PROS / This combo offers instant access to media, internet and other applications with its multiple hot keys.
CONS / The keyboard doesn't have a power switch or sleep mode to conserve battery life.
VERDICT / This versatile keyboard and mouse can simplify the management of daily data input as well as special media projects.
Microsoft delivers a competent wireless keyboard and mouse combo in its Wireless Desktop 3000. This pair has the right mix of standard features and desirable extras. Although it isn't entirely ergonomic or completely automated like some of its competitors, we liked its clean lines and attention to time-saving details. It takes its rightful place among the top 10 on our lineup.
The Desktop 3000 connects this keyboard and mouse to your computer with reliable 2.4 GHz wireless technology. Setup takes seconds – simply plug the wireless receiver into an available USB port on your computer, insert the batteries, switch on the mouse and allow them to sync. As long as you stay within the combo's 30-foot wireless range of operation, you should be able to easily control the at-work boardroom presentation or the at-home vacation slide show from across the room. Built-in hot keys on the keyboard for media playback, email, internet browsing and zoom functions make accessing and showing off your production a snap. The keyboard also allows you to customize a few hot keys to create "favorites" that will instantly open your most-used files and applications. It has enhanced F keys as well, which act as shortcuts to common key commands. While it doesn't have a power switch to conserve battery life, it does have a battery level indicator that displays a green light when there is ample power and a red light when the battery is running low. And, if you're taking your show on the road, you can snap the wireless receiver into a special compartment on the back of mouse so it won't get lost during transport.
The modest-looking mouse selected for the Desktop 3000 has more features than you might expect. It's equipped with Microsoft's BlueTrack technology, which combines both laser and optical scanners to track with precision on almost any surface. It also has a battery level indicator that monitors your power supply as well as an on/off switch to help conserve battery life over long periods of non-use.
Although this wireless mouse doesn't incorporate a specifically ergonomic design, it's small enough to fit comfortably in your hand and has smooth rubber side grips to help keep your mousing hand from tensing up. It features five programmable buttons and a four-way scroll wheel for scrolling up and down and side to side. Its partner, the sleek and slim wireless keyboard, is full-sized with a standard layout. It has low-profile, concave-shaped keys that provide a quiet, comfortable typing experience. It also features a cushioned palm rest for wrist support and flip-out feet for adjusting the height and angle. Finally, it's spill-resistant for those of us who like to have a beverage nearby while we're working.
The Desktop 3000 is one of just a few wireless keyboard and mouse combo sets in our lineup that supports both Windows (7, Vista and XP) and Mac OS X (v10.4 and higher) platforms. We like that the manufacturer goes a step further by acknowledging that some Mac users may not be running the newest OS and includes software for those running OS X v10.2x and 10.3x.
Microsoft provides substantial support for its customers. On their website, the product page for the Desktop 3000 contains PDFs for the keyboard's three-year warranty, product guide and technical data sheet. There is a link that leads to the Microsoft Product Solution Center as well as one that takes you to their hardware support. Both of these provide answers to common questions about setup and troubleshooting. There is also a toll-free telephone number that will connect you with a customer service representative or technician.
The Microsoft Desktop 3000 is an all-purpose wireless keyboard and mouse combo that will move back and forth between work and play without missing a beat. From its plug-and-play setup, to its numerous hot buttons, to its user-friendly palm rest and spill-resistant keypad, it proves itself a versatile and more than adequate wireless solution to your varied computer input requirements.