I recently received a review unit of the new Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard which I have been trying out over the last several days.
My daily driver on my main Windows 8.1 desktop is the Microsoft Reclusa keyboard, a solid, large and quite heavy keyboard, which I like because it puts up with my use that typically wears a normal keyboard out in just six months.
Just for comparison I put the two next to each other you could see the significant size difference between the two devices.
Although the Reclusa is a very heavy keyboard compared to many the AIO Media Keyboard is no lightweight as it holds its place on my desk without any movement when being used.
So I swapped out my cherished Reclusa and put the AIO Media Keyboard to work as my main daily use keyboard.
Except for getting used to the different size and spacing of the keys they keyboard is great. My Windows 8.1 system recognized it as soon as I plugged in the low profile USB transceiver and the keyboard was fully functional.
The touch pad area supports touch based gestures such as swiping, drag, tap, zoom, clicking and scrolling which are perfect for Windows 8. There are handy Home, Music and Videos buttons above the touchpad on the right side which are customizable.
Over on the left side of the keyboard you will find convenient controls for opening a Context Menu (Left-click), controlling volume and a mute button.
Otherwise this is a standard keyboard layout without the extended number pad as many full size keyboards have. It is missing the option to flip out small legs at the top of the keyboard to let the keyboard be used at a slight angle. This is not a deal breaker but would be nice to have the option especially when using it at a desk.
Although this keyboard can be used on any computer that is compatible (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8, Windows RT 8.1) it is truly meant to interact with your PC media center and devices by being put to use in your living room.
That is where I had a pleasant surprise testing out this keyboard because I decided to plug it into my Xbox 360 even if the device is not listed as being 100% compatible.
So I took the AIO keyboard to my Xbox 360 and plugged the USB transceiver into one of the front USB ports on the console and hit the power button. Once my 360 had come online I tried out the arrow keys and was able to navigate around the Xbox 360 interface with ease.
I went to the Bing search page and pressed the space bar to get the search dialog open and typed my search directly from the keyboard.
Up until now I had always used my Chat Keyboard plugged into my Xbox 360 controller but to now have the choice of using a nice media keyboard like the Microsoft AIO is a terrific option.
So when you add the ability to not only use this keyboard on compatible desktop systems but to also put it to use with the Xbox 360, by the way I have asked about the Xbox One since I can not test that, it makes it capable of many things in your house and well worth the MSRP of $39.95.
Check out these resources for additional information on the Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard: