The Wireless Comfort Keyboard is light, and has a relatively low profile. The keys are angled in a slight horizontal arc, which allows you to place your wrists in a somewhat more natural position. It's not as comfortable as Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, but the Wireless Comfort Keyboard has the advantage of being easier to adjust to if you've never used an ergonomic keyboard.
The keys are also inferior to the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 6000, being louder and slightly more "creaky," meaning they offer a slightly vibrato resistance that I find annoying. Most Microsoft keyboards either ship in this condition or become so after a few months of regular use. As someone who uses keyboards all day long, this is a big deal to me. Others may not be as finicky.
One of my pet peeves about previous Microsoft keyboard models is the fact that the function keys (F1, F2, etc.) are not enabled by default -- you have to activate the F-Lock by pressing the key of the same name. Since most people use the real F keys more than their software-dependent alternatives, this is truly a ridiculous choice on the part of Microsoft. The Wireless Comfort Keyboard, however, leaves the F-Lock key on for as long as your computer has power. So even if you turn the machine off, F-Lock stays on until you either turn it off or unplug the computer. A power failure will also turn off the F-Lock key. This is a step in the right direction, but I'd still like to see the F-Lock key -- and the alternate F key functions -- eliminated entirely.
As far as extra keys, buttons, and functions, the Wireless Comfort Keyboard takes the cake. It has five buttons for Internet Explorer bookmarks and a button to open up the Favorite folder; seven multimedia control buttons; five buttons for communications and file functions; two buttons for sleep mode and logging out; a calculator button (I found this quite handy, as I often use the keypad with the Windows calculator program); and a zoom slider. All of these are fully programmable through the Microsoft IntelliType software.
The zoom slider is the only standout feature of the Wireless Comfort Keyboard -- the others were seen on many previous Microsoft models. Basically, the zoom slider zooms in or out when you are viewing pictures with a "supported" program like Microsoft Picture Viewer. In fact, that's the only program that I could get it to work with -- it didn't work in The GIMP, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. Perhaps if the zoom slider worked with a wider variety of applications, I would consider it a useful tool.
The Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 is undoubtedly the most comfortable mouse I've ever used. It's large enough for my hand; I can easily rest my palm on top of it without much pinky drag. The buttons depress softly and predictably, so there are no accidental clicks and finger stress is reduced. The wheel spins smoothly with a small amount of resistance. This makes scrolling through text a comfortable and silent process, but it makes gaming much more unpredictable. First-person shooter games often rely on the mouse wheel to switch weapons, and each click represents another level of weaponry. When you can't feel that click, you can't feel where you are in your weapon inventory. With practice and experience, you can eliminate most of the disadvantage this causes, but serious gamers may want to avoid the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 anyway.
The tracking of the laser (remember -- this is a laser, not an LED sensor like the optical mice use) is superb; it could read accurately on any surface I threw at it. I didn't experience any cursor jitter at all.
Both the keyboard and the mouse use the same wireless receiver, as in previous models and packages. I had no trouble connecting wirelessly, maintaining the connection, or avoiding interference. In fact, once the device was connected, I never had to think about the wireless connection again.
Does it work with GNU/Linux? Yes, but many of the special buttons and functions will not work without manually configuring your keyboard map and mouse settings. In Windows, the IntelliType and IntelliPoint software packages are required to use all of the special keys. Without it, about half of the extra functions will work.
The included IntelliType and IntelliPoint software is only available in 32-bit binaries. That means that 64-bit Windows users will not be able to take advantage of the extra features of the keyboard and mouse. GNU/Linux users will be able to use the basic functions of both devices, and further functionality can be added by manually adjusting the keyboard and mouse maps. I did have some trouble on FreeBSD 6.1 -- the keyboard acted up during installation, and the mouse didn't work at all.
The Wireless Comfort Keyboard is, as of this writing, sold only as part of the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 package. If you already have a good keyboard that you like, the Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 is available separately for about U.S. $45.
Overall I'd have to say that this desktop package is among the best replacements for standard OEM keyboards and mice for home users. It's certainly competition for some of Logitech's high-end desktop packages, but in general I think I prefer Logitech for "straight" keyboards.
Still, the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 is a great package. If you sit at the computer more frequently, you might find the Wireless Comfort Keyboard to be a suboptimal choice, but that heavily depends on your personal preference. Ergonomic considerations are a must when you spend long hours tapping away on a keyboard.
The mouse is as good as they come, unless you're into FPS games or any other activity that requires your mouse wheel to click in steps.
|Model||Wireless Laser Desktop 6000|
|Interface||USB, with a PS/2 adapter included|
|Price (retail)||U.S. $75 Buy it from Amazon.com|