Ergonomic keyboards have been around for some time, but they’ve mostly curved upward to accommodate longer middle fingers. Logitech’s new Wave keyboard does the opposite, curving downward to cradle your hands as you type. Whether it’s innovative is debatable, but it’s certainly comfortable. The package is rounded out by a slick, ambidextrous mouse and a host of features that are quite useful, especially if you’re running Windows Vista.
Features and Design
Do the gnomes toiling in Logitech’s keyboard workshop ever take a break? It certainly doesn’t seem like it, as the company releases new mice, keyboards, and mouse/keyboard combos almost as fast as we can print reviews of them. Just as the ink was drying on our review of the Cordless MX 3200 review, Logitech has announced the Cordless Desktop Wave.
The keyboard is certainly the star of the show here, as it features an unusual wave design that runs contrary to the established ergonomic keyboard design philosophy. Most other ergonomic keyboards are either flat, raised in the center, or have the left or right sides pointing toward one another in order to compensate for the way our arms naturally rest on the keyboard. The Wave, however, takes a different tack by using a straightforward orientation of the keys, but including a gentle down slope on both sides of the keyboard to compensate for the fact that our middle fingers are longer than our index and pinky fingers. It’s not just that some buttons are shorter than others, though. The keys are all specifically designed to curve smoothly up and down, and if you look at the keyboard from a profile view, you can see the difference in key size.
The Wave keyboard used seven different size keys to create a gentle sloping action.
The keyboard features three tilt options, which is fantastic. You can lay it down flat or choose to flip down one or both of the stands behind the keyboard, which raise it up a bit — whatever you desire.
Like any Logitech keyboard, it’s ringed with special function buttons, and some of them are enhanced when used in Windows vista. The far left side of the keyboard features just two buttons. The bottom key activates Flip3D in Vista and also opens a small window in XP that lets you choose between open windows. Above it is a zoom button that is actually quite useful for zooming in and out in images or web pages.
The top of the keyboard sports shortcut buttons to the Vista Sidebar (on XP, it opens a webpage for Yahoo Widgets), your pre-selected music player (iTunes, Winamp, WMP), your My Pictures folder, and has media control buttons as well. It’s important to note that all these buttons can be customized using the included Set Point software.
The far right corner sports just two shortcut buttons that open Calculator or put the PC to sleep. Of course, all the F buttons have dual functions as well and can all be customized.
Say hello to the LX8 Laser cordless mouse. It’s an ambidextrous mouse with soft rubber side grips, five buttons, and a pleasingly comfortable shape. The buttons are standard fare and include right and left click a mouse wheel that clicks and moves left and right, and forward and back buttons on the left and right sides of the mouse. The mouse tracks via laser and has a modest 800dpi.
The USB receiver is the size of a USB key, and it can either be inserted into a USB port or plugged into a USB extension cable that sits on your desktop. We did not experience any performance degradation when plugging it into the back of our PC, so we’d recommend going that route for maximum wirelessness.
Use and Testing
In order to test the Wave, we set up a rigorous schedule of mousing, typing, and then more mousing and typing. We also used it on a Vista computer and an XP PC to see what the difference was.
They keyboard is comfortable, for sure, but it’s subtle. If you’ve ever used an ergonomic keyboard before, you know that it can take some getting used to. The Wave is not too hard to get used to, and in fact, we felt the molded wrist rest to be almost more comfortable than the size of the keys. The action on the keys feels just like the MX 3200, which is to say, it’s a bit squishy for our tastes. We prefer our keyboards to be a bit crisper in terms of feel and feedback, and at first we made a lot of typing mistakes on the keyboard, but we made less as we used it more.
The shortcut keys are actually useful and were appreciated. All of them worked as they should once we installed the SetPoint software. The only situation we had issues with was that we read the marketing materials that came with this keyboard, and it stated that Logitech developed three Windows Vista gadgets to accompany the keyboard, including a Caps/Num lock status (useful, since there are no lights on the keyboard), a typing speed indicator, and an error calculator. We had just one problem: We could not find them, anywhere. They were not installed with the software, and when we typed in “Logitech Wave” on the Vista gadget site, we did not find anything. (Update: Logitech has pointed out that the gadgets for the Wave are on its support site at this link.)
The LX8 mouse was surprisingly comfortable and easy to use. We’re not too fond of cordless mice unless they have an insane dpi, like the Logitech G7, but we found the LX8 to be sufficiently accurate, even while gaming. Also, we especially liked the design of the “forward” button on this mouse. We’ve always found the “back” button to be very useful, but have never found a “forward” button that didn’t aggravate us — until now, that is. Since you grip the mouse on the right side with your fingers, the button for “forward” that was placed there has always gotten in the way, resulting in accidental clicks. On the LX8, however, Logitech made it flush with the mouse’s edge, so gripping it normally does not activate it. If you want to go forward, you just squeeze your fingers and it clicks. It’s a great design.
The only special trick the mouse has is that in Vista, when you depress the mouse wheel, it opens up Flip3D, which is very useful. If you are using XP, it opens up a small window that lists your currently open windows, essentially accomplishing the same task with less transparent windows.
Since we tested the Wave for just a few weeks, we can’t comment on the overall battery life, except to say it remained good at all times. If you hover the mouse pointer over the Logitech icon in the system tray, it tells you what the battery status is at that time, and when it gets low, a light on the mouse illuminates. Logitech claims the keyboard will be good for up to 15 months on two AA batteries, while the mouse will last for six months on the same battery ration.
You can get a battery status update by hovering the mouse over the icon in the system tray.
The Wave keyboard and mouse are great, but they will not blow you away with some new and unforeseen level of comfort that you never thought existed. The keyboard is comfortable, but the squishiness of the keys turned us off a bit. The shortcuts are very useful, however, both on the keyboard and mouse. Perhaps the most comfortable component of the keyboard is not the sloping keys, but the wave-shaped wrist rest.
The mouse is very comfortable, and its ambidextrous design is great. Both north and south paws will find it to be accurate, comfortable, and easy to use.
Overall, we found the Wave didn’t knock us over, but it splashed up on us and left us feeling content.
• Moderately comfortable
• Useful shortcut buttons
• Easy setup
• Keyboard feel is a bit mushy
• Included Gadgets are hard to find