From mobile phones to monitors, superslim electronic devices are all the rage, and desktop accessories aren't about to be left out. The Creative Desktop Wireless 9000 Pro set squeezes a lot of multimedia functionality into an ultrathin keyboard and mouse set. However, it sacrifices comfort for sleekness, and for its £45 price it offers less functionality than other desktop sets, such as the Logitech MX3100. We recommend the 9000 Pro primarily for PC users with limited desk space -- otherwise, we prefer the Logitech MX3100.
The 9000 Pro's standard setup process includes inserting the rechargeable batteries into the mouse and the keyboard -- two AA batteries for the mouse and two AAA batteries for the keyboard -- installing the drivers and plugging in the USB receiver. Where this set differs from others we've seen is that it provides rechargeable batteries and uses the USB port to charge them. Creative recommends charging the batteries (via USB) for 8 hours, but we just plugged both in and started using them.
The 9000 Pro's software utility integrates with the Windows Mouse and Keyboard control panels, though a small taskbar icon will bring you directly there. Our test unit worked straight away, but you may need to press the connect buttons on the receiver, the mouse and the keyboard to sync them up. Bonus points to Creative for placing the connect button on top of the keyboard instead of hiding it underneath, like on most wireless keyboards.
The keyboard is a very slim 32mm, yet its design accommodates a row of silver quick keys along its top edge. You can program the 10 quick keys to open programs, perform functions (print or save, for example) or go directly to a file path or a Web address. We like the buttons' default settings, which can launch a Web browser, a media player, an email application, bookmarks, desktop search and a calculator, and can also refresh your current Web page or move your browser forward or back a page. The sleep button worked without a hitch, but the media controls didn't work with Nullsoft Winamp, though they worked perfectly with Musicmatch, iTunes and Windows Media Player.
The large volume wheel doesn't double as a scrollwheel, as on some other sets we've seen. The main keys rise only slightly over the base, giving them the shallow travel and quiet response of keys on a laptop keyboard. We found the thin form factor a bit uncomfortable and missed having a wrist rest. We didn't warm to the keyboard's two high-level options, and we found a couple other design quirks odd -- the media control keys are grouped together, but a silver bar separates the stop button from the others. Also, the main Enter key is extra large and occupies the space typically dedicated to the \ key.
At 800dpi the mouse is fairly sensitive, and its curved body is comfortable to use for extended periods. In addition to the standard left-click, right-click and scrollwheel buttons, the 9000 Pro mouse adds two programmable buttons on the left and right sides. They default to moving your Web browser back or forward a page, but they can easily be programmed. They're also easy to hit by accident, but we appreciate the functionality they add to the set.
Edited by Justin Jaffe
Additional editing by Kate Macefield