Logitech never ceases to amaze us with their solid input device offerings, and the Cordless Desktop MX 3100 is no exception. The keyboard feels great to type on and has a plethora of shortcut buttons, and the MX 1000 mouse is one of our Editor’s Choice Award winners. Finally, you can get it bundled with a keyboard, so there’s no need for multiple receivers.
Features and Design
The recent barrage of Logitech input products has left many people asking, “Which solution is right for me?” There are many people who have a specific use in mind, and trudging through the feature lists can be exhausting and frustrating. There are the issues of Bluetooth, wired versus wireless, gaming versus productivity versus media center, and many more. And if you decide to purchase a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse separately, can they share the receiver, or will both receivers need to consume two precious USB ports? What if all you want is simply a great cordless keyboard and mouse for everyday use? The answer is simple: The MX 3100.
The MX 3100 is actually a bundling of two excellent Logitech products: The MX 1000 wireless mouse, and a revamped MX 3000 keyboard. Both are paired at the factory with a single receiver, so you’ll only need one USB port, and the receiver doubles as a stylish charging station for the MX1000. This particular Cordless Desktop features Logitech’s 2.4GHz proprietary wireless technology. Those looking for Bluetooth should check out the MX 5000, which adds an LCD display to the keyboard and comes with a special MX 1000 for Bluetooth.
The keyboard, mouse, charging station, USB-to-PS2 adapter, two AA batteries, and power cord, along with an obligatory outdated driver CD, are all you get out of the box. The batteries are meant for the keyboard, since the MX 1000 has a built-in, non-replaceable battery. We were not thrilled by the prospect of being forced to dock the MX 1000, should we forget to recharge it. We used the mouse heavily for a week, refusing to let it sip from the sweet, sweet electrical nectar of the charging station. The built-in gauge measured only 1/3 charge consumed. This is far better than the gaming-geared Logitech G7 mouse, which could hardly last a day of intense use. We also found that Logitech is very liberal with its low battery warning. Even when the battery is critical, there are generally over two hours of usage left. The charging station is a step up from previous generations. The translucent backing and curvy design look great, and the electrical connectors appear to make contact better than the MX x00 series. Over time, these older MX mice, like the MX 700 and 900, would require some fidgeting to get a solid contact between mouse and base station. That problem appears to be addressed in the MX 1000 design.
The design of the mouse and keyboard are excellent overall. The MX 1000 mouse has, in addition to the traditional mouse buttons, five additional buttons. Cruise Up and Cruise Down surround the mouse wheel and allow you to scroll through documents at warp speed. The Forward and Back buttons by the thumb rest ease webpage navigation by supplying quick access to those functions. The Application Switch button, well, it switches the active application. The scroll wheel also supports tilt action for horizontal scrolling. Through the SetPoint software, the buttons can be reassigned to do nearly anything besides launch a program. There’s drag locking, minimizing, pasting undoing, support for any user definable keystroke, the list goes on. In use, the three-level battery meter illuminates the level of juice left in the mouse. The bottom surface hides a Reset button and a manual On/Off button. The mouse will automatically turn itself off after a few minutes, and returns to life instantly when movement is detected. The purpose of the switch is to avoid running the battery out during transport, when the laser will pick up constant movement.
Image Courtesy of Logitech
Overall Use and Testing
For more on the performance of the MX 1000, along with a background on the laser technology and some very interesting tests, check out our earlier review in the “Keyboards and Mice” section. It should be noted that for correct Forward and Back functionality in Firefox or Maxthon, the SetPoint software needs to be changed to the keystroke Alt+left arrow and Alt+right arrow. This will not break compatibility with Internet Explorer.
The MX 3000 keyboard is simply a great all-around solution if you don’t have a specific use in mind. There are productivity, media, and internet shortcuts galore, and the best part is that everything is customizable. The SetPoint software is truly a joy to use and offers a graphical representation of each button, so you know which one you are changing. For nearly all of the shortcut buttons, you can choose from the default task, opening a web page, launching an application, opening a file or folder, bringing up a completely custom menu, assigning a keystroke, and (for those who are afraid they will mash the wrong button in the middle of a game) disabling any and all shortcut buttons. The custom menu option allows the user to add a number of web pages and applications to a list that can be scrolled through with the arrow keys or mouse. This is great if you have multiple email accounts that are web-based, as you can set up a menu consisting of Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, GMail, and Outlook, all tied to the Email shortcut button. Likewise with the messenger button for AIM, Y! Messenger, ICQ, MSN, etc.
The productivity shortcuts are strewn across the keyboard. Along the left side of the standard letter keys are the document control keys. They allow quick zooming in and out, document closing, application switching and an oddly placed Return key. There is also a scroll wheel with tilt scrolling, along with Cruise Up and Down buttons. By the Zoom In/Out key is a key labeled “%”that returns the document to 100% zoom. After considering the options in this distinct area of the keyboard, we realized that this is optimized for use in Excel. One hand can be on the numeric pad, entering numbers, while the other scrolls, moves down lines and zooms in and out to check large spreadsheets. Other productivity keys include the My Documents, Email, and Calculator keys. The F-keys can be assigned an F Mode function. Essentially, there is an F Mode key that switches the F-keys from the traditional functions within applications to user-definable functions. By default, they are set to open Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, Undo, Redo, Print and Save. There are four undefined keys that are left for the user to customize, should you not want to upset the delicate default order, which we found well thought out.
The internet functions are relatively basic, but cover all the bases. As mentioned earlier, the Email button can access any email account, whether web-based or in an application. Next to the Email button is the Messenger button, which can be customized in the same ways. By default, it opens MSN Messenger, but should you decide to switch the application, the open dialog immediately takes you to the Start menu folder. It may not seem like a major feature, but rather than having to browse back to the C drive, then find the program executable in the labyrinth that is the Program Files folder, you are instantly taken to no more than three clicks from your desired file. The Messenger Status button can be used to set your status to Away or Available, and the Webcam button launches–you guessed it–your webcam viewer.
What would a Logitech keyboard be without media buttons? We don’t know, as we’ve never seen one without them! And the MX 3000 delivers all the usual suspects. The application-aware SetPoint drivers detect the open media player and can control it using the basic media buttons. These include Next/Previous, Play/Pause, Stop, Mute, and Volume. The Volume control is actually a spinning wheel and offers a nice touch, as the sea of buttons needs something to break up the monotony. A couple of unnecessary buttons clutter the area, though. There are two media launchers, presumably one for DVD/Video playback and one for Music playback. There are also Record, Burn, and Eject buttons, which we doubt will ever be used. There are also three Audio preset buttons that will save the current state of Windows Media Player, and allow you to instantly return to that state at a later time. Again, not very useful, but we’re sure someone out there has been waiting for a feature like this. Next to the My Documents button are shortcuts to the My Videos, My Music and My Pictures folders. Again, nice, but if you have one button access to My Documents, is it that tough to double-click the folders from there?
Also noteworthy: The keyboard has a very satisfying feel to each key press and can be used either flat or with the top elevated. The detachable wrist rest is a little unforgiving, but any serious typist will most likely opt for a more customized solution.
All this, and a five-year warranty. You can’t go wrong.
If you’re looking for a simple wireless keyboard and mouse combination, with room to grow, look no further than the MX 3100. Along with the award-winning MX 1000 mouse, the MX 3000 keyboard offers an unparalleled level of customization. The productivity-, internet-, and media-centered shortcut keys make this the perfect keyboard for nearly every use, from the family PC to the office workstation.
- MX1000 mouse
- Solid keyboard
- Media integration
- Built-in mouse battery
- Hard wrist rest
- No left-handed option