Microsoft has extended its range of wireless peripherals that use Bluetrack technology with the Wireless Desktop 3000; a combination of the Wireless Mouse 5000 and its next-generation Wireless Keyboard 3000.
The combo is simple and quick to set up thanks to the plug and play transceiver, while the keyboard is comfortable to type on with the mouse living up to the vendor’s claim of working well on most surfaces.
As Microsoft tells it, Bluetrack uses high-angle imaging optics to provide a larger and more accurate picture of the surface the mouse is being used on, enabling it to be used almost anywhere except on glass or mirrored surfaces. The technology debuted here with the Explorer mice and is touted as providing superior responsiveness on a diverse range of surfaces.
For this review, the Wireless Mouse 5000 was tested on wood, carpet and a textured workbench, and proved very responsive in each case.
Both the mouse and keyboard look smart – each has a pale grey plastic base and glossy black top, with blue highlights to reinforce the Bluetrack brand. There’s a small Bluetrack logo on the mouse, blue function key labels and thin, blue frames around some shortcut keys on the keyboard.
The keyboard is also spill resistant, while the keys and wrist rest make typing comfortable.
It also has all the shortcut keys you need to invoke common programmes, tasks and files. These include your photos and documents, email and internet, instant messaging, Media Player, media controls and five programmable ‘Favourites’ keys.
The keyboard includes a numeric keypad and battery status light.
The mouse has a rubberised, textured lower half for comfortable thumb grip. It also has a four-way wheel for tilting and scrolling, and each of the five mouse buttons are programmable. There’s also a magnifier on the mouse, and it can be used by left and right-handers.
The 2.4GHz Bluetooth transceiver allows you to use the two devices up to about nine metres away from where it’s plugged in. Like its predecessors, the mouse also has a slot to store the transceiver when you’re on the go.
The set comes bundled with Microsoft’s Intellipoint Pro 6.3 software for both Windows and Mac. This allows customisation of key settings, zoom and cursor blink speeds, and to check the status of your hardware in case trouble shooting is needed.
At $149 the set and the software are well priced. The keyboard won’t take up too much space at 467mm x 199mm and the mouse’s ease of use on most surfaces should allow you to throw away your mousemat for good.