Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 Review

Wireless keyboards and mice can be a real boon to a lot of users. They can offer freedom of movement, supplement smaller keyboards on laptop, etc. You can find an amazing range of options now- ergonomic, enhanced, bare basics, and more. They are also considered a security no-no. The Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 addresses this with 128bit encryption, for under $40!

I know some readers are going to skip this as just another keyboard/mouse review, and to an extent, they will be right but the Wireless Desktop 2000 has a few tricks up its sleeve that may interest you.

128 bit encryption. This the strong point Microsoft is claiming for this system- high quality security between peripherals. Apparently, many keyboards broadcast their signals further than you would expect, and this signal can be picked up and decoded by anyone interested who happens to be in range with the right set-up. By encoding the signal, this set defeats this issue neatly.

Ergonomic elements. There is a subtle curve to the keyboard from left to right, and a gentle ‘wave’ from front to back. There is a ‘pillow-textured’ wrist rest (that as usual seems too low for my wrists to rest on), and the mouse has that nice high-backed curve that lets your hand rest on it naturally.

Extra features. As with so many other keyboards today, this one also features buttons and controls for music, zooming, a calculator, common Windows 7 keys, and more. The mouse has some interesting features as well such as ‘Blue Track Technology’ that works on a wide variety of surfaces and a 4-way scrolling wheel.

Pricing. This combination retails for under $40, which makes it a very affordable option… if it actually works and holds up. The earlier features interest me, but quite frankly- this is the feature that would most likely sell me on this device.

What comes in the box.  (I apologize for the bad photos- I am using an unfamiliar camera right now.) 

The packaging is pretty typical- keyboard, mouse, USB dongle, a pair each of AA and AAA name-brand batteries, the CD, a product guide (basically warnings) and an icon-based ‘Start Here’ booklet. According to the start booklet, you start by loading the CD, which whisks you down the Microsoft rabbit hole. You’ll be asked if you want to register the device. Foolishly, I tried this and got sucked into a whirlwind of re-doing my Microsoft Live ID and more. Yeesh. OK, then we put in the batteries, and plug in the USB dongle- this all goes smoothly.

After a couple minutes, the computer recognized the mouse, let me open an app, and recognized the keyboard. There is a period in which the computer seems to identify a burning need to load more keyboard and mouse drivers as you try different features, but it goes pretty smoothly. Once everyone is happy, everything  just plain works. No special training for the volume or zooming controls, etc. In fact, it works well enough that I am using it to write this review.

In use, although admittedly not the most likely use scenario!

There is a small program each for the mouse and keyboard that allows you tune the settings, set the hot keys, etc. Nothing fancy but it looks and feels familiar so I did not feel a need for additional instructions.

Some of the specialty keys- the blue keys are the ‘Windows 7 Tasks’

Both the keyboard and the mouse are solid, responsive, and feel well-built. I cannot fault either one, especially at this price. The little flip-down legs on the back that are so chintzy in so many other keyboards are wide and feel solid. The mouse feels great in my hand, and the Blue Track technology seems pretty effective- no mouse pad or even really smooth surface and it tracked effortlessly. I really cannot test the security aspect of it, but a quick internet search reveals more about security leaks from wireless keyboards than I ever suspected.

OK, so there is no backlighting in the keyboard, and the dark blue ‘Windows 7 Task Keys’ are hard to see against the shiny black surface, but these are about the only two things I can find wrong with this set… other than the detail that I will never remember what all the icons mean. Overall- nice set for a nice price with the added insurance of encryption.

 

Product Information

Price:$49.95 MSRP, $39.95 'street'
Manufacturer:Microsoft
Retailer:Amazon.com
Pros:
  • 128 bit encryption
  • Low cost
Cons:
  • None
Posted in: Computer Gear, Laptops and Gear, Reviews

60 comments… add one

  • James Okola July 19, 2011, 3:01 pm

    These photos are terrible. I am surprised The Gadgeteer would even publish a review that hardly goes into any depth about a product and has terrible quality photos.

    No mention as to the feel of the keyboard, the accuracy of the mouse tracking, the battery life, or anything like that.

    Sounds like a rushed review that needs to be seriously revised before it should be published.

  • Mark Adkins July 19, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I completely agree about the photos. My usual camera died, and tried my cell camera and another camera we have, and of the dozens of photos I took I used the best. I’m hoping to be able to get a new camera soon. I’ll borrow one for the next review.

