Kensington Wireless Optical Desktop for Mac
Company: Kensington Technology Group
I’ve never really been happy with a wired keyboard and mouse, no matter what Mac I use. It just feels too restraining and if I want to move a keyboard, the connecting cable is too short and I can’t do it. And whenever I’ve used a wired mouse, when I go to move the mouse, the cable always seems to find something to snag itself on or cause me to reposition myself or fight with the mouse. So when I got the chance to work with the Kensington Wireless Optical Desktop system; keyboard, mouse and RF receiver that also serves as a recharger for the NIMH AA batteries that are included, I took it.
Setup was easy, both with the hardware and installing the software that comes on the included CD to use all the bells and whistles of the set. All the user has to do to make a connection between the keyboard and receiver/mouse and receiver is to press the channel button on the bottom of the receiver followed by pressing the channel button of the bottom of the keyboard/mouse. The RF receiver, white with silver trim, plugs into a USB jack, and also serves to charge the two batteries that provide replacement for the keyboard or the mouse, whichever needs them first.
Once everything is set up and installed, the only limitation is that the user must remember that the maximum wireless range between the mouse/keyboard and the RF receiver is a max of about 6 feet. Realistically, more then enough room to move things around on your work area and not feel confined or restricted.
The keyboard, white with silver trim, with an attachable wrist rest, provides the user all the controls that they need to work online. The keyboard has 22 hotkeys that are available for the typist to use, covering the gamut from an email key that opens the default mail application to a key that will open the default web browser; go back, forward, refresh the page, search and even open up the favorites folder, to the capability of interacting with iTunes and play/pause, move to the previous track and even eject the CD if one is being played.
On the left side of the keyboard are two user programmable keys, marked PF1 and PF2, and a scroll wheel. If you want, you can set the keys to open a web page or start an application. On the top of the keyboard are an email key, a stop key, a refresh key, a WWW key and a back and forward key, plus a search, favorite and a sleep key. The user can control the volume of a CD being played or stop/start – go back or forward on the CD or do the same in your iTunes library of music. The keyboard is easy to use and once you have settled on what keys will do what and what app or browser will open, you can basically do everything you want or need to without your fingers leaving the keyboard. Want to relax for a few minutes while typing, no problem, you can move the keyboard from desk or keyboard shelf, place it on your lap and type or hit the email or web browser buttons and read or surf.
The mouse, again white with silver trim, 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, fits very nicely into the hand and the 2 button with scroll wheel capability does a much better job then the standard one button Apple issued mouse. The nice thing about the mouse is that the appearance is that of a no-button mouse but pressing down to the left and right side of the scroll wheel provides the button function.
I’ve found the entire system easy to use, works very well (with just a couple of hiccups) and makes for a more relaxed/flexible user environment.
Good Points- Easy to setup, looks good, provides flexibility to the user.
Cons- No major problems that aren’t correctible.
Mac computer running OS 10.1 or later, an available USB port, iTunes™ 3.0 or later and Microsoft Internet Explorer ™. (works with other web browsers too!)
Adventures in Customer Service
Sometimes things have a tendency to go wrong, no matter what you do. Take for instance my use of the wireless desktop system. Everything set up fine, the product looked great and worked as it should… at least until I went to surf the web using Safari and I right clicked on the mouse expecting to be able to “go back” just as I could with any other browser. Nope, no such luck. Now the wireless trackball that I’d been using had no problem at all going back in Safari when I right clicked and the right-click worked with the mouse in Firefox and IE, so I thought maybe it was me. So I called the toll free number provided by Kensington and yes, it was an overseas transfer to customer service. No problem there either, response was very good, the person I spoke with didn’t get upset when I said “Mac” and tried to help me. But the tips of reinstalling the software that came on the CD wouldn’t have worked as a newer version was available online and that was what I was using from the start, or that this was an “Apple problem” and I needed to contact Apple, didn’t work either.
So I tried a different tack, I emailed technical support using the link provided on the Kensington website and got a response back very quickly from them… again telling me to contact Apple. Now I had done as they recommended, uninstalling the software and then reinstalling the newest version again, just to make sure it wasn’t me. Again a no-go. I emailed technical support back advising of such, advising again that the problem was just with Safari, that Safari worked fine with other mice, and that the mouse worked fine with other browsers but that the mouse was now beginning to show other problems, like being non-responsive 1/3 of the time. We continued our email conversations back and forth, still being told to contact Apple but questions were being asked regarding my other problems. Continuing to document the problems, tech support responded back to me that they believed that I had a defective mouse, asked for the serial number, my phone number and address and then followed up with another email advising that a replacement unit had been sent and to expect it in 7-10 days. Three days later, there it was at my front door. After replacing the mouse, the problems ceased, except it still wouldn’t go back when I right clicked in Safari but did so with every other browser. Time spent in dealing with customer service- three weeks but they did respond positively and except for not going back in Safari (which is really not a problem as I’ve switched to Firefox as my primary browser) the system does everything it is supposed to do and does it very well. So don’t be discouraged if you run into problems with a product and wind up talking to someone overseas, it can still work out for the best, if you don’t mind being patient.