"An excelent keyboard, keeping in mind that it is already top tier"4.5 starson by oniamien
Pros: Wireless (bluetooth,) customizable keys, comes with free mouse, has a built in trackpad, well made, good reception
Cons: Several keys that should be costumizable are not, expensive 9
Summary: To begin with, because I am using this keyboard with XP on a regular computer I will be adressing it from that standpoint, though it is technically marketed towards media center PCs running Vista.
This keyboard is really in the top teir of
there two main competitors to this keyboardUpdated
This keyboard is really in the top tier so it is difficult to compare as most keyboards will not be as good purely because they are not intended to be. It is also difficult to compair this keyboard within its own catagory because their are only two competitors to this keyboard, the Logitec diNovo Edge, and Microsoft's own successor to this keyboard, the 8000 model. If you are considering buying this keyboard I would definatly look at these as well. I will describe them briefly for comparison:
-Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000
Basically, it is identical to this model, the 7000, the only difference being modest improvments such as backlit key and a recharging docking station that doubles as a USB hub. The layout and other features are otherwise identical. However, the 8000 is twices as expensive or more, despite the relitively minor improvents. Despite the fact that the 8000 is clearly an improvement on the 7000, due to the huge increase in price I would argue that it is not really a viable competitor to the 7000 model unless money is no object, because for the price of the 7000 or the Edge you could get a keyboard that is almost as good and save 100+ dollars or buy yourself 1 or 2 extra peripherals for your computer.
Though I think that the Microsoft keyboard is very attractive, the Edge definatly goes out of its way in this department, and is roughly an equal to the 7000, though they are not identical. The function and auxilliary media keys are kind of cool because they only light up when the fn key is depressed, but this can be annoying because that means you only know where those keys are when you hold down another key; otherwise they are essentially invisible. Also, there have been mixed reports of the track pad and volume control not being responsive enought on some peoples computers (i.e. you have to drag your finger across the pad to many times to get from one side of the screen to the other) and because there is no toggle between scrolling and mouse control as there is on the 7000, it is easy to accidentally scroll when you only meant to move the mouse, or alternatively you may have trouble getting it to scroll when you want it to.
The 7000 has several features that really make it shine as a keyboard:
-IT HAS A BUILT IN TRACK PAD! This was the reason I bought this keyboard (though as mentioned previously the Edge also has one) and is really quite useful. It is specially designed so that you hold the left and right edges in each hand and use the right hand to control the trackpad and the left to operate the mouse clicks and the various media buttons. The Edge is not configured to be used this way; it works more like a traditional trackpad with the mouse buttons directly below the trackpad.
-Most (but not all) of the buttons are customizable, and the top row of function keys are touch sensitive as oppoosed to the traditional keys you press down on. The keys can be made to do certain actions (like go back or forward in web pages,) and open a program, file, or web page. However, there are some limitations to this I will mention later.
-The keyboard is nicely layed out on ergonomic curve, but the keys are not in the "wave" formation that those keyboards often have, nor are they split in to two sections. Personally I like this but some may not care or actually dislike it.
This keyboard is great overall, which is why I gave it a 9, but I could not give it a ten because there are some obvious things wrong with it that could easily have been fixed, but weren't.
-My biggest complaint, but also one of my favorite features, has to do with the customizable keys. Most keys can be assigned to a variety of functions, but some keys, particualarly the channel key because users without a TV card or a media center PC will have no use for it but it cannot be reassigned. As a matter of fact I cannot get the channel keys to do anything, or see any settings related to them (which is also true to the green windows button on the right of the keyboard [although the blue one in the middle works fine]) which may be because I am runnign XP, but I am not sure. In any case, a few other keys can be disable or modified but not reassigned (including things like the windows and application keys, the scroll lock key, and the volume keys, although the latter may not be a big deal since most people will probably like volume keys no matter what computer they are on) which seems in excusable as there is no technical reason that these keys could not have been made customizable. However, this is a flaw with many keyboards, so my irritation is mainly at the fact that a keyboard that costs this much should not have any limitations on assignablity, but unfortunatly this probably will likely continue for a while, no matter what keyboard you buy. On the up side, the Windows Live Call Button can be reassigned to anything, even a non Microsoft service like Skype, so if that was a concern for you then you don't have to worry. Also, many of the keys have an intended purpose related to their icon, like the button with a camera opening your pictures folder, but even these can be reassigned if you like. Also, you can make different key layouts that are automatically changed depending on which application you use, so if you are browsing the web you might make the previous track/next track buttons go back and forward in your browser instead, which is a nice feature to have automatically implimented by the software included with the keyboard.
-There is a dedicated (but reassignable) back button but no forward button. Most people probably have not had a keyboard with a forward button, but my laptop has one and it is actually very useful. While it is true that most keyboards do not have such a key and thus the 7000 is not really worse in this regard, I feel like it should have been included given that this is a top of the line key board.
Overall, I really like this keyboard, and most of the problems with it are problems that affect most other keyboards anyway, so it is more of a relative problem rather than an outright flaw. Also, it comes with a decen 5 button mouse (clickable scroll wheel) with a scroll wheel that goes side to side as well as up and down. I would call the mouse merely ok, although it is certainly a lot better than a baseline mouse. It is also rechargeable, comes with its own chargeing station, and uses the same bluetooth dongle as the keyboard. This mitigates the cost somewhat, but then again cost comes with the territory because you are buying a first class keyboard. It may not be the best bargain, but the extra money that you invest in this keyboard is certainly not wasted (though I can't say the same for the 8000.) I definatly reccomend this keyboard, but be sure to check out the diNovo Edge because you may oe may not like it better (though it is more expensive and does not come with a mouse) and it is roughly equal to this keyboard.