    As to the keyboard and mouse tracking- I felt that the next to last paragraph addressed both of these points. I even pointed out that the mouse tracked well. If there is something additional you want to know about the keyboard feel, please let me know.

    Battery life- When I review something in a new category for me, I check out other reviews of similar items to see what issues to look for. Battery life on sets like this is not often mentioned, and when it is it often just parrots the makers claim. I did not find a manufacturer’s claim to base anything on. I would have been more concerned about it if it were an internally charged battery that you had to set in a charger periodically.

    If there is anything else you wanted to know about this product that I did not mention, let me know and I will try to answer it for you.

  • James Okola July 20, 2011, 10:06 am

    I would like to know if the keyboard feels “mushy” or is it clicky, this is a relative thing and is never available on the manufacturer’s website.

    Battery life in proprietary wireless keyboards and mice is usually pretty good — a few months to a year or so. Would have been nice to at least mention others’ experiences, or what the manufacturer says. But sometimes they’re sheepish about what it is, as you mentioned.

    You mentioned they felt well-built for the price; are you saying they are well built peripherals, or they aren’t particularly well built but the low price makes up for it?

    Finally, does the set work on a Mac? I realize it probably will if you plug in the transmitter, but what does the manufacturer say?

  • John Kes July 20, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Why is 128 bit encryption such a big deal? Logitech has had that for years.

  • Mark Adkins July 20, 2011, 11:47 pm

    @James-
    – Keyboard is neither mushy, nor clicky. It feels almost exactly like the keyboard on my HP laptop or the ones I use at work.
    – The system IS Mac compatible, per the website.
    – I meant that these are very nice devices at a nice low price.
    – Battery life- I am not even sure what you would use as a standard here- it would almost have to be rated by number of keystrokes.

    @John- When I went to Logitech’s site, there is no mention of encryption on any of their current keyboards or combo sets, and none of their sets on-line are in this price point. Amazon does list several with encryption- but oddly- of the few that show up on Logitech’s site also, I cannot find one yet that that mentioned encryption as a specification. Odd.

  • Pole October 12, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Hi Mark, do you have any news about battery life ?

    Thank You

    Enrico

  • Mark Adkins October 12, 2011, 12:53 pm

    @Pole- I have been using the keyboard and mouse as my primary input devices at home now for about a month with no sign of battery problems, even after leaving the mouse on all night accidentally rather often.

  • Drawin Kumar October 27, 2011, 8:07 am

    Does the mouse feature 4 way scrolling?
    Please verify and respond. It is not mentioned on MS site and I think you have mentioned it by mistake.
    Thanks for the review.

  • Mark Adkins October 27, 2011, 8:38 am

    As per the website listed in the article:
    ” The desktop is completed with a wireless, full-size mouse that features enhanced side grips, four-way scrolling and Blue Track technology.”

    The scroll wheel works in both the normal mode, and can be pressed left or right to let you scroll that way as well. It does not move the cursor itself- it causes the page to move left or right, just like the up and down scroll wheel moves the page up or down but not the cursor itself.

  • Drawin Kumar October 27, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up.
    I read the Technical Data Sheet & it does have 4-way scroll. But its not the USP here so MS ignored it.

  • Mike C October 31, 2011, 7:59 pm

    I purchased the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 about two weeks ago. The mouse works well, and it did right out of the box. The keyboard is another story. There is significant lag at startup while the laptop recognizes the keyboard, and between pressing keys and seeing results on the screen, but that is probably related to my real issue – battery life. I installed this keyboard and mouse about 10 days ago, and have already gone through two sets of batteries, and have just inserted the third set. Computer was powered off 4 days ago and when powered on, keyboard batteries were dead. Mouse was alive and well. Suspect a defective keyboard.

  • Drawin Kumar November 1, 2011, 3:49 am

    I bought it yesterday so I can’t comment on its battery life but my mouse works fine with a single battery in either of the two slots. And it reduces weight of the mouse too. The keyboard also has a slot to store the USB receiver near the battery compartment. Everything seems fine with the set except that the top part of the keyboard is glossy and prone to fingermarks. The function keys are rather small and uni-formally placed to add to aesthetics but it is difficult to locate them without looking as I am used to the function keys being grouped in fours(Standard Layout).

  • Shaun December 6, 2011, 8:20 pm

    Looking forward to giving my review on this as I’ve just purchased this set. It’ll be my second MS wireless keyboard and mouse kit. Admittedly, one of the things that did sell me was the encryption.

