[UPDATED] Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard: ultra-thin, super useful

Want to take a keyboard along with you when you hit the road? The thinner the better. That's why we jumped at the chance to review the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000, the company's thinnest keyboard yet. The keyboard is accompanied by a stand-alone number pad, which slips conveniently into a casual-looking carrying bag. It's a stylish package, but does it earn a space in your burgeoning carry-on?

After placing a couple of AAA batteries in the keyboard and one in the separate number pad, it was a cinch to pair these up with our Bluetooth-equipped laptop. In fact, it was the easiest Bluetooth pairing we've ever experienced. It just works. It's interesting there's no Bluetooth dongle included, but Microsoft estimates a majority of the world's laptops have such hardware on board, so road warriors don't need yet another easy-to-lose component in their carry-on bags. Makes sense.

The keyboard's keys feel like your average laptop, with plenty of key travel and great responsiveness. We like the way the keys are laid out on both of these units — they're easy to use and feel great. The best attribute about this pair is their ultra-thinness, making them easier to pack and great companions on the road. Team these up with the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000, and it'll feel like you're computing at home.

When we're traveling, many times we end up typing for hours with a hot notebook on our laps. It's uncomfortable, and this minuscule keyboard will solve that problem, letting us set the laptop aside and type comfortably. That number pad comes in especially handy, because laptops are notoriously lame when you want to enter long strings of numbers. And hey, maybe someday, the iPhone will be compatible with Bluetooth keyboards, making this portable pair even more useful.

The Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 and its associated number pad are high-quality products, and fill a niche for those road warriors who want to take along the comforts of home. [UPDATE: the keyboard and number pad together cost $90, not $135 as Microsoft's early info indicated, and as we reported, the number pad alone is $45.] This is a gorgeous pair of input devices. Both will be available in October, and they're highly recommended.

Via Microsoft