Saturday, September 1, 2012

2 Microsoft Wedge mouse and keyboard review: When is portability not portable?

With Microsoft’s Surface tablet (and a flood of third party Windows 8 devices) just around the corner, it’s time to accessorise. With that in mind, Microsoft has just unleashed two official peripherals to help people maximise their time on the new platform – the Wedge keyboard and mouse. Question is: are they any good?


What in all hell is this?! The Wedge Mouse is unlike most computer mice you’ve ever seen before. In fact, it more closely resembles a lump of cheese than the rodent that the peripherals were initially named after. Oh yeah, and it’s tiny. Like, really, really tiny.
It’s so small that your initial reaction will, without question, be that it’s too small to use comfortably. And at first, you’ll be right. Adjusting your grip to such a small mouse is a weird experience and, for about half an hour, you’ll get an odd twinge in your wrist. But then it goes away, and you’re (mostly) fine.
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The Wedge mouse has a left and right click and is touch sensitive, to let you scroll with one finger. And that’s all there is to it. Or it would be, if it weren’t for the fact that despite a relative amount of comfort, I still ended my first day of use desperately longing for something more hand-sized. Like a normal mouse.
There’s a whiff of ‘small for the sake of small’ about the wedge which, oddly, doesn’t necessarily give it any extra portability. But I’ll come back to that.


The Wedge keyboard comes with a cover that’s designed to fold in such a way as to provide a stand for your tablet. And it’s pretty sturdy at that job – it bends in a satisfyingly solid way, and seems to stay put exactly as you leave it.
But that’s just about where my praise ends. Microsoft’s tried to make this as dinky as possible whilst still being usable, but if you’re going to be taking a portable keyboard along with you for the sake of productivity, why not make it a full size one? I use Apple’s wireless keyboard in day to day life. It’s hardly much bigger than Microsoft’s Wedge, but it’s just big enough to gain ‘full-sized’ status, and therefore feels incredibly comfortable.
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All that basically means that, if you’re continually going from desktop to mobile working environment, there’s always going to be some keyboard learning difficulties when you first start typing.
The travel is good on the Wedge, as is the build, angle and industrial design, but it’s just slightly too small to be considered really comfortable. Needlessly so. Oh, and if your tablet’s got a kickstand built in (like the Surface), the cover/stand is just an extra thing to worry about.


As you may have guessed, I have an overarching problem with the two Microsoft Wedge peripherals, and it’s this: At what point does portability stop being portable?
What I mean is, if you’ve got a tablet, a keyboard and a mouse all clanking round in your bag, there’s got to be a point where a (small) laptop becomes the much better option, surely? This isn’t least of which because you can’t use these products on your lap – you have to be sat at a table. A laptop doesn’t have that issue.
If you don’t agree, then there’s the opposite problem: why not just add on the necessary extra inches to make these products full sized? If you’ve got a bag with kit in it, it’s probably going to be a big enough bag for a full sized keyboard.
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On top of that, I think Microsoft’s taken a step back in terms of not only mouse size, but also mouse portability. The Microsoft Arc 2 mouse, which I use daily, folds completely flat when not in use. If Microsoft updated that design instead of this wedge, it could conceivable make it slide into a bespoke slot under the Wedge keyboard. To me, that would be by far a better solution than the Wedge shape, which – as it is – has to be flung loose into your bag.
In closing. It’s not exactly the products themselves that are at fault here – they are well made and work as you’d expect -  it’s the overall solution they’re trying to present.
For my money, if you want to be exceedingly productive (scenario 1), buy an Ultrabook or MacBook Air. If you want something portable (scenario 2) you should buy a tablet, but just don’t expect to do an awful lot of work on it unless you’re willing to stuff your bag with extra add-ons…In which case, see scenario number 1.

Source :electricpig


kamini said...

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Fine Tech said...

thank you kamini !

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