Microsoft Wireless Media Centre Keyboard
- Media Centre functions at the touch of a button, cool design, responsive keys
- Poor mouse replacement, wireless technology sometimes a problem
For anyone with a media centre, this keyboard may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Whilst it may not be perfect, we’ve yet to see a better option for lounge room computing.
Price$ 199.95 (AUD)
Home theatres have slowly made the evolution from grey, ugly, boxy devices to sleek funky home entertainment units. Thus, they need equally funky control systems to keep things looking good. Enter the Windows Media Centre keyboard. Microsoft has designed a keyboard that goes hand in hand with their Media Centre operating system, offering all the functionality necessary to navigate the new OS, in a small and stylish design.
We were impressed with the size of the unit. It crams an awful lot of buttons into a relatively small, ergonomic design that won't look totally out of place in the average lounge room. The keyboard sports a regular QWERTY key layout, and kicks up at either side in a mass of controls for every conceivable media function. On the left are the playback controls, play, pause, stop etc, along with channel change, volume and mute. The right hand side is equipped with a number of shortcuts to the important functions of Windows MCE, such as the EPG and Recorded TV, as well as offering a directional pad and start button for navigation. Above the QWERTY keys are more shortcuts, along with a sleep key and a small thumbstick with mouse buttons for navigation without a conventional mouse. However we felt this feature was poorly implemented, and struggled to use it with any sense of accuracy, despite having practice using notebook mouse replacements in the past.
Thankfully the keyboard itself suffered no such problems. The keys felt well mounted and were comfortable to type on, although they were much shallower than the keys present on a regular keyboard, and those who have never used a laptop keyboard before may struggle with this change at first. The shortcut keys made navigation a breeze, enabling us to go from one sub-menu to any other, without necessitating a full menu search.
Unfortunately, however hard the keyboard tried to impress us, we occasionally met resistance from its wireless technology, seemingly willing it to fail. The MCE keyboard utilises infra-red wireless technology, which claims operation from a range of up to a 30 feet. We tested this, and true to its word, the keyboard worked from quite a long distance. It did however require near perfect line of sight, and we were plagued by drop outs every few minutes, which left us hammering keys in frustration. This was not the case all the time; more often than not the keyboard transmitted perfectly, but sometimes we'd find ourselves going to pause at a crucial moment and missing things entirely; a small blemish on an otherwise fantastic device.
For most people, the Media Centre keyboard will be a must-have device for their home theatre PC. The only situation where it may not be useful is if you already have a comprehensive remote control, but even then some basic typing functions are unavoidable. If you own a media centre PC, you owe it to yourself to at least check this out.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 3 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Future Intel CPUs could be cobbled together using different parts
- Intel digs deep to keep Moore's Law alive
- MIT researchers set out to create self-assembling chips
- Micron to ship Intel Optane competitor later this year
- Intel Optane Memory has a mission: Make hard drives faster than SSDs
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Subaru XV 2017 review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- TPBusiness Implementation ManagerNSW
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- FTDigital Content Specialist/ Content DesignerNSW
- TPApplication DeveloperACT
- FTProject Coordinator ($280-$300 per day)NSW
- CCProcess Improvement Specialist - TelcoVIC
- FTSolution Architect - StorageVIC
- CCCloud Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- FTAEM Architect - Blue Chip companyNSW
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorWA
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTProject ManagerVIC
- CCAutomation Developer - LinuxNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst, Superannuation productNSW
- CCDevOps Developer - TelcoVIC
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!QLD
- FTDigital Support ConsultantSA
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- CCChange and Communications ManagerQLD
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistQLD
- FTSecurity ArchitectWA