Microsoft Wireless Media Desktop 1000 (Black)
Microsoft's entry-level Wireless Media Desktop 1000 offers an affordable mouse-and-keyboard set for PC owners. At $50, it's less expensive than Logitech's $60 Cordless Desktop S520. We found few surprises with either desktop set, although Microsoft's design is not quite as thoughtful as its competition's. We prefer the Logitech set for its design, but if price is more important to you, the Microsoft Wireless Media Desktop 1000 is the best deal of the two.
The Microsoft mouse included in this desktop set is perfectly functional and thoroughly unremarkable. It is composed of two buttons, a scroll wheel, and an infrared sensor--and that's pretty much the story. The Logitech mouse comes with a laser sensor, but that's really only an advantage to gamers; and, if you're a serious enough gamer to care about mouse performance, chances are you'll want a separate gaming mouse with more features. You'll need to feed the Microsoft mouse two AA batteries, which are included in the box.
The Wireless Media Desktop 1000 keyboard has a bit more going on. In addition to its primary key layout, you get two separate rows of special-function keys along the top edge. You'll find familiar media-control keys, application and special-command hot keys, as well as a few unassigned keys that you can program using Microsoft's Intellipoint control software.
Microsoft actually gives you more extra hot keys than Logitech does, but we prefer the Logitech layout because it moves the hot keys below the space bar, thus making them more natural to use. If you prefer quantity over quality, Microsoft wins with 19 extra keys to Logitech's 10, but we find it worth asking whether you'll actually use those extra keys. Both keyboards have a hot key assigned to launch Windows' Calculator, a feature we appreciate in both cases.
Our other major criticism of Microsoft's desktop set is that the molded plastic keyboard and USB IR receiver feel thicker than they need to be. Unlike the trim Logitech keyboard, which lies flat, a bulge on the underside of the Microsoft keyboard gives it a slight upward curve. We're not sure why this needs to be there.
Logitech is perhaps second only to Apple in its lean, appealing product design, so we're not surprised to find ourselves favoring the feel of its desktop set over Microsoft's. We'll admit our preference for the feel of the Logitech keyboard is a bit subjective, but Microsoft's giant skipping rock of an IR receiver is proof that its design philosophy needs updating. Compared with the slick-looking Logitech receiver, Microsoft's looks like a relic from 1993.