A great all-in-one keyboard and touchpad for a media PC, but we wouldn’t use it for work
The Microsoft All-in-One Media keyboard has a built-in touchpad, and is ideal for those who want one device to control their media PC. You can even control your smart TV, although you’ll have to make sure it’s compatible with USB HID keyboards. The All-in-One Media keyboard also has plenty of shortcut buttons for common tasks, such as opening a file explorer, media player or web browser window. Even better, there are transport buttons for your media player that let you play, pause and skip tracks.
The keyboard is wireless and requires two AAA batteries to work. Happily, the keyboard comes with batteries preinstalled, so you can use it straight away. All you have to do is insert the supplied Wi-Fi dongle into one of your PC or TV’s USB ports. Our Windows 8 PC recognised the keyboard straight away, and we could use all the keyboard shortcuts. The touchpad and some of the buttons are customisable, but you’ll need to download the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center program to make the keys do something different. You can, for instance, change the Home button so that it opens Microsoft Word instead of your web browser, and make the touchpad recognise one-finger taps but not two-finger taps.
The top row of the keyboard is ostensibly occupied by function keys, but these are set to work as shortcut keys by default, performing tasks such as putting your computer to sleep, opening the Windows 8 Search panel and switching displays. To use the functions keys as function keys you must press the Fn button and the function key you want to use.
The All-in-One Media keyboard measures 19.4x367x132 (HxWxD), so it’s fairly compact. This is great if you want to use the keyboard occasionally to control a media PC, but we wouldn’t want to use the keyboard constantly over many hours, as our wrists felt strained after prolonged use. The keys have a lot of depth to their travel, though, and were easy on our fingertips.
Sadly, we weren’t so impressed with the keyboard’s touchpad, as it felt rough and our fingers stuttered over the surface because of the friction. We’d much prefer a smoother finish to the touchpad. The touchpad’s mouse buttons are integrated into the touchpad itself, and were pretty responsive. It’s certainly handy to have a touchpad built into your keyboard if you plan on using it while sat on the sofa or when in bed, but be careful; we brushed the touchpad with our fingers while typing a number of times and sent the cursor flying across the screen.
We like the Microsoft All-in-One Media keyboard, but it serves a niche purpose and isn’t something we’d use as a work or as an everyday keyboard. If you’re looking for a keyboard to use with your home cinema PC or TV, however, the Microsoft All-in-One Media keyboard is inexpensive and deserves your attention.
|Keyboard battery||2x AAA|
|Vertical scroll wheel||no|