There are certainly keyboards geared towards every type of user: Gamers love those with tons of programmable hot keys like the Logitech G15 or Merc Stealth gaming keyboards and Apple users swear by their Mighty Mouse. The Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 ($79.95 street), on the other hand, offers a little something for everybody, with function keys for the power user and an ergonomic design for those with wrist issues. If you’re looking for a keyboard for a computer that is going to have multiple users, this one will work very well.
The 5000 has a slight six degree ergonomic curve that helps your wrists out subtly and won’t annoy you too much if you’re new to an ergonomic-style keyboard. It’s also very thin and sleek, almost elegant in appearance. The wrist rest is rubberized and textured, so it is comfortable but also helps keep your hands from sliding. Along the top of the keyboard are hotkeys for quick access to pictures, e-mail, and documents. There are also five easily programmable hotkeys and music and volume controls, below which are your standard “F” function keys. I found the key feedback to be a little soft for my taste, but it was even across the keyboard. After typing aggressively for an extended period of time, my hands still felt pretty good.
Even if your keyboard is perfectly functional, it might be worth picking out a new one like the 5000 when you upgrade your PC to Windows 7. You can easily link your function keys to the taskbar found in the new Windows 7 operating system, a handy feature that worked very well in my experience. I definitely recommend that you install the software that comes with the keyboard before you try to use it. I tried just popping in the batteries and plugging in the USB dongle and the keyboard would not sync until the fifth reboot. I also must admit that I never use those programmable function keys and an informal survey showed that few of my peers at PCMag.com do either, so I consider them a bonus feature at best.
The mouse is not the giant baseball-sized ergonomic design that Microsoft has been pushing recently but a comfortable palm-sized model featuring their proprietary BlueTrack technology. The mouse works on virtually any surface except mirrors or glass. So if you happen to have a glass or mirrored workspace, you will still need a mouse pad. I also liked that you can store your USB transceiver in a convenient clip underneath the mouse when you need to take it with you.
If I was in the market for a new mouse-and-keyboard combo, the Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 would definitely be at the top of my list. At $79.95 it’s not overpriced, especially with a high end Blue Track mouse included in the package. Other high-tech mice like Logitech’s Anywhere MX or Apple’s Mighty Mouse will cost you $79.99 and $69.99 respectively. With its ergonomic keyboard design and Windows 7 functionality to boot, the 5000 offers plenty of perks for any user.