  • Drawin Kumar December 25, 2011, 2:19 am

    The battery of the mouse died after 1month and 20 days. I had inserted only 1battery so I with two batteries it will last for 3 months with 8 hours daily use and switched off for the rest time. The keyboard is still going on after around two months. I am overall satisfied with its performance.

  • Lars January 16, 2012, 6:40 am

    Is there a way to shut off the keyboard? Or does it turn itself off when the computer is turned off?

    I know, im a neewb, but cant fint an on and off button on this keyboard. This is my first wireless keyboard, so just need to ask:)

    • Mark Adkins January 16, 2012, 7:08 am

      No on/off, but if no one is typinq there does not seem to be an energy drain- so it is not needed.

  • Lars January 16, 2012, 7:39 am

    ok:) Hope that the battery life will stay up then, think a on/off would be nice, but then again, if it does not use power at all standing still, its just fine:)

    Would you pull out the batteries when you dont use it then? or just let it stand?

    Thanx for answering :)

  • Mark Adkins January 16, 2012, 7:43 am

    I just let it stand.

  • james January 24, 2012, 11:46 am

    No one mentions that the darn keyboard does not indicate when the Caps is locked!!!

    That’s really irritating.

    There is also an apparent light near the right top with a half full battery symbol next to it – I suppose it comes on when the batteries are nearly flat???

    And all those blue icons, what do they mean? They could at least have included a booklet explaining the keyboard and telling us why there is no on off switch.

    I hate it when a good product is compromised like this one is.

  • Drawin Kumar January 24, 2012, 12:26 pm

    None of the wireless keyboard has status lights ( Caps, Num & Scroll) to save power. If you installed IntelliType then it shows visual notification. Also you can turn on toggle keys so that there is a beep whenever status of the keys change. On the power switch part it is better without one as it is cumbersome having to turn all your devices manually. I think it has auto-power management as I am using it since three months without battery change. I hope that the mouse too was similarly intelligent :)

  • Drawin Kumar January 24, 2012, 12:35 pm

    The 4-way scroll in this mice is proprietary and works only with a handful of applications after installing IntelliPoint. On the other hand Logitech mice it is generic and works on all programs.
    I use Wizmouse which allows me to scroll a window without focusing on it(Hover and Scroll like Linux). But this mice doesn’t support that.
    Shame on µsoft to implement proprietary features and not open standards. A mice can support 4 way scroll natively without any software but with the foolish µsoft you are always a slave.

  • Mark Adkins January 24, 2012, 5:48 pm

    @ James- there is on on-screen indicator when the caps lock is on, and a troubleshooting article about the lights. I agree that some of this should have been better explained in the manual.

  • kevin February 1, 2012, 6:04 pm

    Can you please advise the function of the Fn key thank you

  • Mark Adkins February 1, 2012, 7:07 pm

    @ Kevin- The ‘FN’ key acts like a second kind of ‘shift’ to allow you to access additional features of keys, written in blue- opening folders, going back, spell check, etc.

  • Julie Hogan February 7, 2012, 9:29 pm

    Okay, I’m a dork. I’ve had this for months, and apparently tossed any information with it, so now the mouse stopped working and I cannot figure out how to replace the battery – I replaced the batteries in the keyboard, is that all there are? I cannot seem to get the mouse to re-sync for use. Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  • Mark Adkins February 7, 2012, 9:54 pm

    @ Julie- I’m away from my comp so cannot just look at it, but you can get the manual at the link in the article.

  • Julie Hogan February 7, 2012, 10:01 pm

    Got it thanks. Long day, thanks again.

  • kevin February 8, 2012, 12:35 am

    I read post by Drawin Kumar 24 Jan 2012 re caps lock would you please advise how to turn on beep in toggle keys thank you

  • Drawin Kumar February 8, 2012, 12:43 am

    @kevin
    To turn on toggle keys
    1. Press Win + U (this opens Ease of Access Centre)
    2. Select “Make the keyboard easier to use”
    3. Under the “Make it easier to type” section tick the Checkbox next to “Turn on Toggle Keys”.
    Hope you got it.

  • kevin February 8, 2012, 4:53 am

    Thank you Drawin Kuma

  • Kalli February 10, 2012, 2:52 pm

    My mouse and keyboard stopped working suddenly…I changed the batteries in both…have tried the usb in different ports…I’ve unplugged everything and restarted my computer….do you have any suggestions?

  • Mark Adkins February 10, 2012, 4:47 pm

    @ Kalli
    (I am not at home, so don’t have a lot of resources to apply right now.)

    I would suggest trying either the ‘generic device problems process’ or contacting Microsoft through the link in the article.

