The Microsoft Wireless Desktop 850 has a standard keyboard style with a basic layout. You won’t find many additional features on this wireless keyboard and mouse combo outside of a few volume buttons in the upper-right corner of the keyboard. It's cheap, though, and does the trick if you just want a basic wireless combo for everyday use - especially if your home computer (opens in new tab) doesn't already come with a keyboard and mouse.
Microsoft Wireless Desktop 850 review: Keyboard
Upon holding the keyboard for the first time, it doesn’t feel durable at all. There is a black plastic cover that sits on top of the white base, and it feels like the two could easily be separated. The keyboard is incredibly light, only weighting 1.2 pounds, but it doesn't feel solid. An accidental drop might damage the keyboard. That being said, it is lightweight and slim enough to be fairly portable. When you have your laptop, keyboard and mouse in a bag, every pound counts.
As far as comfort goes, our group of reviewers enjoyed typing on the Desktop 850. Most of our reviewers liked the responsiveness of the keys as well as the concaved shape of the keys to keep your fingers in the right spot to eliminate errors. This wireless keyboard doesn’t have a wrist rest, but our reviewers didn't seem to mind that.
Microsoft Wireless Desktop 850 review: Mouse
The wireless mouse is basic and has an ambidextrous design. It doesn't have any additional buttons beyond a right and left click and a scroll wheel. In our comfort testing, the general consensus was that the mouse was one of the least comfortable in the group. The arch doesn't come up high enough for the palm to rest on it. The palm rest is also narrower than most, making it feel less comfortable than other mice.
During our surface testing, the mouse did great on wood, laminate and denim, but it struggled on glass, marble and carpeted surfaces. Carpet really gave the mouse problems. The mouse was inconsistent as well and made the cursor jump around. On marble the mouse was also pretty unresponsive. It is best to stay away from those surfaces.
The wireless mouse and keyboard are powered by two AAA batteries in the keyboard and one AA in the mouse. Microsoft claims that the keyboard can last up to 15 months with regular use while the mouse can only last eight months. This isn't nearly as good as some of its competitors that claim to have battery life up to three years.
Should you buy the Microsoft Wireless Desktop 850?
The Microsoft Wireless Desktop 850 is a basic wireless combo that is inexpensive but lacks many features its competitors offer. The keyboard doesn't feel durable, but our reviewers liked how it felt after extended use, so while it may not last for years, it'll be comfortable enough for your home office. The mouse is good for both right- and left-handers but isn't all that comfortable. Consider something more ergonomic for extended home use.