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I owned a Microsoft Comfort keyboard previously which claimed to be able to cope with spills without breaking. That was true when it came to minor spills but when a full glass of water came tumbling over it then it died and it was time for a new one. I am an internet addict so in order to buy a new keyboard quickly I had to settle for the limited choice in my small town. The Microsoft Wireless 800 seemed like the best option, I was sick of all the wires trailing behind my desk and Microsoft is a good brand. As a bonus, it came with a free mouse.
To use the keyboard and mouse you need to set it up first. There is a tiny USB receiver which is simply plugged in and then two AA batteries are inserted into the mouse. The keyboard and mouse automatically installed themselves with no need for disks and were ready to use straight away. The receiver has a range of 15 metres, I have not tested this range but it works well enough on my desk which is the distance most people will need to know about.
The mouse has always been a dream to use, it is an optical mouse with scroll bar and it is completely responsive.
The keyboard, however has been a completely different matter. The battery low light comes on randomly for a few seconds, normally if there has been a break in typing for a couple of minutes. When this happens then when typing the keyboard leaves random letters out of words which is most annoying as I keep needing to go back and correct the typos. It leaves out the space bar and characters from the bottom row more than any other for some reason.
The keyboard itself is a fairly basic one. It is easy enough to use but is not ergonomic and the keys seem really hard after using the nicer Microsoft curve keyboard. The main annoyance is the lack of Euro symbol above the number keys, mind you we Brits don't tend to use that symbol much so work out for yourself how much annoyance the lack of one would cause you. There are a couple of nice little extra buttons on the Wireless 800 keyboard, mainly a start button,calculator shortcut and buttons for playing and adjusting the sound of your music player.
I'm really disappointed with my Microsoft Wireless 800 keyboard. I have no idea what causes the problem with the battery light coming on randomly causing it to stop typing but it is so annoying that it makes me hate this keyboard. I have tried changing the batteries but this makes no difference so it is obviously a flaw with either the keyboard or receiver but since the mouse works perfectly then I am guessing it is with the keyboard. I paid £20 for the keyboard and mouse and it was £20 badly spent on a poor quality product.
This keyboard was a replacement for my old wired one which was a pain in the so and so when moving around the lounge. The idea was to use it like a remote control for watching movies on my computer, and therfore it needed good range. If range is what you're after, this is a gem. I managed 9m before i got an intermittant signal where only a few keys registered, and at 10m it fully cuts out. What i will say though, is the little reciever is the smallest thing ever made and unless it is securely plugged into the port it will get lost. And guess what? You dont get a spare. You know when you take a pen drive apart and there is the USB connector inside, its just a silver plastic box the size of a matchbox car? That is the reciever. No bigger than that but with a black finish and microsoft written in 10pt text on the front. Talk about stylish...
The build quality where the keys are concerned is very good yet the piano black design is rubbish. Gliding some keys along it gently will ruin it leaving scratches all over the place, and because the keys are very deep they are a nightmare to clean. Even with compressed air you will struggle to get the crumbs out. The deep keys are however a good thing too because they provide comfort when typing meaning you wont get any nasty RSI's or broken finger tips. This makes it an easy to use keyboard and more to the point, a safer keyboard for people like me who value the use of their fingers.
Alright the biggest flaw is the LED's. There arent any when you discount the battery warning one. The amount of times i start typing and look up only to see a paragraph of text i need to re type. The annoying and tedius simple design is a bad thing too. Its easy to set up, simplicity creates fewer problems (and fewer things to go wrong mechanically) but its so annoying for it to not have a caps lock LED.
The keyboard has so far mechanically been sound, no problems to report and no loss of signal at either end. It isnt eating up batteries even after 2 months in use and as far as i can work out, isnt buzzing or getting hot like other wireless keyboards. Therfore, mechanically durable so thats at least worth a star on its own.
This isnt fantastic value for money, you can get cheaper keyboards for £15 even used wireless ones that are still in very good condition for less money but the keys are soft, they dont stick, and when you hit them at an angle they still register without fail. Problem is though this keyboard is Microsoft. Microsoft is a brand i have had issues with. Their xbox keyboard broke, red ring FOUR TIMES on my console, ripped off again and again for microsoft points and overpriced accessories, and this is no exception. For what it is its a rip off.
This is yet another microsoft product I am highly dissapointed with, i cant believe for £20 you dont get a caps lock LED, better build quality of the frame, a spare reciever or anything like that. You know where the money's going right? Microsoft's back pocket.