    The generic solution would be to first try deleting the drivers in the Device Manger and restarting the computer to let it re-discover the keyboard. If that did not work, I would uninstall the drivers and start over again following the manual steps.

  • Mike Wargo March 19, 2012, 8:36 pm

    I just purchased this combo, and the mouse is erratic at times. Other times it works fine. Would the web site I am on, have any effect on the mouse ?? I have already tried different batteries, and followed the advice on the Microsoft website. I can still return the unit if you believe it is defective, or is it just the way these wireless units work ? My old DEll wired unit, worked perfectly. I was even considering exchanging this unit for the Logitech MK 380. Comments, suggesctions, please. Thanks, Mike

  • Drawin Kumar March 19, 2012, 9:17 pm

    I have been using it for almost 6 months now without any complain. Your piece might be defective though. It works on most surfaces so mouse pad cannot be an issue except if the surface is glass. Also connect it directly and not via some hub as it will lag then.

  • Shaun April 1, 2012, 4:14 am

    Ok, I’ve used this keyboard and mouse combo for approximately 5 months on the initial batteries that came with the equipment. I use my machine EVERY DAY! I’ve switched from using the keyboard and mouse on my bed to on a desk. Initially I switched it off when I left for work but that was for the first 2 weeks. Now it’s April 1st (no fools on this) and I have finally just changed the batteries. Although I partially blame this on the batteries (Duracell), the fact that this device kept it this long is commendable.

    It’s also comfortable. The keys aren’t too squishy but don’t “clack” loudly. It’s not uncomfortable with the way my fingers lay on the home keys. It *does* need a back light.

    On top of the security that comes with the device, the ability to use the mouse on virtually almost any surface. As of this writing, I STILL have not changed the batteries in the keyboard. Just the mouse(which has a nice glowing red indicator at the top).

    The mouse responsive (I can game with this mouse without issue – Crysis/Crysis 2/ Batman Arkham Asylum/Batman Arkham City/City of Heroes/City of Villians/ and soon will probably play Battlefield 3). The keyboard does well as well with no lag with typing or moving around in a game.

    I’m happy with my purchase. I wrote my first comment in November after purchasing it from Best Buy. I really like this set, and I think Microsoft did a good job engineering this keyboard. Well worth it.

  • Shaun April 1, 2012, 4:16 am

    **edit from my last post**

    Ok, I posted in December but still – 3 months is still a very long time.

  • Drawin Kumar April 1, 2012, 4:47 am

    About the back-light: it is needed only for beginner computer users as you need to learn touch-typing sooner or later if you want to keep your body safe from various strains. And for wireless devices the LEDs are real power draining component. Its best practice to avoid them wherever feasible.

  • Shaun April 1, 2012, 5:41 am

    In regards to the back-light:
    I’d have to disagree. I find the back-light really useful in night typing. That’s a really generalized statement to make, though it does have some merit and forgive me but I find it a bit insulting that you think only beginner computer users need it. Back-lights in my opinion help when you just happen to mistype something or you’re looking for a key/hotkey/etc.

    As for battery drain with LEDs, I agree that it can reduce battery life significantly but I think adding a switch to be able to turn this on or off may help with this. A few companies, such as logitech, have added this feature. Will it last months on a single charge? No, but it may have a rechargable feature to it that allows you to recharge the battery easily.

    Saying it’s best practice to avoid LED back-lit keyboards whenever feasible is saying these are not useful at all. It all depends on application – what you are going to use it for.

    I’m not saying your opinion isn’t valid, it’s your opinion. However, I do disagree with it.

  • Drawin Kumar April 1, 2012, 6:05 am

    You are right about the as per need thing. Though in wireless keyboards, LEDs are even absent for status lights. And rechargeable ones are costly as well as need accessories. This is a basic model with all features at a balance :)

  • dan April 12, 2012, 2:01 am

    Hi I just bought this keyboard and mouse and I’m wondering how do you turn the keyboard off for the night??

    • Mark Adkins April 12, 2012, 2:05 am

      It just goes to sleep.

  • maroosh April 24, 2012, 12:50 am

    Hi, I just bought this desktop. I noticed a switch under the mouse – it turns the blue light off. Is this an on off switch?

    • Mark Adkins April 24, 2012, 12:52 am

      Yep!

  • Frank May 24, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Where can I get a manual to use the keyboard? Or it must be on the trial and error routine? Those blue buttons only God knows what they are there for!

