Microsoft Internet keyboard has the right touch, plus USB

Microsoft Internet keyboard has the right touch, plus USB

By Michael Cheek

GCN Staff

Joe. Java. That steaming mug of coffee is enemy No. 1 to the keyboard. One little spill and sometimes the keys no longer work.

Even if coffee doesn't do them in, they get a workout all day long'and so do the user's hands.

Microsoft Corp.'s ergonomically curved keyboards supposedly help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress disorders. But I never got into the swing of those curves before the arrival of the Internet Keyboard Pro.

Microsoft's $41 Internet Keyboard Pro has 19 extra keys for browser, CD-ROM and other system functions.

I guess throwing 'Internet' into the name gives a little boost, not that this keyboard needs it. The firm, responsive keys work better than the ones on most of the keyboards bundled with PCs.

The 'Internet' label means 19 extra keys'round, blue buttons above the function keys. The first seven keys are for back, forward, stop and refresh functions in browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer.

The eighth key launches your e-mail application, selected through the IntelliType Pro software included with the keyboard.

Multiple functions

The next eight keys control multimedia functions'volume and CD-ROM or DVD-ROM play, pause and next-track commands.

Box Score

Internet Keyboard Pro

USB keyboard with 19 extra keys

Microsoft Corp.; Redmond, Wash.;

tel. 425-882-8080

Price: $41

+ Firm, responsive keys

+ Two built-in USB ports

- Extra Internet keys unnecessary

Two of the remaining three keys above the number pad are customizable. By default, they open Windows' My Computer icon and launch the calculator.

The third key puts the PC into sleep mode if power management works. On recently built PCs, the button either puts them into suspend mode or launches the screen saver.

The Internet Keyboard Pro serves as a minihub for two Universal Serial Bus devices. If plugged into a USB port on the back of the computer, the keyboard makes a handy place for connecting a USB mouse. It gives you an extra port for any other USB device to which you may need fast access.

Without the palm rest, the keyboard fits inside most keyboard drawers. With the palm rest, it might not fit. Microsoft's software takes 35M of hard drive storage.

At $41, it's pricey, but if you use USB a lot, you might find it handy.


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