Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution Review

by Reads (29,726)

by Jerry Jackson

Last month Logitech released their take on innovative keyboard design: the Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution. While we were initially skeptical of the typical Logitech marketing hype, the MX 5500 Revolution looks like a remarkable Bluetooth keyboard and mouse set. Continue reading to find out how the new Revolution keyboard and mouse performed.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in using any new keyboard and mouse is the learning curve. By that I mean every keyboard has slightly different key spacing and overall layout. Likewise, the latest high-end mice feature multiple buttons and scroll wheels … so the days of the simple two-button mouse are numbered. The MX 5500 ($169.99) does take a couple days to get used to, but after that, it’s full speed ahead. Once my fingers and brain got used to the different location for keys like volume, media center, and gadgets, I was fine and typing at full speed.

Package Contents:

  • Logitech Bluetooth MX 5500 Keyboard
  • Logitech Bluetooth MX Revolution Laser Mouse
  • USB Bluetooth mini-receiver (can be used as Bluetooth hub)
  • Four AA alkaline batteries
  • CD with software, comfort guidelines, and help center
  • Quick-Start guide


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The Beauty of a Bluetooth Keyboard

At first glance the design of the MX 5500 is pretty straight forward and almost "old fashioned" compared to some of Logitech’s other keybords. Upon closer examination you’ll find some well-placed media controls, Windows Vista hotkeys, and an interesting LCD display.

Logitech’s "dynamic keyboard display" is an integrated LCD that makes it easy to play music, use your calculator, receive incoming message notifications, and check the time and date. It’s a nice feature I wish we found on more desktop keyboards, but given the fact this wireless keyboard runs on AA batteries I’m a little concerned about the long-term impact on battery life.


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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, you might even notice the wrist marks on ours in the photographs.


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As is standard on keyboards in this class, the MX 5500 also features several media and programmable hot keys. The keyboard is powered by four AA batteries. Battery life is expected to be 180 days. There is a low-battery warning that appears on the LCD when it’s time to replace the batteries.

About the only "problem" I experienced with the keyboard was the included SetPoint software from Logitech. SetPoint is a virtual requirement with this keyboard if you want to program specific hot keys and if you want to disable certain features like on-screen caps lock confirmation or the beep that occurs every time you receive a new email. I honestly believe Logitech could have developed this desktop set without the need for SetPoint. If it weren’t for the ability to program keys I’d call the SetPoint software nothing but "bloatware."

A Great Mouse Made Even Better

While the keyboard is the main attraction here, the MX 5500 desktop set also includes the much loved MX Revolution cordless laser mouse. As if this sculpted mouse wasn’t already incredible, the latest revision of the MX Revolution Cordless Laser Mouse now uses Bluetooth.

While I’ve had bad experiences with Bluetooth mice in the past that offered poor range and even poorer accuracy, the new MX Revolution provides excellent accuracy and pinpoint tracking on almost any surface. The primary scroll wheel lets you switch from rapid scrolling to click-to-click for navigating lists, slides, and images. The thumb scroll wheel helps you take advantage of Vista by letting you jump between multiple windows and your desktop with ease.

The rapid charging stand eliminates the need to change batteries but also makes the mouse a little less useful for notebook users who might like to bring the mouse with them when they travel. The mouse is powered by a built-in rechargable battery and there is a light on the mouse to indicate low battery levels.


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The Included Bluetooth Adapter

I must confess that I have mixed feelings about the Bluetooth USB adapter that Logitech includes with the MX5500 Revolution set. On one hand, the Bluetooth 2.0 EDR adapter is a great thing to have if your notebook or desktop isn’t equipped with built-in Bluetooth. On the other hand, just about every company that manufactures computer accessories has released much smaller USB adapters over the last year.


The included Bluetooth USB adapter
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I don’t think many consumers will appreciate a two-inch Bluetooth adapter sticking out of a USB port when they can get one that measures less than 1/4th an inch. Again, this isn’t a major issue and I’m glad Logitech included an adapter of some kind with this set.

Conclusion

We’re always skeptical when a new wireless keyboard and mouse set like this comes to market. All the promises rarely live up to the marketing hype. This time we’re pleasantly surprised. After using this desktop set for a solid week I am very happy. Everything works as it should, the keyboard is responsive and it didn’t take long to get my brain used to the layout. If you use an ultraportable notebook or even a standard 15-inch laptop with a slightly cramped keyboard then you will immediately appreciate the comfort and spacing provided by this full-sized desktop set. Results will vary of course, but for $170, this wireless bundle is worth checking out … if you must have Bluetooth.

Pros:

  • Overall design is surprisingly comfortable and easy to use
  • Includes a great mouse
  • Nice integration with Windows Visa
  • Excellent Bluetooth connectivity

Cons:

  • USB adapter is a little large
  • Palm rest shows skin oils/wear almost instantly
  • SetPoint software is very annoying
  • A little expensive compared to standard wireless keyboard and mouse sets


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