Microsoft Fail – MS Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 Review and Tale of A Painful Free Upgrade

That shouldn’t be worth posting about, but it took more work than it should have. Summary: I probably should have stuck with Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combinations, because I didn’t have a problem with the previous set I had and never had the occasion to call their technical support. But since I bought a Microsoft product, it was worthwhile to hound them until they came through on their warranty, despite the fact that the experience was somewhat painful.

Last August, I bought a new Microsoft cordless “Desktop”—a keyboard and mouse set, I think the model was the Wireless Comfort Desktop 4000. I wasn’t thrilled with them from the beginning, as the transceiver had to be very close to the keyboard or it would miss characters. Sam and I both tried futzing with the settings and changing batteries and so on without seeing any improvement. The Logitech set the new set replaced had a feature I rather missed, wherein the transceiver was also a recharging station for the mouse. The downside to that was that if I forgot to put the mouse back in its recharging station properly, it would occasionally get run down. I trained myself to remember where the mouse went pretty quickly, though, and that was preferable to constantly feeding the mouse more batteries!

Anyway, the Logitech set had lasted several years before it was moved to a PC that wasn’t in use as heavily as my main machine is. The new Microsoft set didn’t even last four months before the mouse just died. Yep, died—there was no light coming out the bottom anymore. 1I don’t the cat had anything to do with it, although I can’t swear to that. After doing all the reasonable troubleshooting we could think of, I called Microsoft’s hardware technical support number.

I quickly realized that the number must be routed to India or a linguistically similar place, and after much effort managed to make myself understood by the individual at the first level. He grudgingly agreed to transfer me to an actual support tech (supposedly) at the next level.

When that person answered the phone, we had a verbal Keystone Cops routine with her repeatedly calling me by many sounds that she kept insisting were my name. I repeatedly stated that my name was Cynthia Armistead, and she repeatedly told me that no, I was (unintelligible). I suggested that perhaps she had the name wrong from her co-worker, and she finally put me on hold, apparently to check with him. It seems that either she was reading the first-level person’s name in place of mine, or he had put his name in the wrong place—in either case, I’m very happy that neither of them could actually touch our hardware.

After the matter of my identity and right to speak to her was established, Ms. Microsoft Tech very officiously (and laboriously) went through her scripts regarding checking cables and such, and I pretended to play along with regards to rebooting and so on. For someone contracted to do Microsoft technical support, she was remarkably unfamiliar with Windows 7. Finally, she allowed as how there was a remote possibility that the mouse itself was defective, and stated that she would order a new mouse to be shipped to me in seven to ten days. I agreed to those terms and expected a new mouse sometime in January.

There was no new mouse in January, but I did get a somewhat vague email from Ms. MS Tech in January that seemed to be saying something about a delay. Fine, a brief delay wouldn’t be a big deal, right? So I waited for a couple of weeks, but the mouse didn’t come.

Now I was getting annoyed. The keyboard was getting clingier and clingier about its transceiver. I’d put the mouse that came with my digitizing pad into service, but it just didn’t fit my hand quite as well as the MS mouse had, and I couldn’t switch it to use it on the left side comfortably for some reason (I like to switch hands periodically, to avoid tiring out one hand or the other too much). I kept meaning to call and find out why I didn’t have a new mouse but kept putting it off.

Then one weekend I got an automated email saying that my support case had been closed, followed immediately by another email from some organization Microsoft had hired to do customer satisfaction surveys wanting me to do one of those web surveys regarding my experience with their customer support. Oh, let me tell you, that particular survey response should get some attention if anybody actually reads it!

You better believe I was on the phone to that tech support line as soon as they opened again on Monday! Actually, the first number I called turned out to be a number I’d been given to check on the shipment. The person there, apparently in the U.S., told me that the desktop set I’d originally purchased had been discontinued, so my order had been canceled because they couldn’t find a replacement. Since she wasn’t in the technical support department, she couldn’t tell me why nobody contacted me to offer me another set or anything else, and certainly, nobody had made any notes in the record when they canceled the order.

So the next call was to the technical support line. And again, I had to get past the first-level person (who snippily informed me that I couldn’t check the status of a closed case and that he wouldn’t connect me directly to a supervisor). I’m fairly certain that I was connected to the same tech as before, but honestly, the language barrier was so significant that I won’t swear to that fact. I am hoping that it was the same person and that most of their personnel speak far better English than she did. The supervisor with whom I finally spoke did speak very clear English, happily. In any case, the tech acted as if it were somehow my fault that the order had been canceled unfulfilled because I had bought a model that would soon be discontinued.

At least the supervisor immediately said “Oh, no, that shouldn’t have happened. I’m sending you a new set right away.” And to his credit, he did. And here it is, the Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000. Since I have it, I’ll review it.

The new keyboard feels fairly good so far, even if some of the auxiliary keys are in slightly different places (home, end, insert, delete) and I’m having to adjust to their new positions. It has a lower profile and seems slighter than the older model, with a high-gloss black finish. There’s a nubbly texture to the wrist rest that I rather like, and a low battery indicator. While the box claims that the keyboard is Comfort Curve2Surely there should be a TM there? But there isn’t one on the box. I checked! preferred, I’m not detecting much, if any, curve here.3Yes, I’m still missing those thick, almost split-keyboard Microsoft Natural Keyboards of many years ago.

It doesn’t need to be right next to its transceiver (a good thing, since it’s just a little USB dongle, appropriate for laptop use) in order to work accurately, which is a huge improvement. That previous model is the first wireless keyboard I’ve ever had with that problem, and I’m figuring it may be one of the reasons it was discontinued so quickly.

The biggest difference in the mouse is that it isn’t curved to one side, so it is easier to use it in either the right or left hand. I suppose that’s going to make some people happy and bother others. The mouse is textured on either side where one grips it, like the keyboard’s wrist rest. I don’t recall the previous models being textured in that manner, so I believe that’s new. The wheel on this model isn’t clickable, whereas the previous one was. The verbiage on the box does tell me that it does four-way scrolling, though! In addition to the two standard mouse buttons, there are two more tiny ones on each side, a little smaller and lower profile than in the previous model.

But next time I shop for a keyboard and mouse, I’m giving Logitech another try. They can hardly help but do a better job than Microsoft has this time around!

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4262

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top