Sometime around the late 20th century, man decided that using a keyboard and mouse was the way to go for all computer-related tasks. Somewhat later, some other smart fellow discovered that the signals sent between mouse, keyboard and computer could be sent via RF, or Radio Frequency. Wireless keyboards and mice were born.
For general users, this was a blessing, as many of them preferred to lounge back in their chairs while typing things such as this review, albeit not a review, nor with the same content. Gamers and other enthusiasts were left in the dark, as the early age of wireless input was plagued by sloppy refresh times, and jittery movement.
The MX Duo is one of Logitech's current wireless range, with the only two products above it being the MX Duo Bluetooth, and the Di Novo, both of which are at the moment horrendously expensive, due to Bluetooth still being an expensive commodity.
This review will mainly focus on the keyboard aspect of the MX Duo, as the mouse included in this package, the MX700, has already been reviewed by a member of our staff.
On with the review!
The box that the MX Duo comes in seems fairly heavy at first; surely a keyboard and a mouse can't weigh this much? The package design is quite pleasing to the eye, giving you the necessary details to discern the specifications briefly.
Upon opening the box, you have another box, and upon opening this, you can pull out all the components for your wireless setup. This includes the keyboard, mouse, charging station, AC/DC adaptor, keyboard wrist rest, USB to PS/2 converter, the batteries, and the manual/software.
The way the contents are packed into the box is perfect, and provides adequate protection during transit/delivery, just in case there's a few bumps and knocks along the way.
Installation and Configuration
This part is very simple. Plug the USB plug into one of your USB ports in your machine, plug the PS/2 plug into the mouse socket, and fire up the machine. Press the Connect button on the basestation, and then the Connect button on your mouse. Wait around 20 seconds, then repeat this process, but with your keyboard instead of your mouse.
You should be able to use the basic functions of a keyboard and mouse by default in Windows XP; if you are running 2000 you may have to install the drivers with your old keyboard/mouse plugged in. Unfortunately I don't have a Win2000 box to test this on.
Run the software off the CD.
You'll be given a choice during installation of what you wish to install, and the options will be as follows:
- Logitech iTouch Software
- Logitech Mouseware
- MusicMatch Jukebox
- EBay Shortcut Links.
I chose the top two options, as I have no need for either MusicMatch nor EBay links.
Keep clicking next, and Setup will prompt you for a restart. Do so.
When you reboot, Windows will detect your MX700 and attempt to configure it. The setup for the mouse is as described in the MX700 review, so refer to that review for details if you need them.
One thing I found with the default settings is that the scroll wheel will be assigned "Universal Scroll". I'm not entirely sure what this will do, but I wasn't too pleased with it, so if you want it to work the same way as your old scrollwheel/button, change this to Middle Button. This is to make it so that when you click the middle button in a webpage for example, a simple circle with the up and down arrows appears, and you scroll simply by moving the mouse up and down.
The keyboard hotkeys setup can be accessed by opening the iTouch panel, and then setting the programs to run there.
These can all be configured to run either webpages, programs, a keystroke, or a menu. One thing I noticed is that after assigning Search and Shopping to webpages, because I use Firefox, nothing appears to happen when I press these buttons other than the on-screen confirmation of the button being pressed. While this is not a big issue for me, for others it may be annoying.
Other settings such as what the iTouch functions will be on the F-keys, what the Go button prefix will be, example "http://www", your music and pictures folders, on-screen effects, and so on. This panel also displays your keyboard's current battery level, and allows you to secure your keyboard transmissions, which works as encryption.
There we have it! Your keyboard and mouse should now be set up for any use.
The keyboard comes with a number of buttons on it to assist in accessing various features of your machine much easier. This will be broken up into three sections to cover the things you won't find on that $5 keyboard you bought the other year.
On the very left of the keyboard, you will find a scroll wheel, a "Back" button, and a "Go" button. The scroll on this keyboard can be used for various things: on initial use, you will get a prompt displaying what can be done with this, but you can safely ignore that, as it can be brought back later.
