Microsoft Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth


Second-gen keyboard/mouse makes steady advances

Month Reviewed: December 2004
Verdict: 8

This latest Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse combo corrects many of the problems we had with Microsoft’s initial Bluetooth desktop. For starters, the Bluetooth adapter that comes with this set is a fully functional Bluetooth receiver. That means it’s able to communicate with cell phones, printers, and PDAs. Hey, we wouldn’t accept anything less.

The keyboard uses a standard layout, plus 19 extra programmable keys. Like other Microsoft keyboards, these extra keys can be programmed to do almost anything you want, such as starting apps, opening folders, and controlling media applications. We have two minor gripes with the Microsoft keyboard. It still uses the unforgivable F-lock feature mentioned in the review above, and the delete and insert keys are in unconventional locations.

The mouse is a mixed bag as well. It shares the same basic design as the Wireless Intellimouse Explorer, and even includes the new tilting, smooth-scrolling wheel. Unfortunately, although the smooth scrolling of this mouse model feels awesome for desktop apps, it’s too sensitive in games. We didn’t experience this problem with the Intellimouse Explorer 4.0, which uses the same type of scrolling, so we hope a software fix will correct this problem down the road. Another concern: Battery life was significantly shorter than we like; and for a mouse that uses standard AA batteries rather than rechargeables, it’s a serious problem. --Will Smith

+ Bluetooth: Comes with a Bluetooth adapter that works the way Bluetooth adapters should.

- Bluebeard: The mouse wheel sensitivity problem is a killer, and we are concerned about mouse battery life.

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