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 Review, Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop
User experience
By: Sverre Sjøthun, November 1, 2002  Print this article


Yet again, I’d like to stress the feeling of quality you get with this combination – the sound, the force you have to use on the keys, everything. Some of the keys, however, have a different location compared to what I’ve been used to, namely the Home, End, Page Up and Page Down and especially the Delete button. The Delete-key is twice the size of the others, and that was very awkward in the beginning. Now that I’m used to it, I actually find it much better than the “standard” layout, so it’s not just a gimmick to be different.

The different location of the keys

The different location of the keys

All of the F-keys have two functions – the regular F1 to F12 as well PrtScn and Pause Break. By releasing the F-Lock button, you get access to 14 new functions for navigating web pages, open documents, closing windows and so on. Personally, I did not find these “new” features to be very useful, as I’m accustomed to use the Ctrl + combinations to do the same thing, but your mileage may vary.

One thing that I found rather annoying is that the F-Lock is off at default. This means that you will have to press the F-Lock key every time you start your computer to get access to the regular F-keys, and I use these very frequent, especially the (Ctrl +) F4 (close) and F5 (refresh). Nor did I find any way to change this, so that the F-Lock key is on at default.

The wireless keyboard

The wireless keyboard

One thing that's worth mentioning is that as both the mouse and the keyboard runs off batteries, it is a very good idea to have back-up batteries available at any time. I have personally been in a situation at work where there were no batteries left on my optical Logitech mouse. This was very unfortunate, as many of our servers went down at the same time, but before I had the chance to do something about that, I had to search high and low for new batteries. Now I always keep at least two AA batteries available at any time, both at work and at home.

Yesterday, we heard reports on a man from Stavanger, the city where I live, that owned a HP wireless keyboard -- "About 10 pm I was sitting and watching TV when the computer, which was in sleep mode, suddenly began to buzz. I looked over and noticed it was waking up. I also saw a red light on the keyboard's receiver box blinking as if I was writing something," Helle said.

I can't see this happening with this combination, as I tested the range, and was unable to pick up any signals farther away than 2m, even with free sight, but if security is of outmost importance, you might want to go with either a regular combination or wireless with encryption, like the BlueTooth version of the Optical Desktop. More info on this curiosity can be found on Aftenposten - English edition.

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