Many times keyboards are often overlooked and in fact neglected. I remember for the longest time I decided to be lazy and work with a semi-broken keyboard (space bar was terrible), that not even WD-40 would fix. But then when you get a new keyboard in your office it just feels like a brand new fresh experience. Today I am checking out one of Microsoft’s very own Remote Keyboards that basically combines the functionality of a keyboard and a TV remote into one package for use of there Windows Media Center Edition Operating system. The big question is, is it worthwhile having a remote keyboard? Read our full review to find out!
One thing that Microsoft had to do with the Remote Keyboard was make it small and thin and compact. This is because this keyboard is not made to be part of your office but instead part of your living room to work mainly as a controller for Windows MCE but also to be able to use a keyboard to use the computer. Right out of the box you can see that this keyboard has a sleek simple and very think design. The keyboard does stick with pretty typical Microsoft color scheme with dark gray’s and charcoals what I would consider pretty uninteresting but at the same time unobtrusive on the living room. One thing that Microsoft tries to implement with this device is not only a ton of MCE specific functions but also a small joystick mouse that we will discuss later.
By just looking at the design of the Remote Keyboard for Media Center Edition I have to say that Microsoft had a lot of neat ideas. The keyboard has over twenty MCE specific buttons, plus the normal keyboard and a joystick mouse. So obviously the keyboard has features, now we just have to see if it has the ability to replace everything else in your living room.
To say that Microsoft tried to put a lot into this package would be an understatement as Microsoft put more then just a lot into this normal size keyboard. But what I unfortunately found with this package was that although there was a great deal to it, most of what this package had to offer didn’t amount to much. To start with the keyboard itself which is just a standard keyboard although it did feel a little more cramped then most. What I found with the keyboard was that the keys didn’t feel as smooth as many other Microsoft keyboards but instead felt clunky and were a bit loud. This just didn’t make using the keyboard all that enjoyable and it wasn’t something that worked as well as it should have.
I have to say though that since this is a media center PC we are talking with, the keyboard isn’t a huge issue, but on the other hand the mouse which is supposed to help your life actually makes it terrible. I have to say that they were better off not including any sort of mouse then throwing this in there. I tried, I tried, and I tried to use the little joystick mouse but I have to say that it was near impossible to use. It was just plain frustrating and annoying and something that should have been fixed or not put in.
In terms of using this as a Remote Keyboard the keyboard actually has some great aspects to it. First off you have a lot of quick controls that you can use with the remote keyboard that really make the whole MCE experience even better. The MCE functionality is used quite well and for those who may not have a great controller, this keyboard definitely gets the job done plus has some room to program some other functions as well.
Sure the MCE functionality is the prime focus of the keyboard and in that case the keyboard passed with flying colors. But in the other sense you have the jammed keyboard with less then comfortable key’s and the joystick that pretends to have any functionality resembling a mouse. In the end if you need a MCE keyboard this may be a good option, just don’t expect it to be a great all in one package.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.