Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 review: Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000

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The Good High quality build. Backlit. Light, yet rugged. Rechargeable.

The Bad Far, far too expensive. Some may have trouble finding somewhere to put the rechargeable dock, considering the over/under arrangement. Mouse heats up when charging.

The Bottom Line Unless you desperately need a full-sized keyboard covered in silver to match your decor, we'd suggest you pass on the Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000, and go for one of the cheaper options.

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7.0 Overall

Review Sections

Design & Features
The Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 is intended for use with media centre PCs, and looks a lot like its predecessor the 7000 — same curved boomerang-esque, flat keyboard; same mouse; even the same layout on the keyboard, including the tiny trackpad on the top right-hand corner that can be switched to a mode that emulates arrow keys.

It still has the left and right mouse buttons on the left-hand side, the Windows Start button at the bottom, and the Windows Media Center button at the right. The function, Esc, Print Screen, Break, Home and End keys are still touch buttons, and you don't want to grab these by mistake when picking the keyboard up, lest you accidentally open a million and one windows you never wanted to. All the functions have a shifted function, enabled by the Fn key, which opens up five shortcut keys, Insert, Scroll lock, and five customisable keys.

Finally on the left is a magnifier button, shortcut for gadgets, volume, channel and media controls, while on the right is a back button for your browsing ease.

A few things have changed: the 8000 now has large amounts of silver splashed around liberally, and the darker areas that were on the 7000 are now gunmetal grey. The rechargeable dock that used to be just for the mouse now charges the keyboard as well, and acts as a four-port USB hub, which generally puts you in mind of an aircraft carrier, with the mouse looking like a helicopter when docked on top. The keyboard slides underneath to charge, and while it's a nifty idea, it also makes the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 the first keyboard bundle we're aware of that also comes with a power brick; the USB connection apparently not enough to haul recharging duties. A USB Bluetooth dongle is included to connect to your computer, and can be neatly tucked under the charging station in the fourth, recessed USB port.

The 8000's ace in the hole though is backlighting, allowing you to see the keys in the dark, perfect for when watching a movie. This shouldn't drain too much unnecessary power either, as the keyboard knows when you're near, actively turning the lights off when you're no longer using it. It also adjusts the brightness on the fly, depending on the light level of the room. If you're power-frugal, you can simply turn the intensity all the way down through a keyboard shortcut.

Although it's light, the 8000 feels solid, and would certainly survive a bash in the lounge room, even if kids were involved.

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