  • Drawin Kumar May 24, 2012, 9:20 pm

    @Frank see this http://neodns.tk/keyboard.jpg
    In the keyboard settings you can get a hint what the blue buttons do :)

  • Greg December 19, 2012, 3:45 pm

    I bought this keyboard a while ago, but I am having issues with the key apes turning back on now. After turning on the computer, with the receiver in it, the keyboard light turns on momentarily but goes away and it won’t work. I try new batteries and it does the same thing, so I don’t think they are dead. I seems like it won’t return from sleep mode. Any suggestions on how to fix this?

  • Drawin Kumar December 19, 2012, 10:00 pm

    @Greg: It seems like a faulty keyboard since the mouse is working fine.I will suggest that you get it replaced via a Microsoft Hardware Service Center in your area.

  • Farukh shaah January 5, 2013, 8:40 am

    Crap man. I used this keyboard from the last 2.5 months. And the problem facing with keys. I have to press more pressure to write the letter on the screen. Its not for daily use. And not also business purpose. What you say Mark.

  • Farukh shaah January 5, 2013, 8:53 am

    Its creating problem man. I used this keyboard from the last 2.5 months. And the problem facing with keys. I have to press more pressure to write the letter on the screen. Its not for daily use. And not also business purpose. What you say?

  • Mark Adkins January 6, 2013, 11:35 am

    @Farukh- I am not using the keyboard lately (changed my set-up over the summer) but mine never took any special effort to type. You may have a defective one, or perhaps your previous board was a ‘light touch’ version?

  • Andreea February 14, 2013, 1:39 pm

    I bought this keyboard a week ago and I can’t figure out how to turn on the Windows 7 keys. I press them and nothing happens. Can you please help me? I really don’t know what to do.

  • Drawin Kumar February 14, 2013, 10:21 pm

    @Andreea: U need to install Microsoft Intellitype Pro. It is in the cd with the keyboard or u can download it too.

  • rahul February 18, 2013, 9:30 am

    Where can I get a manual to use the keyboard ? Or it must be on the trial and error routine ? Those blue buttons only God knows what they are there for…

  • Drawin Kumar February 18, 2013, 11:20 am

    @Rahul see this http://neodns.tk/keyboard.jpg
    I have put this comment before also.
    In the keyboard settings you can get a hint what the blue buttons do :)

  • Mark Adkins February 18, 2013, 12:49 pm

    @Rahul- the manual is also available at the link to the product in the article. It is not a great manual, but it helps.

  • JUSTCALLJALORE April 4, 2013, 1:19 pm

    Looking forward to giving my review on this as I’ve just purchased this set. It’ll be my second MS wireless keyboard and mouse kit. Admittedly, one of the things that did sell me was the encryption.

  • Alex April 4, 2013, 1:57 pm

    i purchased the keyboard and mouse, i installed it with the disk and tried every single USB port in my computer and i still can not get it to work? i am running Windows XP Professional Version 2002. Any Help or advice how to get it to work? or does it not support on the windows that i am running?

  • Drawin Kumar April 5, 2013, 4:27 am

    @Alex try the usb receiver on a different computer to check if the keyboard is faulty.

  • gvanburen January 4, 2014, 3:09 pm

    Does anyone know if the Blue tooth or bluetrak technology conflict with multiple workstations? Example>>> If this was used in a business environment and someone was say 5 feet away with the same keyboard and mouse setup, could signals mix? don’t think it works this way but just wanted to know? also is this setup a true Blue tooth technology?

  • Lal September 26, 2014, 3:45 am

    This is the worst keyboard I ever used.
    I am very angry that I bought that s*t.

    There is no gap between “Insert” and “Return” Keys.
    There is no gap between “NumLock” and “PgUp”.
    Therefore, I often miss the keys and have to look at the keyboard.

    The escape key and the functions key are much smaller than the other keys.
    Consequence is that I miss these key very often.
    To push Escape, I need to look at my keyboard first.
    The debug is VB or VS, with F8, F10, …, I also need to look at the keyboard.
    I even need to look very carefully, since the Fn keys are not group by 4 separated by a gap.

    The inner curvature of the keyboard is a nigthmare.
    Because of that, I need to “push stronger” on an H than on a T for example.
    I also get pains in the wrists after a few hours.
    (not to mention the headache)

    I should also mention that this keyboard is very noisy, it is light and resonates a lot.
    That the keys are too lose.
    That it didn’t fit on a very plane desktop.
    But I could correct that by forcing it somewhat.

    This keyboard is pure junk.

Leave a Comment