Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard full review
Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard review: what it is
The Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard is a small, portable and wireless qwerty keyboard with an integrated trackpad that supports gestures such as swipe and pinch-to-zoom. It has customisable media hotkeys, and connects via wirless USB. The Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard is battery operated.
The Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard is aimed at digital home setups, where it can be used to navigate your home movie center or digital audio rig. The Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard costs around £26 online. (See also: Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop review.)
Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard review: design and build
Small and solid, the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard measures 367x132x194mm and weighs 434g. It is finished in smart black plastic and looks much heavier than it is. Everything is black apart from the clear white lettering and numbering, and the blue labels for the function keys. You get a tiny USB dongle to connect to your PC.
The trackpad sits to the right, and is a large expanse of shiny black. The media hotkeys sit above it, with the volume keys off to the extreme lefthand side. Edges are curved to give the impression of a thinner device that the rather chunky keyboard this is. A shiny clear plastic finish sits in a stripe around the outside of the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard, which is otherwise a dusty matt finish. Underneath we find a battery tray within which the dongle can sit for journeys.
Build quality feels solid. The plastic finish is not the most stylish, but it is discreet enough to live in your front room, and feels built to last. (See all mice and keyboard reviews.)
Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard review: portability
The Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard is small and well put together, then. It will slip into your laptop bag and survive the slings and arrows of life on the road with no problems at all. And there's even a litle magnetic pocket into which you can slip the tiny dongle for safekeeping.
Perhaps more usefully, the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard is sufficiently small and discreet to live on your living room sofa. And that may be its true calling.
Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard review: in use
Connecting the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard couldn't be easier. Simply pop in the dongle and the connection is made. Switch on and away you go. Even in our busy, wireless-keyboard heavy office, we experienced no interference.
Now bear with me: despite being only a small chap I am not blessed with nimble and dextrous fingers. And I do understand that the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard isn't intended for prolonged typing. As ever with keyboard reviews I typed this review on the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard, to get the full experience. But it isn't intended for this type of typing-intensive use.
That's just as well, because really it's like typing on a netbook. The fault is in my technique, but a few hundred words in and my wrists are aching, and the outsides of my hands is sore. I've also lost count of the number of times I have miss-typed.
The keyboard is about four fifths the size of the normal sized keyboard I use. The keys themselves are small, and they feel slighlty spongey in travel. There is very little angle in the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard, which sits pretty much flat to the desk.
That's the bad stuff. And in the right context it is very far from bad. What's good is the trackpad. This is a good size, and a nice level of sensitivity. Even on my Windows 8.1 Pro desktop PC I found myself favouring the trackpad over a mouse. Moving around by touch is much more intuitive, and using swipe-, scroll- and zoom trackpad gestures seems both fresh and time saving in Windows 8. We also liked the fact that the media hotkeys are helpfully positioned above the trackpad. And the volume controls just to the left of the keyboard proper are well placed: turning up the voloume feels like increasing the noise on your smartphone. It's a natural move.
It's also pretty cool to use the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard on your lap - unlike the egregiously misnamed laptop format! The weight is untroubling, and there is no flex so that typing remains as accurate as it is on the desktop. You wouldn't want to type your novel on your knees, but typing out the odd email will be a natural fit.
In conclusion I would say that although the Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard would work okay as a portable keyboard for work purposes, it clearly isn't its intended use. For navigating around a media system or smarthome setup, it will be perfect. It is great value. (See all mice and keyboard reviews.)
Microsoft All-In-One Media Keyboard: Specs
- qwerty keyboard with trackpad
- 2x AAA batteries (included)
- works with Windows or OS X
- wireless USB dongle included