The long anticipated Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 is here, but does it impress? The entire package does a fine job of looking good while offering solid functionality, but we found it lacks greatly in a few key areas. The most notable being the price… at $300.
It goes without saying – Microsoft holds a large portion of the peripheral market. We have used their keyboards, mice, trackballs, joysticks, game pads, and who knows what else over the years. Microsoft (for the most part) has always made quality products for a variety of users, so peripherals were a small, but respectable business for them.
Well before the release of Vista last January, Microsoft teased us with a few photos of a very promising mouse and keyboard setup. The Desktop 8000 was supposed to be released along side Vista and take advantage of many of the operating-specific features that were to be introduced, and many innovative features for the keyboard that hadn’t been used before on the desktop.
Going forward a few months, they failed to deliver the 8000 at Vista’s release, and many months thereafter. But recently, Microsoft sent us a sample to test out.
Right off the bat, I need to say this keyboard and mouse package challenges what functions traditional products are capable of. In hindsight, getting to use a piece of plastic with more that a QWERTY keyboard next to two buttons and a scroll-wheel can really change your expectations of what it means to use a keyboard, which can be a good thing if it packs more than a few media buttons and an unusable software package. I’ll get to that later.
Now to put it simply, this keyboard is different. Excluding the fact that this is a media center keyboard, with specific features and functions designed for that use, the set is expensive. Really, really expensive.
No, really. The sticker-shock warning is in full effect here.
While it has a lot of interesting features, many of which we’ve never seen used in a setup such as this, the cost would make nearly anyone turn their heads and walk away. With an MSRP of $299.95, there is going to be a small portion of people willing to purchase the product.
Media Center keyboards are inherently expensive because they are usually wireless. Many sets cost upwards of $150, but in all honesty, $300 is high, regardless of how good the keyboard and mouse may be.
In this review, I’m going to let value affect the score, but I will let it be known that it is still strictly my opinion. Prices in the technological industry often go down, but at the time of writing a higher price can be argued as a fault of the product.