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 newsletter!
Apple iMac Pro
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Sport AT
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Tivoli PAL BT
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Smart Security Premium
ESET Internet Security
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Moto G6 review: A solid mid-tier effort with few compromises
- 5 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
Latest News Articles
- AMD introduces 12nm Radeon RX 590 GPU
- Razer introduces the BlackWidow Lite
- PAX AUS 2018: HyperX branch into membrane keyboards with Alloy Core RGB
- ASUS introduces Prime X299-Deluxe II and ROG Dominus Extreme
- MSI announces custom GeForce RTX 2070 Series
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- 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