Hardware Review: Logitech Cordless Wheel Mouse and Cordless iTouch Keyboard

By Jayne A. Hitchcock
as it appeared in the May/June 2000 issue of Link-UP

If you hate cords like I do, then Logitech's Cordless Wheel Mouse and keyboard are the answer. I used a touchpad previous to installing the cordless mouse, primarily because I'm left-handed and it's hard to find a mouse that can be programmed to my liking. Well, left-handers unite! This mouse is for you! And now that I've installed Logitech's iTouch Cordless Keyboard, I can sit back in my chair with the keyboard on my lap and pound away (It's actually more comfortable this way, not only for my back, but for my wrists and hands, too). And since the mouse is cordless, I can put it anywhere on my desk without worrying about knocking something over or getting the cords tangled somewhere.

logimouse.gif First, The Mouse:
The Cordless Wheel Mouse comes in two pieces - the mouse and a radio unit that connects the mouse to the computer via digital radio technology. Setup was simple - plug the unit into the mouse port on the back of the computer, open the mouse to install the two AAA batteries (included), set the mouse near the radio unit and press the "Connect" button. Once the software is installed, you can decide whether the mouse is for left or right-handed use, set the speed of the double-click, whether you want mouse "trails" or not, and set the three buttons on the mouse to do exactly what you want. There's also a section in the mouse properties that lets you know if the batteries are good or getting low on power (very nice!). If you want to change your pointers, you can do that, too, without going to the Control Panel mouse settings.

I tested the mouse to see how far from my computer I could get and still make it work. I rolled across my office in my chair to the filing cabinet (a good five feet) and it still worked on top of the filing cabinet. As long as the mouse is in a fairly direct line to the radio unit, you can pretty much go across the room to use it, although you probably won't see your monitor too well (and I have a 17-inch monitor). Logitech claims it works up to six feet away behind cups, papers, etc, but I found it didn't work when I placed it on top of my copier, not even two feet from my desk chair. I think the height of the copier on a stand cut off a direct connection to the radio unit.

I like the fact that I can move the mouse from next to the keyboard on the keyboard drawer of my desk to the top of my desk or near my copier if I'm on the phone - no wires, no fuss and I can point and click to my heart's delight.

logikeyboard.gif - 14185 Bytes Now The Cordless iTouch Keyboard
Set-up was similar to the mouse - install the included AAA batteries into the back of the keyboard, connect the radio unit to the keyboard port on the computer, hit the CONNECT button and it was all set. I was hoping to be able to use only one radio unit for both the keyboard and the mouse, but that didn't work (it would be more efficient if it did), so I have two of the units on top of my CPU and under my desk (but they're only about 3 inches by 4 inches each).

Probably the weirdest (or saddest, you choose) thing was the warning on the front. "WARNING: Some experts believe that the use of any keyboard may cause serious injury,. Consult statement on the back of this keyboard." And the statement on the back was even longer. I began to wonder if people throw these cordless keyboards at each other or something.

Once the software was installed, the iTouch keyboard was an online dream! The four buttons on the right top corner can be set up to automatically go to a favorite web site, open a program or open a file in your computer. I set mine up to open Eudora (my e-mail program), go to Yahoo for searches, open Netscape for online and offline browsing (and when I edit my web pages), and open WordPerfect (my preferred word processor). The keys can also be assigned to certain web sites while online by accessing the web site, then press CTRL and the iTouch key you want to assign it to. This makes going online easy and quick!

There are also multimedia keys located on the top middle of the keyboard for playing CD music and DVD music/movies. They include the PLAY, PAUSE, NEXT TRACK, PREVIOUS TRACK keys, as well as keys for MUTE, VOLUME UP and VOLUME DOWN.

A key resembling a quarter moon on the left top of the keyboard allows you to shut down or restart your computer with one touch. Very fast and efficient.

An optional wrist rest is included, as is Virtuosa software, for playing or recording an audio CD.

The only things I don't like about the keyboard are:
There are no NUM or CAPS lock lights on it like my old keyboard. So I lose track of when and if my CAPS lock key is active. You can have those added to your system tray on the monitor, but I'm not too keen about that.
The keys are just a tad too sensitive. I'm having a hard time getting used to using a lighter touch. I find that I'll type the same letter several times when hitting that key once or if I do CTRL+C for COPY, what I've copied will disappear and a "c" will appear onscreen. Very frustrating, but I'm sure I'll get better at lighter typing.

The range of the keyboard was about the same as the mouse, but heaven knows why you'd want to get too far from your computer in the first place.

I highly recommend both the cordless mouse and keyboard for anyone who's sick of wires, wants the freedom cordless brings or someone who just likes the funky look. I have to admit, it's kind of nice when everyone who sees these on my desk oohs and ahs over them.

Cordless iTouch keyboard $59.99

Cordless Special Edition mouse $39.95

Or buy both Cordless iTouch keyboard and wheel mouse for $99.95

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at jahitchcock.com.

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