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I am typing out this very review on a Microsoft Wired 500 keyboard, which cost me a mere tenner from Argos some months ago, and is now available from Amazon for an even merer £7.99; there's also a white version, but that's a couple of pounds more expensive! My keyboard has been worked hard, and is still going strong. When it finally dies, if the Wired 500 is still available then it may even be on my shortlist of replacement keyboards: contemplating replacing like with like is usually a good sign! Microsoft peripherals are generally of solid quality, and (considering its budget status) that is true here.
As its name implies, the Wired 500 is an old-fashioned corded model - not at all flashy, but you never need to worry about batteries! In fact, it's even more old-fashioned than that, as it uses the traditional PS/2 interface rather than plugging into a USB socket. That does mean that you can't hot-swap it while the computer is turned on, but why would you want to do that anyway? On the plus side, unlike a USB keyboard it is recognised immediately at power-up, so can be used for editing BIOS and Setup screens. Do note, though, that no PS/2-to-USB adapter is provided in the box, so as it's sold the keyboard will be useless for computers (such as many newer laptops) which have only USB ports.
The Wired 500 keyboard is quite compact, without the extended wrist rests and swoopy bits of coloured plastic that even slightly more expensive keyboards tend to boast these days. That makes it useful for anyone whose desk either has a restricted amount of space or (like mine) is usually too untidy to fit anything larger in! The keys are in the traditional layout, with no split-keyboard ergonomic tricks; as I don't touch-type, it doesn't bother me, but those who type professionally may prefer something a bit more obviously "designed".
The keys are labelled in light grey on black, and the labels seem fairly good quality: one or two are just starting to wear very slightly after well over a year of constant use. The function keys are half-size, which is mildly irritating if you use them a lot, and along the top are a few "shortcut keys" which do things like changing volume and opening the Windows Calculator. To be honest, I almost never bother to use them. The small feet at the back to give a slope to the keyboard do feel rather flimsy, though, and aren't that deep, so if you prefer to type on a strongly sloping keyboard then you're out of luck.
Of course, the most important question is whether this is a comfortable keyboard to type on. This really depends on whether you can get used to the lack of much travel in the keys; at first it can feel almost like typing on a slightly deeper and more spacious laptop keyboard, and if you're the sort who bangs down hard then you're going to get sore fingertips pretty quickly. It took me a couple of days to get used to this feel, but I'm now perfectly happy with it and find it quite acceptable. It's not the quietest keyboard around, but there isn't the deafening clatter you often hear from some of the ultra-cheapo supermarket own-brand models.
Since it does have a few bad points, I wouldn't recommend the Wired 500 to anyone who types all day, every day for a living: if that sounds like you, then spending a bit more will certainly pay dividends and your wrists will thank you for it. On the other hand, for those of us who are lighter users and don't want gimmicks or extras we'll never use, this is a few pounds well spent, and worth the small premium over a real bargain-basement keyboard.
(No idea how I'm supposed to rate "Speed" for a keyboard, so have chosen 3/5 pretty much by default!)
In this review we going to take a look at Microsoft wired keyboard 500, I'm one of the lucky owners of this amazing Microsoft work. You can get this keyboard in two colours Black or White, I own the black version and I need to say it looks really good and clean and it is not too big. Microsoft took good care of making the keyboard really solid in case if it falls etc. my kb fall many times and it's still working the same as on the first day I bought it. Now when we already know how it looks, let's write about the most important thing : " How does it feel to write on this keyboard ?", the answer is its brilliant, really comfortable, you don't need to push really hard like in some other keyboards, the buttons don't get "stuck" and by that the keyboard works pretty quiet.
You can find easy acces buttons for volume, start/play, my computer, calculator, home page, bookmarks and e-mail. The quick access buttons work really good, and they're placed in a good order and in a good place. I now should write what's bad about this keyboard and there are two things, "leg" have broke some time ago, other thing is there is little space between buttons, it makes cleaning the keyboard pretty difficult comparing to other keyboards. The verdict : Microsoft wired Keyboard 500 is a great keyboard for office use and for home use too, it's going to serve you for long and not let you down.
I purchased this keyboard a year ago from Argos for around £10 as a replacement to a keyboard that had failed before. The keyboard is advertised as spill proof, in the event that one accidently spills liquid on the device it should still survive. Overall for such a cheap keyboard the Microsoft 500 is impressive. The keys are responsive and while the price is cheap the unit still has a certain amount of robustness and doesn't feel cheap. Since I have also purchased a budget unbranded keyboard from Argos for around £5 however, it doesn't compare to the Microsoft 500. One negative is, the device only has a PS/2 connection. While this shouldn't be a problem for those with desktop PC, these days netbooks are becoming more popular and netbook tend to only have USB connectors making this keyboard useless for anything other than a desktop PC or laptop computer.
Microsoft Wired Keyboard 500:
To be honest, i have only used about 5/6 keyboards, so i can only compare its quality against them; although i would put it processing/quality the highest amongst all that i have encountered. This keyboard is not the best for processing and quality, but how can you complain; when it only sets you back $14.99!
I have used the Microsoft 500 keyboard for the last year and a half, and the only problem i have ever had with it, was one key becoming slightly hard to press; which only took 30 seconds to repair ( take the key off, clean the area around the key and reattach the key).
Ease Of use:
The Microsoft 500 is a very simplistic keyboard, very small/compact and very simple to use. It does not crowd the user with lots of unnecessary features which the average person does not use, although it still allows for some of the needed and used features, i.e. A shortcut to go to internet explorer + your home page.
The Microsoft 500 comes with an installation disk, although the drivers for the keyboard are easy available for free download from the Microsoft website if the disk is ever lost.
This keyboard is no slower or faster than any other keyboard i have used. Each button pressed registers instantly.
Variety of Features:
As stated previously the variety of features is very limited, although to the average user this is a good thing, as some of the main features are still available. Features available for shortcut keys: Outlook messaging, home page, my documents, pause/play (works for media player only), volume up/down, mute, my computer and calculator.
I have rated this keyboard a 4/5, and my reason for this is because i know that there are much better keyboards available on the market, although for the money you are paying, this is definitely a must buy.