Microsoft Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth

The Good Impressive wireless reception; lots of easy-to-program key commands; can use Bluetooth transceiver with other devices; padded wrist rest.

The Bad Requires Windows XP Service Pack 2; somewhat tricky to install; keyboard takes up a lot of desk space.

The Bottom Line The keyboard requires a good portion of your desk, but with its size comes an army of useful shortcut keys, a responsive mouse, and the ease and range of wireless Bluetooth technology.

Editors' Rating
7.5 Overall

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Microsoft Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth
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Setup
9
Features
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8
Support
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Review

Microsoft Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth

Microsoft Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth

Bluetooth keyboards and mice have long taken a backseat to their radio frequency-based (RF) cord-free brethren. Microsoft's $149 Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth, however, makes a solid case for ditching that big RF receiver on your desk once and for all. Connected to your computer wirelessly via an inch-long USB dongle, this keyboard and mouse combo is loaded with programmable features, tilt-wheel scrolling on both components, and consistent reception. All of this functionality may be too much for someone who's just looking to go wireless, though, and the keyboard's size doesn't lend itself to cramped work areas.

Installation can be a bit tricky, so following the included Getting Started booklet is a must. Adding Bluetooth to your PC is as simple as inserting the bundled USB transceiver dongle into a vacant port, but unlike with RF wireless devices, pairing the keyboard and mouse with your system calls for a little more effort. You'll need to navigate the multistep setup software and maintain your calm if it takes a couple of tries to recognize all of the devices. And before you get started, you'll need to download Windows XP with Service Pack 2 if you haven't already; SP2 is required for this keyboard and mouse set.

The keyboard is quite massive, measuring about 20 by 10.5 by 1.5 inches (HWD). Powered by three AA batteries, the keyboard also has an extensive set of quick-launch keys that you can easily customize through the software. Reassign them at will to open programs, files, Web pages, or shortcuts. The translucent-blue keys are well spaced with a nice spring to them--and little clacking. On the left edge, a tilt scrollwheel helps you navigate pages both horizontally and vertically, though its spongy feel might turn you off. Above the wheel, there are useful Back and Forward buttons. A comfortable, padded wrist rest is built into the keyboard, providing a much better cushion than the plastic ones you'll find on other keyboards.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $130
  • Brand Microsoft
  • Form Factor external
  • Compatibility PC
  • OS Required Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP2, Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2
  • Form Factor AA type
  • Type keyboard
  • Connectivity Technology wireless
  • Movement Detection Technology optical
  • Pointing Device / Manipulator mouse
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