Rich BrownFormer Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
ExpertiseSmart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
Freeing yourself from desktop cable clutter can be an uplifting experience. Once you discover the joys of using a wireless mouse and keyboard, you'll never want to return to your primitive tethered existence. With Belkin's $75 Wireless Keyboard and Optical Mouse kit, you can liberate yourself and not break the bank.
Upside: The benefits of wireless input devices speak for themselves: freedom of movement and no tangled mess on your desk. Belkin's kit offers an ambidextrous mouse, which means both lefties and righties can use it comfortably--great for those who switch mousing hands regularly to avoid repetitive stress injury. It's optical, too, so you don't have to worry about a rollerball becoming encrusted with grime and gunk. The keyboard's 14 hot keys provide quick access to e-mail, the Web, and other programs, and batteries are, in fact, included for both components.
Downside: Battery life is always a question with wireless technology, and the Belkin Wireless Keyboard and Optical Mouse is no exception; you'll need to keep a stash of AAA batteries for the keyboard and AAs for the mouse. The mouse has only two buttons and a scrollwheel, which might be enough for some, but many people have gotten used to thumb-side buttons for moving forward and backward through Web pages--a feature sadly missing here.
Outlook: This simple keyboard and mouse duo brings wireless input to the people. Despite the $75 manufacturer price, we've seen the kit going for between $40 and $50 from various online retailers. Dexterous multitaskers will want a more full-featured mouse, but if your goal is to get rid of cable clutter, this Belkin kit is a straightforward approach.
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