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Another Mouse and Keyboard for Your Consideration

Joel takes a look at the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 7000.

Joel P. Bruckenstein, 07/10/2008

Last month, I told of the demise of my keyboard/mouse set and I reviewed the first of two serious replacement contenders, the Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution. Although both the mouse and the keyboard had a distinctly different feel than my previous set, and even though I ran into a few minor glitches during the installation process, by the time I completed my initial tests, I decided that I liked the Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution a lot.

This month I look at the other new keyboard/mouse combination, the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 7000. Since my previous keyboard/mouse set, the Microsoft Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth, was from the same manufacturer, and since the suggested retail price for both units was identical, I had high hopes.

As was the case when I selected the Logitech set last month for review, I was looking for a premium set that offered plenty of features without sacrificing comfort and usability. A cursory examination of the Microsoft Hardware Web site led me to believe that this set might be a good choice. As was the case with the Logitech set, the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 7000 features what appeared to be an excellent rechargeable cordless laser mouse: The Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 7000. Although this mouse didn't feature as many buttons as last month's entry, the picture led me to believe that it had sufficient capabilities, and it appeared that it would be comfortable. I was not disappointed.

The Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 fit very comfortably in my hand. It is contoured, but the lines are not as extreme as those on the Logitech, so the transition might be easier for those used to a more traditional basic mouse shape. Precision and responsiveness were excellent.

Functionality was more than sufficient for all but the most demanding users. In addition to the traditional left and right mouse buttons, there is a scroll wheel capable of four way scrolling (up and down and side to side). By default, pushing down the scroll button launches the "instant viewer." This function takes all the open windows and tiles them for simultaneous viewing. This is extremely helpful for those who work with multiple windows on a regular basis, as many financial professionals do. When you see the one you want, you can click on it to select it. That window will then appear in the full screen view.

Two small buttons reside on the left side of the mouse where the thumb rests. By default, the front thumb button launches a magnifier and the right acts as a "back" button, but these are only the default settings. Using the included software, you can customize all of your buttons by choosing from a wide range of options.

According to Microsoft, the keyboard is "ergonomist approved." Unlike some ergonomic keyboards I've seen, however, this one's design is not so severe as to turn off traditional keyboard users. The keyboard keys have a slight curve to them. The keys are relatively soft and quiet.

The keyboard comes loaded with specialty keys. On the left, there are buttons to zoom in and out. Above those, there are buttons to open the My Pictures folder and the My Documents folder. In the upper let are the communications buttons. There is one to launch the Web browser (there's also a "back" button), one to launch the e-mail program, and one to launch Live Messenger. Next comes three favorites buttons that you can program to do whatever you want them to. To the right of these are all the audio/video buttons (volume, mute, launch Windows Media Player, etc.).

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