wireless Laser Desktop 3000. This combo is distinguished from lower-end products by laser technology and media keys. The package is comfortable and easy to use, and offers some useful software-based features.
We think the Wireless Laser Desktop 3000 has quite a stylish design. The keyboard is slightly larger than standard size, owing mainly to its inclusion of media keys. The keyboard has a contoured edge and a two-tone colour scheme, a style geared towards a professional look. The mouse is also slightly larger than normal, something more indicative of ergonomics than it is of style.
One drawback of the combo is the size of its wireless receiver. Some wireless keyboard and mouse combos have the ability to recharge mouse or keyboard batteries, which requires a largish receiver. However, the Wireless Laser Desktop 3000 does not have this functionality. As both the keyboard and mouse in this package run on standard AA batteries, the receiver's excessive size is unnecessary; it would have been better to have a much more streamlined USB dongle.
Ergonomic design is a key quality in many Microsoft products, including this one. The keyboard is a standard QWERTY layout, though a slight concave shape allows for better touch typing and hand positioning. The keys are soft to the touch, making them more comfortable than standard keyboards. Typing on the keyboard was hassle-free, although we found the backspace key to be excessively loud. The mouse's ergonomics are also impressive. Its shape allows for good hand comfort, and the use of five buttons allows for greater functionality. The use of laser over optical technology allows for greater sensitivity in the mouse's movement. Its scroll wheel is quite resistive; this is a regular design choice by Microsoft that we find annoying, but ultimately it depends on the user's tastes. One drawback to the mouse is the positioning of the right side button. The button is essentially designed to be pressed by the fourth finger, and as this naturally slides down to the side of the mouse, the button's position can become quite awkward at times.
The accompanying software is a key highlight of the product. Separate software configuration controls for keyboard and mouse allow the user to customise a number of key assignments to suit their personal needs. We were impressed with the addition of mouse functions like Magnify and Instant View. Magnify allows the user to magnify a selected portion of the screen to enable easier reading; Instant View provides users with a Mac OS X-like Expose view of open applications. These functions are both assignable to a selected mouse button.
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