Review: Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000

by Eric Grevstad

Microsoft's wireless desktop set features an ergonomic keyboard, the ambidextrous BlueTrack mouse and lots of customizable keys and buttons.

If you're a fan of Flip 3D, you'll like Microsoft's new cordless keyboard-and-mouse combo. The keyboard has a dedicated key -- to the right of the space bar, between Alt and the context-menu key -- that summons Windows' shuffle-stack of active application screens. Pressing the key repeatedly cycles through the screens; pressing Enter brings a program to the foreground. Prefer not to press a key? Clicking the mouse wheel launches Flip 3D too, with a left-click to pick an application. Clearly Microsoft wants those of us still using Alt-Tab to shape up.

Of course there's more to the Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 than Flip 3D (for one thing, the supplied driver software lets you reassign both the key and wheel click to different functions if you like). As its name implies, the $80 desk set is designed to be comfortable, if not as explicitly ergonomic as Microsoft's split-design Natural keyboards: While the left and right halves of the keyboard aren't separated, the keys are arranged in a gentle 6-degree curve or smile pattern that the company says encourages natural wrist posture without the learning curve of a split keyboard.

The 8.3-by-18.1-inch keyboard also sports a generous palm rest and detachable feet. The latter can elevate either the board's rear edge, for the slight uphill tilt that most PC typists prefer, or the front, for the wrist-cocking negative or downhill slope that ergonomists say is optimal. (If you like a flat keyboard, as we do, you drop the feet in the wastebasket.)

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This article was originally published on Tuesday Sep 8th 2009
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