Creative Desktop Wireless 9000 Pro
From cell phones to monitors, superslim electronic devices are all the rage, and desktop accessories aren't about to be left out. The Creative Desktop Wireless 9000 Pro set squeezes a lot of multimedia functionality into an ultrathin keyboard and mouse set. However, it sacrifices comfort for sleekness, and for its $100 price, it offers less functionality than other desktop sets, such as the Editors' Choice-winning. We recommend the 9000 Pro primarily for PC users with limited desk space; otherwise, we prefer the Logitech MX3100.
The 9000 Pro's fairly standard setup process includes inserting the rechargeable batteries into the mouse and the keyboard--two AA batteries for the mouse and two AAA batteries for the keyboard--installing the drivers, and plugging in the USB receiver. Where this set differs from others we've seen is that it provides rechargeable batteries and uses the USB port to charge them. Creative recommends charging the batteries (via USB) for 8 hours, but we just plugged both in and started using them. The 9000 Pro's software utility integrates with the Windows Mouse and Keyboard control panels, though a small taskbar icon will bring you directly there. Our test unit worked right away, but you may need to press the connect buttons on the receiver, the mouse, and the keyboard to sync them up; props to Creative for placing the connect button on top of the keyboard instead of hiding it underneath, like on most wireless keyboards.
The keyboard is very slim--an inch thick--yet its design accommodates a row of silver quick keys along its top edge. You can program the 10 quick keys to open programs, perform functions (print or save, for example), or go directly to a file path or a Web address. We like the buttons' default settings, which can launch a Web browser, a media player, an e-mail application, bookmarks, desktop search, and a calculator, and can also refresh your current Web page or move your browser forward or back a page. The sleep button worked without a hitch, but the media controls didn't work with Windows Media Player. The large volume wheel doesn't double as a scrollwheel, as on some other sets we've seen. The main keys rise only slightly over the base, giving them the shallow travel and quiet response of keys on a laptop keyboard. We found the thin form factor a bit uncomfortable and missed having a wrist rest. We didn't warm to the keyboard's two high-level options, and we found a couple other design quirks odd: the media control keys are grouped together, but a silver bar separates the stop button from the others; also, the main Enter key is extralarge and occupies the space typically dedicated to the key., though they worked perfectly with , , and
At 800dpi, the mouse is fairly sensitive, and its curved body is comfortable to use for extended periods. In addition to the standard left-click, right-click, and scrollwheel buttons, the 9000 Pro mouse adds two programmable buttons on the left and right sides. They default to moving your Web browser backward or forward a page, but they can easily be programmed. They're also easy to hit by accident, but we appreciate the functionality they add to the set.
Creative offers the industry-standard one-year limited hardware warranty. Phone support is free (though the number itself is not toll-free) for the first 60 days from purchase, and it's open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. Creative's support Web site offers knowledge-base articles, user forums, and downloadable drivers as well as free e-mail support for the life of the warranty.