Thursday, 16 February 2017

Argos keyboard offer

Microsoft Wired 600 keyboard
The Calculator button even works in Linux :P
I recently became fed up with the awful quality of my HP K45 keyboard (looks like this, but isn't). It might be okay for people who occasionally press the odd button, but for actual typing it's terrible – it's much too light, has poor feedback and feels like something from Poundland. Actually, I wouldn't recommend it even at a quid, it's that bad.

Since I don't have the cash sloshing around to buy a really nice keyboard – and don't think I could bear the noise of a mechanical one anyway – I needed a cheap replacement. But what? I hadn't been impressed by the Logitech K120, or those Trust keyboards you see in places like Wilko. The HP was so bad that I needed something right now.

And look what Argos have right now: the venerable Microsoft Wired 600 for a mere £7.49! (It was actually £7.99 when I bought it. Huh.) The offer only applies to the white version – they don't even stock the black one – and a few stores are running low on supplies. Nevertheless, my local Argos had one so I snapped it up immediately.

In use, it's very much a budget keyboard, with slightly wobbly keys and the occasional very quiet squeak, but it's approximately a million times nicer to type on than the HP. The keys are a little soft, but they're reasonably responsive and pretty quiet. The small Esc and function keys are a bit of a shame, but it's by no means a deal-breaker.

The keyboard is very slightly concave, with the lowest row of letters and space bar tilted slightly away. I got used to this very quickly, but then I'm not a touch typist. And to set minds at rest, the one Argos sell is the UK layout: big return key, double-quote on the two and all. The picture that heads this post is of the one I bought!

It's odd, but MS have made decent cheap peripherals most of the time, even when their operating systems were terrible. The 600 continues the line. My personal view is that at the price Argos are asking, it destroys anything else available. You'd probably have to spend three times the amount to get anything appreciably better.


  1. Interesting to hear from the perspective of someone who probably spends a hell of a lot more time typing than I do.

    For casual use, I've been using the Dell keyboard that came with my desktop about 6 years ago without much complaint.

    1. The keyboards you get with PCs are a lottery. I have a nearly worn out Fujitsu-Siemens one that was pretty good when it was new. I've also had some that have felt like I was typing on Blu-tak. :P

  2. I'd say that the noise of a mechanical keyboard is half the fun. Having that constant stream of noise while I'm typing something, bizarrely enough, helps keep me motivated.

    1. I'm (just about) old enough to have done some typing on a manual typewriter. As such, I think I've had enough noise to last me a lifetime! :D