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Logitech Bluetooth Cordless MX Duo Review

Highs

  • Bluetooth functionality; application toggle button on mouse; ergonomic feel; good tracking.

Rating

Our Score 9
User Score 2

Lows

  • Short USB/PS2 cable; Left-handers
  • Mac
  • and Linux users need-not-apply.
Overall, the functionality and versatility of the Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth was extremely impressive.

Summary

With cutting edge technology and a sleek, sexy look, the Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth is sure to please many users. The excellent overall functionality, coupled with the ergonomic considerations, make it a good choice for many users – providing they are right-handed and use Windows 2000 or XP.

Those looking for the next generation in wireless keyboard/mouse combos, as well as those who want freedom from wires, will be well-suited to consider this Logitech standout.

Introduction

Logitech has long been a leader in the computer accessories market, with one of their specialties being keyboards and mice. Building upon the success of their product lines, they’ve continued to add new features while holding price points to a reasonable level. One of their more recent offerings, the Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth, is an example of that and the subject of this review.

Based on Bluetooth – a wireless standard that allows similar enabled devices to communicate with each other within a short distance (30 feet) for the purposes of sharing or transferring information and files – the Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth makes it possible to work without wires running from your mouse or keyboard to your computer. While this is also possible with older RF technologies, Bluetooth gives the added functionality of allowing multiple devices to talk to each other, instead of a one on one communication.

With an MSRP of $199, this keyboard, mouse and Bluetooth basestation combo can be found for as low as $115 online.


The Bluetooth ensemble includes a keyboard, mouse and Bluetooth basestation.

Features and Design

Logitech’s Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth consists of a multimedia keyboard, eight-button mouse, and a combination rapid charge basestation / Bluetooth wireless hub. Included in the retail package is the following:

  • Cordless Elite Keyboard for Bluetooth
  • MX 900 cordless optical mouse for Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth wireless hub
  • CD with driver software and user’s guide
  • Installation guide
  • Two AA NIMH rechargeable batteries (for the mouse)
  • Four AA alkaline batteries (for the keyboard)
  • AC power adapter
  • Warranty information (five-year manufacturer’s warranty)

The keyboard is the same design that Logitech has been using for many of its wired and wireless multimedia designs for several years and it offers the same appealing features. A zero-degree tilt design gives a stylish, sleek look. The 104-key device offers customizable Web navigation buttons, a built-in media control center and left hand scroll wheel which provides a high degree of control without having to touch the mouse.


The 104-key Bluetooth keyboard features several handy media and application buttons.

As for the mouse, it is ergonomically very well-designed and offers something called the MX Optical Engine, which uses high rate RF technology to provide better quality tracking and accuracy. A comfortable scrolling wheel sits at the front of the rechargeable mouse, allowing for calibrated movements through documents and Web sites. There are also two thumb buttons for web page navigation and a button for flipping between open programs and documents.

The other piece of hardware included is the device where all the magic happens – the Bluetooth wireless hub. Since the primary method of communication between the keyboard/mouse duo and your desktop is Bluetooth, the hub is required for that interaction. The hub acts as the receiving point for any thing you do, transferring your actions to the computer through the attached USB cable. It can also act as your primary Bluetooth interface for other devices such as PDAs, Bluetooth headsets, Bluetooth-enabled printers and smart phones. The hub also serves as the recharging stand and resting place for the MX 900 mouse.

Setup and Installation

Setting up the Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth was fairly painless and straightforward. A detailed installation sheet with directions in four languages, along with illustrations, guides the way.

The first step is to take the wireless hub and hook it to your desktop or laptop, as well as plugging it into a power source. The Bluetooth wireless hub includes a PS/2 and USB 2.0 hookup. While only USB is needed, the PS/2 is available to provide access to the BIOS of computers that don’t natively support USB. According to Logitech, the desktop setup only works for Widows 2000 and XP (and presumably Windows Server 2003) so those with older operating systems, Mac or Linux won’t be able to enjoy the product’s benefits. Connecting through a USB hub caused the keyboard/mouse not to work and it is recommended to avoid this. While most users should have enough USB ports available and won’t need a hub, we did find the cord to be a bit too short for some setups.


An install CD, AC power adapter, and batteries are included along with the mouse, keyboard and basestation.

After putting the four AA batteries into the keyboard and pulling the yellow label from the mouse compartment where the two NIMH rechargeable batteries are stored, the mouse should be placed on the wireless hub so it can get a full charge of several hours. Logitech says that the mouse should reach a full charge, after a complete discharge, in four to six-and-a-half hours. A full charge should last, on average, about ten days for a standard office user. Some “heavy” users might need to recharge the mouse more often. Charging the mouse for 15 minutes gives the mouse enough power to operate for one day of standard use. The company recommends that you fully charge the mouse as often as possible.

Logitech also says that the device will let you know when it is about eight hours away from a total discharge by flashing a red light on the top of the mouse. When this happens,  you should recharge the mouse. Once the mouse has been charged past the eight hour warning point, the light will no longer flash red. While the mouse is charging, the light should flash green. When it is fully charged, the light will stop flashing.

With the hub now hooked up and detected by your computer, the basic Bluetooth functionality on the keyboard and mouse should work, as it did during our tests. Installation of the software provided on the CD is next in order to gain full usage of the different keyboard and mouse features. Via the software, you can assign specific operations to the buttons besides the default, check the battery levels and more. Users that like a minimal amount of programs running in the background may not like the fact that these applications are required to use the extra features, and it takes up a few megabytes of memory while running. Also included in the installation is mobile phone software so you can synchronize your Bluetooth cell phone with your contacts list, or be notified on your computer screen of SMS messages and incoming calls.

Testing and Performance

Overall, the functionality and versatility of the Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth was extremely impressive. The Bluetooth technology was the highlight, with the wireless range being an as-advertised 30 feet. There was, however, a noticeable drop-off in connectivity by the time the maximum distance was reached.

The keyboard’s navigation wheel makes scrolling through long documents and Web pages a snap. The eight silver buttons along the top, offering tasks from printing to calling up various windows and Web sites, work as advertised. Also quite useful are the media buttons, which can call up Microsoft Windows Media Player and control the volume, navigate through media and pause, stop or play files. Unfortunately, those that prefer Winamp, Foobar or other media players won’t be able to use those controls – an oversight that many users have requested Logitech to address.

Typing appears real time on the screen, keeping easily in sync with speed typing. The buttons feel solid, and the overall construction of the keyboard looks and feels to be very durable.

With regards to the mouse, it also works as advertised. It is both comfortable and feature-packed. The scroll wheel has a good feel to it as do the two Web navigation buttons on the left side. Most impressive however is the application navigation button, which, when pressed, pops up a window of all open applications. This feature makes it very easy to scroll through the choices and pick the needed application with a single click.

Ergonomically, both the keyboard and the mouse feel comfortable. For those desiring a palm rest for the keyboard, an optional add-on rest is included in the package and it easily snaps right in. As is the case with most computer mice, this is designed specifically for a right-handed user. Southpaws may find it uncomfortable and hard to use. For righties, it offers a natural contour to match a hand, with a slight groove on the left side for the thumb to rest in.

Conclusion

With cutting edge technology and a sleek, sexy look, the Cordless Desktop MX for Bluetooth is sure to please many users. The excellent overall functionality, coupled with the ergonomic considerations, make it a good choice for many users – providing they are right-handed and use Windows 2000 or XP.

Those looking for the next generation in wireless keyboard/mouse combos, as well as those who want freedom from wires, will be well-suited to consider this Logitech standout.

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