While neither the most attractive-looking nor the most compact peripherals, the Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse are incredibly appealing in terms of price, performance, and comfort. And the easy setup is a no-brainer for even the least computer-savvy users.
Incredibly straightforward and easy setup
Keyboard great to type on
Mouse has great palm support
Mouse buttons could be better
Only one connectivity option
Keyboard is massive
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Looks aren’t everything, and the Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse is proof. While most peripherals out there clamor for your attention with their modern design or flashy RGB lighting, this keyboard and mouse combo goes for the simple yet functional approach. As thus, it’s incredibly easy to overlook.
Give the Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse combo a chance, however, and it’ll surprise you. Front and center is the keyboard, which boasts Cherry's SX scissor switch that simply elevates your typing experience. It might not be the most good-looking or the most compact keyboard out there, but it’s fast, accurate presses and exquisite bounce and tactile feedback will make a convert out of anyone. That’s without mentioning its unbelievably easy setup.
As with most peripherals, these are hardly perfect accessories. In terms of connectivity options and mouse buttons, some tweaks could have been made on the drawing board. And, the mouse is never going to win the best mouse award. Still, the Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse combo is already pretty impressive as it is now, especially considering the price.
At $63 (about £45, AU$80), this peripheral set is incredibly cheap. It’s not only much less than most of the best keyboards – or about the same price or slightly cheaper than many of the best wireless mice, but you’re also getting two great devices in one. That’s a bargain that most businesses and casual home users will appreciate.
Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be readily available in Australia at the time of writing. However, if you’re in the US or UK, you’ll find it on hand at most major retail stores online.
When we say looks aren’t everything to the Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse combo, we don’t mean it’s unattractive. More of the side of plain-looking, especially the black version, these peripherals remind us of those early keyboards in the 90s that are trying to keep up with the latest fads.
That’s especially true of the keyboard, which has thick borders that only add to its overall footprint. Luckily, while it does take up a lot of space on your desk, both this keyboard and the mouse on the thin side. Still, that doesn’t make this combo travel friendly, which is a shame considering their wireless design.
The setup is surprisingly simple – so simple we honestly thought at first we were doing something wrong. With just a plug-and-play setup, the Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse combo is a boon for offices with multiple computers and multiple users, as well as casual home users who aren’t necessarily well-versed in technology.
All you need to do is insert the batteries, plug the USB wireless receiver that connects both devices to your PC’s USB 2.0 port, switch both on, and you’re good to go. This is honestly incredibly refreshing. We spend a lot of time testing different peripherals loaded with features and a boatload of customizations, and reviewing one that’s simple and straightforward feels like a nice and relaxing vacation.
While it does come with the free Cherry Keys software, key and button remaps are limited and just enough for the typical general user. We only wish that it offered more than one connectivity option – having Bluetooth connectivity, for example, seems the standard of wireless keyboards at this point – and that it came with rechargeable batteries.
If you like that setup, you’ll love the feel of the keyboard’s keys. Because it is a sizable keyboard, the keys are nice and big so your fingers won’t feel cramped or claustrophobic. More importantly, each press feels like a dream. According to Cherry, its SX scissor technology is designed to make those switches precise and quiet, and the high quality really shows during use. Each press is not only very comfortable, but also extremely satisfying.
There’s also a shorter travel distance, which should help reduce fatigue when you’re typing all day. It’s still not the quietest keyboard we’ve tested, but it’s quiet enough to not disturb your closest co-workers if you’re in a busy office.
The mouse, as we mentioned earlier, could be better. It feels great in your hand, and it offers support for palm grippers with its curved palm rest. However, the buttons aren’t satisfying enough to click. There’s less travel there, which is nice, and they’re really quiet.
At the same time, the feedback is more of a thud rather than a click. That might bother some users who are used to that clicking feel. More to the point, there’s a lot less resistance, making it more prone to accidental clicks. That’s especially true of the rear side button, which has an unfortunate placement of being in the way of the thumb.
The sad truth is that we’ve accidentally clicked that button more times than we’ve ever used the side buttons of all the productivity mice we’ve ever tested. All those accidental presses have actually gotten in the way of our workflow.
But that also shows just how responsive, fast, and accurate the Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse are. During our tests, we have not experienced any lags nor missed presses, even when we’re in the zone and typing very fast. There is no mention of features like N-key rollover or anti-ghosting, but they don’t seem necessary here with the keyboard performance. As far as the mouse, it has a DPI button that will let you cycle through 3 DPI settings: 1000, 1600, and 2400 – and they are more than enough for everyday tasks.
We’d probably use a different set of peripherals for gaming or creative tasks. But, as far as getting a whole lot of work done – whether you’re typing up that term paper, penning long emails to friends and family, or writing reports for work, this is perhaps the ultimate keyboard-and-mouse combo.
Buy it if…
You need cheap, comfortable, capable peripherals for work
The Cherry Stream Desktop’s price-to-performance ratio is practically incomparable. It’s very responsive and surprisingly comfortable to use, especially the keyboard, while being much more affordable than many of what we’d consider its rivals.
You want an effortless setup
This combo comes with a USB wireless receiver that gives it a plug-and-play kind of setup. There’s not much work to be done when setting it up, which means it’s an excellent option for general users and those who aren’t computer-savvy.
You don’t want to spend a lot on accessories
For less than $70/£45/AU$90, you’re getting two wireless peripherals, both of which work beautifully and help elevate your computing experience. If you need to buy a bunch of peripherals for your office or business, or you need something reliable for your home computer, this one’s a winner.
Don’t buy it if…
You’re looking for something attractive
The Cherry Stream Desktop keyboard and mouse combo are more about function and comfort, and less about aesthetics. If you want something that will look pretty with your set up or light up like a Christmas tree, there are other options – though be prepared to pay more.
You want more features
The Cherry Stream Desktop’s back-to-basics approach isn’t going to be for everyone. If you want a feature-rich keyboard with things like multi-device connectivity, full per-key customization, or even backlighting, you should look elsewhere.
Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.