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Aero revamp for Microsoft wireless desktop set

The Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 7000 keyboard and mouse set is comfortable to use, good looking and has enough keys on the keyboard to make the mouse almost redundant.

The layout of the 7000’s keyboard is similar to that of its predecessor, the WLD 6000, but aesthetics is where the difference lies.

The 6000’s keyboard sought to make the most of Windows Vista from a functional perspective, with the shortcut key for Vista gadgets being the most obvious example.

However, Microsoft has dubbed the 7000’s keyboard the Aero Edition, building in a clear plastic border and chrome inset aimed at replicating the look of the windows in Vista’s Aero interface.

In keeping with the theme, many of the shortcut keys adhere to the so-called ‘floating’ and ‘translucent’ design features, being made of the same clear plastic. There are also three touch-sensitive, programmable favourites keys on the clear border.

It was difficult to programme these keys though, as you don’t know when you have activated them until you hear a slight click.

Each of the buttons, which were a block of black keys on the left of the 6000, have now been placed near the border and made translucent.

Along the left the gadget button of the previous model disappears, though the shortcuts for zoom, camera and My Documents remain. Along the top are clear plastic back, browser, email and Live Call buttons, along with media controls.

A second row of black function keys lies underneath, while the numeric keypad occupies the right as usual.

At 48.6x227cm, the keyboard is thin and lightweight, with rubberised feet to attach and adjust the angle.

The keys are comfortable and quiet to type on, aided by the Comfort Curve ergonomic design.

The aids for Vista functionality don’t disappear entirely though, as both the keyboard and mouse have buttons for accessing Flip 3D (to view and sort from all open windows). If you’re running XP, these buttons will open Instant Viewer instead.

The mouse shares the black plastic and chrome design of the keyboard and its sloping form factor makes it comfortable to use.

As well as Vista and XP the set is suitable for Mac users, although the mouse can’t be used by left-handers.

The keyboard runs on two AA batteries, while the mouse has a rechargeable AAA battery with a mains powered charging station. Microsoft claims up to three weeks power when the mouse’s battery is fully charged.

The mouse's indicator light blinks green to let you know it’s fully charged, along with left and right click buttons, forward and back browser buttons, four-way scrolling and a magnifier.

The USB dongle provides 2.4GHz wireless connection for the mouse.

As is often the case with Microsoft’s peripherals, the price is on the high side at $219.