When you press down the wheel, the above menu will appear, and you can scroll to select the option you desire. To choose an item, press the scroll wheel again. Here I've chosen Scroll Vertically, which will make the scroll into just another scroll wheel, but if you wish to use it to work as a roaming Alt-Tab, then you can select Switch Applications. Scrolling the wheel will then perform a quick Alt-Tab, and bring the next application to the front.
The "back" button is used exactly as clicking on the Back button in any browser would; it takes you back a page.
The "Go" button brings up a dialog into which to type in a web address to go to. The prefix can be set in the iTouch configuration as shown above.
As I mentioned earlier, because of my alternative browser, this seems not to work. Hopefully Logitech will address this in their next driver release.
2) iTouch F-Key Utilities
Lots of buttons here, all doing a purpose. All of which can be set up in the iTouch configuration to do whatever you want them to, barring taking over third-world countries, etc. Unless you like having bits of tape on your keyboard telling you the real function of these buttons, it's generally a good idea to at least have them sort of associated with what they're supposed to be, eg, having Shopping bound to something like www.razorprices.com, and not something like opening Photoshop. All the buttons have a nice feel to them and press quite firmly, giving it a good feel.
The F-Lock key, however, will be one of the most used if you're like me and take screenshots of things quite often. F-Lock works in a strange way; on the F-keys, there are things like New, Undo, Save, etc. All functions that will get things done a little quicker once you get used to them. But if you're used to Ctrl-S, why bother with looking for F8?
Unfortunately the thing that may trip you up is that Print Screen requires F-Lock to be off, but pressing F12, for instance, to save the picture in Paintshop Pro 5, requires it to be on. So every time you take a screenshot and save it, you'll have to press the F-Lock button twice all up.
One button to be wary of: User. It's blended in with the backing for a reason folks: hitting this will usually guarantee your machine does a nice little sleep, closing all your applications. Not the best thing to be hitting at any rate.
3) Media Controls.
This is where the fun starts. Pressing Media will pop up a menu that you can navigate to select which program you'd like to open. I assume that the software scans for these programs by default, because it picked up Winamp and Power DVD straight away.
The big Volume control manages the master volume of your system. Just spin it around, and up or down goes the volume.
The Next and Previous track buttons are self-explanatory, and work even with Winamp minimised. Now that's quality. Play and Stop do what they're meant to as well. So does Mute.
4) Base Station.
The only difference from the basestation of the MX700 is that this basestation has lights on it, indicating Caps Lock, Num Lock, and F-Lock. This is to reduce the batteries needed in the keyboard from 4 to 2, and to reduce the usage. All lights are clearly visible.
While the mouse only works around 6 feet away from the basestation, the keyboard has a much longer range. During testing I went to the front room of my house, into the garage, out into the back garden, and the keyboard still worked. Yes, there were some errors, and I had to be facing in the general direction of the basestation, but considering there's around 6 or 7 walls in between myself and the basestation at any given time during those tests, it's quite good range. Interference such as proximity to other electrical items can decrease the range. Logitech also recommends placing the basestation at least 20cm away from any electrical devices, like your monitor or case.
Well. I'm not sure how I ever lived without this combo. The keyboard feels great to the touch; all the keys flow nicely, and don't encourage hand strain whatsoever. I've been typing for a few hours now and my hands aren't sore yet. Good stuff.
The mouse is absolute perfection. While mouse-aficionados out there will cry "MX510! MX510!", that mouse is coming out in September, and has a cord. So no direct comparison can be made. In games, I'm yet to notice any mouse-lag. I'm not quite as accurate as I used to be, but that's because the mouse is heavier due to the batteries, and I'm used to a cable still. Old habits die hard. But still an excellent mouse.
If it were on a rating of 1-100, I'd give the MX Duo between 95 and 98. Only a few points would be lost, but that's for purely selfish reasons; things that inconvenience myself and probably myself only. Otherwise this is a perfect product.