Microsoft is best known for its Windows operating system, but it does come out with a fair share of hardware, too. Its Xbox and the Surface are most high-profile. Now, matching them in popularity is the company’s range of PC accessories.
And it is to this range that the Big M has made two very notable additions — the Wedge Mobile Keyboard and the Wedge Touch Mouse. There will of course be those who will wonder about just how much one can innovate in such products, which have taken on an almost generic and established format and design? The answer to that is: a lot. As we discovered when we reviewed this twosome.
The smart (cover) keyboard
On the surface (pun not intended), the Wedge Keyboard seems pretty much a routine wireless keyboard, albeit well-laid out with large keys. It is designed to work with tablets running iOS, Android or Microsoft’s own Windows 8. However, look closely and quite a few nuances of design are evident — the keys are plastic but are placed on a metal base, and the battery holder is placed below the keyboard and functions as a ‘stand’ of sorts keeping the keyboard at a comfortable angle to enable typing. That’s a far cry from some of the ‘flat’ keyboards for tablets that we have seen which are absolutely parallel to the surface they are placed on. It is light and compact enough to easily slip into a bag and can connect over Bluetooth without you having to plug in a receiver into the device with which you want it to work.
But its killer feature is a smart cover. Yes, a smart cover for a keyboard. The Wedge Keyboard comes with a cover that can be placed over the keys to protect them from dust. And it also switches off the keyboard, saving battery. Well, almost as smart as the fact that the cover itself can be folded to form a stand on which you can balance your tablet! Yes, at Rs 4,395 it is not the cheapest but it is easily one of the most comfortable tablet keyboards we have seen and the cover is a killer feature.
An ‘awww’some mouse
We have had the Wedge Touch Mouse with us for a while and whenever we have taken it out, it is to a chorus of admiring “awwws” from spectators. Well, it has to go down as one of the cutest accessories we have seen. It is small enough to fit into the palm of most hands (about 5 cm x 7 cm) and light enough to be put into any pocket — there’s no wheel inside it. Once again, the design is impressive with metallic sides giving it solidity and just a touch of style. And as it slides downwards (an angle of 23 degrees that Microsoft claims is ergonomically the best for users), using it is a pleasure, whether you are scrolling in either direction on a Windows 8 computer or just scrolling up and down and clicking away on Windows 7. It is light to move, very responsive and works over Bluetooth and has a Backpack mode which reduces power consumption when it senses it is not being used. Again at Rs 3015, it is not dirt cheap, but find us another mouse which can slip as easily into a pocket and work on just about any surface. And of course, there are all those “awwws” you pick up along the way.
Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard (top left): Rs 4,935
Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse (top right): Rs 3,015