Range is good
It feels like a laptop keyboard?
Cons:No Num Pad
Limited Muldimedia and Function Keys
Transceiver is directionally sensitive
The Bottom Line: The Microsoft Arc Wireless Keyboard is a stylish lightweight device that will get the job done. It is a little pricey, and has a few gimmicks, but nice nonetheless.
In my constant effort to reduce the clutter of my desktop computer, I decided to drop my wired PS/2 keyboard from an old 90's HP and look for a new, lightweight, and wireless keyboard. I had already purchased a wireless mouse, so I only needed the latter. This proved to be a bit of a problem, seeing as how most manufacturers bundle the keyboard and mouse together. I soon came across the Microsoft Arc Keyboard, and purchased the black model on Amazon for $44. After it arrived (in one piece) at my door step, I took it in and cracked it open.
Recommend this product?
The Microsoft Arc Keyboard is a visually appealing component for any computer system, and it will get the job done with ease. The glossy black plastic construction attracts fingerprints rather easily, but that is the same for every single other shiny product out on the market. The underside of the keyboard is an off-white color, and hides the battery cover and magnetic (!) nano transceiver storage bay. Nothing more to say about the bottom; just four rubber feet and microsoft's health warning. Not much else is included in the box (getting started guide, 2xAAA batteries), The interesting part of the deal is the black cloth(ish) slip case that the keyboard is packaged in. It's a good touch, and it helps protect from dust.
On the functionality side of things, this keyboard is towards the basic end. It is a full-sized qwerty keyboard, with the exception of the F1-F12 buttons. They only go from F1 to F6, then the Function key must be held down to access F7-F12. There are dedicated volume controls, but that is the extent of any multimedia buttons on it. There also is no dedicated number pad on it. The overall tactile feel is something very akin to a laptop keyboard. The keys do still have good travel to them, and they are not loud at all (unless you pound on them.) The function keys along the top of the keyboard are actually buttons, and they click more than depress (like the normal keys below them.) The wireless range is good as long as the transceiver is on the front of the computer and not covered in any way. I can type at ten to twenty ft. with good response times. Otherwise, you have to stay within 5 ft. of the transceiver (if it is on the back of the computer.) This is all in reference to a desktop computer on the top of my desk. The On/Off controls are simple to learn: Hold Fn and Esc for 2-3 seconds until light flashes (off) or glows (on.) I have had this keyboard for more than a month, and I have not changed the batteries as of yet. It's worth mentioning that I turn it off when I turn my computer off. The only real quirk is the directional keys. Microsoft turned them into a D-pad like a video game controller, only smaller and less responsive than the real thing. That alone might make gamers shy away if they like to use the directionals alot.
Overall, the Microsoft Arc Keyboard is a great portable wireless device, with good range and tasteful style to boot. It's tranceiver can be sensitive, and D-pad may be slow to respond, but these are minor setbacks that I personally do not mind at all. The price is not the best, but that is aside from the point. (Go buy Logitech if you want more bang for the buck.)
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Amount Paid (US$): 44