Product Type: Microsoft keyboards
Newest Review: ... the extra buttons on the board. One useful tip from me would be to check the Microsoft web site after setting up the hardware and softwar... more
Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro
Member Name: Islander
Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pro
Date: 06/06/01, updated on 06/06/01 (161 review reads)
Advantages: Extra Buttons, Extra USB ports, NIce to use
Being in the market for a new keyboard, as my old one was worn out, I had a look at a few before settling for this one (partly because of the extra functions it offered and partly because I got it at less than half the normal price).
It is a little larger than normal keyboards (due to the removable palm rest and the extra row of buttons at the top), and due to this increase in size, it is not possible to use the little tilt feet underneath, if you have a desk with a sliding keyboard shelf, as it is too high (well it is on mine), so you need to get used to typing on a flatter surface, luckily with the palm rest this is not too much of an adjustment and is quite comfortable.
Now the important bit, what is it like to use? Very comfortable as it happens, there is a nice sized palm rest, that, although it takes some getting used to using (if, like me you’ve never used one before), it’s benefits soon become apparent as it takes some of the strain off your wrists, and anyway if you don’t like it, it is removable. The keys are positive to use, but are neither the hard click type nor the too soft spongy type, but a happy medium, they are laid out in the standard QWEWRTY format and there are also the now standard Windows keys.
Where this keyboard scores is in the extra features it has over conventional keyboards, for a start there are two USB ports on the back, so giving you an extra port to play with (the keyboard itself takes up one). There are also three extra buttons above the numeric keypad that are configurable, although they come preset (and labelled) for My Computer, Calculator and Sleep (puts the computer into power saving mode, if supported). Along the top of the keyboard there are a further 16 (non-configurable) buttons for controlling the CD/DVD-ROM drive and Internet functions. From left to right they are:-
aunches Web Browser
Launches E-mail Program
Opens default media player
Setting up the keyboard is a cinch, it comes with both a USB connector and a PS/2 connector. Use of the USB connector is optional (but may as well be used because although you lose one port on the PC, you gain two on the keyboard), but if not used then the two extra USB ports cannot be used either, although all the other buttons will still work, but this does mean that it can be used with a none USB equipped PC, you just lose the use of the extra USB ports - which you don't have anyway. The PS/2 connector must be used, otherwise there will be no keyboard active until Windows has loaded (a pain if you need to use DOS (remember that?) or go into the BIOS).
Once it has been plugged in and you turn on the PC, setup and configuration is easy, UNLESS you run Windows ME, as the supplied driver CD does not have Win ME support (you would think that Microsoft would have this sorted wouldn’t you? but no Windows 95, 98 and 2000, but not ME), instead you get directed to Microsoft’s website where they have kindly supplied a 18.6 Mb download of the latest drivers (which took me 1 hour 55 minutes to download – just short of the two hour cut-off time of my ISP), once download though everything worked a treat, but be warned if you have a slow connection.
Overall I’m very impressed with the keyboard, it is comfortable to use, has a nice feel, the added buttons make using the Internet a lot easier, and the additional USB ports are a real boon.
*If you go to buy.com the details say no warranty, but there is actually a three-year limited warranty on the keyboard.