by Jerry Jackson
Last year Logitech released their innovative "Wave" keyboard design and although our editorial staff was skeptical at first, the Wave keyboard quickly became the favorite keyboard for two of our editors. How does Logitech plan to follow the success of the Cordless Desktop Wave this year? By releasing the same keyboard (with a few minor changes) and a much better wireless mouse ... and calling it the Cordless Desktop Wave Pro. Is this minor update worth your hard-earned cash? Let's take a look.
Build and Design
As mentioned in the introduction, the Logitech Cordless Desktop Wave Pro is an update to last year's release of the Cordelss Desktop Wave. The truth is that the new keyboard and mouse set looks as much like the old one as it sounds. While there are some sublte differences to the paint scheme used on this year's keyboard, the only major difference is the mouse.
Old Cordless Desktop Wave
New Cordless Desktop Wave Pro
As with the previous keyboard, the biggest challenge new users face with any ergonomic keyboard is the learning curve. The split key design that was popular years ago required users to re-learn how to type. The "Wave" does take a couple days to get used to, but after that, you'll wonder why all keyboards don't feel this good. Once your brain and fingers get used to the different depth of keys and smile-like curve of the keyboard you'll be typing at full speed.
The Wave's design is largely dictated by finger length. To account for certain fingers being longer, or shorter, than others, Logitech designed the contour of the keyboard to fit each finger appropriately. The keys are the highest at the A and Enter keys, which are hit by the shortest fingers. Moving inward, the D and K keys represent a valley as they are typed with the longest middle fingers. The keyboard rises again in the middle to accommodate the pointer fingers. The theory is, since this keyboard is optimized for the fingers, you'll use less awkward positions to reach them.
Aside from key height, the keyboard also features what Logitech calls a U-shape, or what we call the smile design. Either way, it's a five degree curve that nets a more comfortable wrist position. The wrists also receive a padded palm rest, which gives a little more comfort and encourages better hand positioning. I will note that the palm rest will wear quickly, and you may beable to notice the wrist sweat marks in our photos.
Standard on keyboards in this class, the Wave also features several media and programmable hot keys. The keyboard is powered by 2 AA batteries and battery life is expected to be an impressive 3 years! (We obviously couldn't put that claim to the test in time to publish this review.) There is a low-battery warning light underneath the down arrow key that glows when it's time to replace the batteries.
Better Mouse, Worse Mouse Traps
While the keyboard is the main attraction here, the new Wave desktop set also includes the all-new MX 1100 cordless laser mouse. Although this contoured mouse isn't designed to be ambidextrous, right-handed users should find this mouse to be extremely comfortable. Sure, the MX 1100 seems to have a weird shape the first time you look at it, but it's also exceptionally well designed, matching the keyboard and including rubber grips on the sides, along with a "Microgear" precision scroll wheel, scroll toggle, on-the-fly adjustable dpi, as well as front and back buttons.
I particularly enjoyed the adjustable dpi capability for working with multiple monitors set to different resolutions, as well as playing games set to different screen resolutions. The only thing that I didn't like about this mouse is one of the "features" I neglected to mention: the "stealth thumb button." The stealth button is a hidden button located beneath the thumb rest area on the mouse that allows for application switching using the "Window Switcher" in Windows Vista. At least, that's what it does if you install Logitech's bloated SetPoint software included with the keyboard and mouse. If you don't install SetPoint then the stealth button doesn't work. Honestly, there's no practical reason why you should "need" SetPoint for this particular button to work, so I can only assume a product engineer at Logitech was feeling lazy or Logitech wanted to give you a reason to install their software.
The mouse is powered by a single rechargeable AA battery and Logitech was kind enough to include a pre-charged Sanyo Eneloop brand battery in the box. Battery life is expected to be 6 weeks, and after 3 weeks of daily use (usually at least 6-9 hours daily) the battery in our review unit is still going strong. There is also a light on the mouse to indicate low battery levels. Logitech includes both a USB charging cable as well as a USB-to-power outlet adapter so that you can charge the mouse battery without connecting it to your computer
Once again, all of Logitech's promises have lived up to the marketing hype with their latest Wave keyboard and mouse. As I said previously, two of our editorial staff members (including yours truly) have been using Logitech Wave keyboards since last year and I'm a big believer in this ergonomic design. While the keyboard itself hasn't really changed in the last year, everything works as it should. The new MX 1100 cordless laser mouse is the main reason the new Cordless Desktop Wave Pro is so appealing over last year's model. Again, the new mouse is exceptional and nearly perfect ... as long as you're willing to install SetPoint and you aren't a southpaw.
Overall, I doubt there's a more comfortable cordless keyboard and mouse set on the market. However, for the full MSRP of $129, this wireless bundle might give you sticker shock since it costs $50 more than last year's Wave keyboard and mouse set.
Pricing and availability
The Logitech Cordless Desktop Wave Pro keyboard and mouse set will be available soon in retail stores everywhere and has an MSRP of $129. Visit the Logitech website for more information about features and availability.
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