Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000
Microsoft put some interesting touches on its fashionable Wireless Laser Desktop 6000. The mouse's high-definition laser might be the immediate attention grabber, but the mouse's ability to quickly magnify a word, an image, or an entire Web page with the push of a button is even more gratifying. At $89.99, this desktop is well priced. It loses some points, however, for its cheap, lightweight feel. If you're willing to shell out another $30, theoffers laser functionality, a few more function keys, and a more solid overall feel, which we prefer to that of the Laser Desktop 6000.
As with most wireless desktops, setup is easy. Connect the wireless receiver to your computer's PS/2 or USB port, then press the connect buttons on both desktop devices and the receiver. The keyboard and the mouse run on two AA batteries each, and Microsoft includes four batteries. To take full advantage of the desktop's features, you'll have to install the latest versions of Microsoft's IntelliType and IntelliPoint software via the included CD or by download from the Web site. However, installing the software simply adds a tab to your existing Mouse and Keyboard control panels; we prefer Logitech's SetPoint software, which lets you adjust desktop settings from a single menu.
The keyboard is average in size: 19.2 by 2.2 by 9.7 inches (LHW). Its ergonomic curved design makes for faster, more comfortable typing. If you're looking for a traditional clack from your keys, forget it: this keyboard keeps aural distractions to a minimum. Along the left side are five preprogrammed quick-launch keys for Web/Home, My Documents, Messenger, Mail, and Calendar, but you can reassign them to open files or Web pages and launch programs. To the right of these keys is the Zoom Slider, which magnifies or reduces the size of text or images, depending on the application you're using. It works surprisingly well, but the slider itself feels flimsy.
Along the top of the keyboard sit five programmable My Favorites buttons, which you can easily configure to open software programs, folders, files, drives, or Web pages. Much the same way you create presets on a radio, you simply open the object you want the button to control and hold the button down for a few seconds. The keyboard also has a set of media-player control buttons: Mute, Volume, Play/Pause, Stop, Previous Track, and Next Track.