The Microsoft All-in-One Media keyboard is a strange beast: a wireless keyboard with a built-in touchpad and ease-of-access keys.
So, here’s how we’re going to tackle this one: with Netflix finally in the country we’ve decided to review this one both as a “normal” desk-bound keyboard, as well as a kind of faux remote control we have set up to our TV.
Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard: In the office
We’re going to be honest here: if you’re thinking of getting this as your daily driver for work, don’t. The incredibly mushy keys have strokes which are far too long and the touchpad’s coarse, cheap feeling texture makes it terrible to use for a lengthy amount of time. Any laptop keyboard/touchpad setup you’ve used in the past few years will trump this.
Apart from that, there’s nothing special here for work use. It feels like a sub-par office keyboard that companies around the world buy en masse for a fraction of the price, and you’ll be better off with one of those.
Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard: On the couch
Now, here’s the funny thing: most of the complaints so far don’t apply when you’re on a couch. On your lap, those horrible key strokes seem to feel better. We assume this has something to do with the rigid back plate, but searching for movies and shows and anything else is actually pretty great when you have a full QWERTY right on your lap.
That horrible touchpad, while still horrible, is perfectly acceptable for scrolling when you want to find preferred media. It’s rubbish when navigating a word file, but tolerable for playlists.
This keyboard comes with just enough special function buttons to make it notable. Along with home, media, file, volume and mute buttons, there is a dedicated button for left mouse click. While the touchpad does have integrated (equally appalling) buttons, we used that dedicated click most of the time. It’s strange how such a small feature can add so much.
Finally, there’s a set of alternate function buttons on the top F row. They’re not that useful and you’ll need to hold down the the function button to access them, but they’re there. We would have much preferred a set of dedicated function buttons instead.
Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard: Conclusion
At around R600 depending where you get it, this sits in a strange price. It does cost more than small, remote-style keyboards as well as no-name wireless boards you can pick up at a flea market. But it costs less than many other keyboard/touchpad combos.
If you want a full QWERTY on your lap with a touchpad, consider this. If you want something for your desk, look away.