Product Reviews

Product Reviews

In Brief

Getting rid of that miserable mouse wire makes this duo worth its $79 price. But wait, there's more. The keyboard is cordless, too. And with its 8 programmable short-cut keys, you can jump to your favorite Web sites or software programs instantly. Be sure to stock up on batteries.


Price

$79

Logitech
Fremont, Calif.


Competition

There's a major keyboard competitor based outside Seattle. Oh yeah, they also make Windows. Check out the keyboards from Microsoft.


Key Specs

4USB port or two PS/2 ports

4Compatible with Windows and Mac OS

4Five-year warranty

desktop peripherals

Logitech Freedom Optical Cordless Keyboard and Mouse

Rating:

By Joel Shore

My desk is a disaster area. Yeah, it's piled up a mile high with papers, but I know where each one is. What really gets me riled up is that darn mouse cord that's always getting hung up on something or other. Where's that farmers wife with her carving knife when I really need her? Well, the next best thing to cutting of my mouse's tail is a cordless mouse—and a matching cordless keyboard.

Logitech's Freedom series comes in three models:

Cordless Freedom Pro – a contoured cordless keyboard with a split key layout plus the cordless MouseMan. $99

Cordless Freedom Navigator – premium straight-layout cordless keyboard with cordless MouseMan. $99

Cordless Freedom – a straight-layout cordless keyboard with three iTouch Internet keys, detachable palm rest, ambidextrous cordless Wheel Mouse. $79 (Tested in this review.)

The unit comes with three components, the mouse, the keyboard, and a little receiver unit that plugs into any available USB port. Yep, the keyboard and mouse work together through one port, not two.

6

Stock up on batteries: the keyboard takes four, the mouse, two

5

But here's what's so cool. Logitech's cordless products are radio-based instead of infrared. That's a huge difference. Think about the remote control on your TV or stereo. It's infrared. That means it has to have an open "line of sight" to the little window in the front of the TV that receives the signal. But with radio waves, you don't have to worry about line of sight. In fact, I tucked the little receiver unit behind my monitor, out of sight and out of harm's way. That's pretty cool. Way cool.

KEYS FOR EVERYTHING

Check out that picture. There's a key for nearly anything you can do with your computer. Let's start at the left side of the keyboard and work our way clockwise.

The iNav is on the extreme left. You can switch among open applications just by rolling the wheel. With supported applications you can zoom in for a closer look.

Above the Escape key is a group of five keys. One, which thankfully looks very different from the others, lets you suspend, restart, or shutdown your PC. The other four can be set up for your personal interests, like finance, favorites, or anything else.

The silver group at the top of the keyboard contains multimedia functions for navigating around your CDs or DVDs. You'll really like the precise volume control.

Next is another group of five keys, labeled iTouch, e-mail, shopping, searches, or your personal home page. iTouch gives you one-touch access to some common tasks.

At the bottom is a palm rest that you can detach. I thought it was pretty darn comfortable.

The mouse was also comfortable. It uses a red LED instead of a wheel to keep track of its motion. No more gummed up moving parts to clean.

EASY INSTALLATION

Stock up on AA-size batteries. The keyboard takes four and the mouse takes two. None are needed for the receiver. With the power off, I connected the receiver unit to the PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports on the back of my computer. After starting up the system, I shoved in the included CD and followed the instructions for installing the software. The hardest part of the whole installation was getting around to the back side of the PC. Remember all those papers I have stacked up everywhere?

Both the keyboard and mouse were very comfortable, and the sleek black finish was a lot nicer looking than the almond color so much computing equipment seems to be.

So is it worth spending $79 to replace the perfectly good keyboard and mouse that came with computer? Well, if junior has gummed up with works with peanut butter, you probably don't have much of a choice. But I really liked the feel of the Freedom's mouse, and the host of programmable buttons on the keyboard are a real timesaver.

Reference Guide recommends the Logitech Cordless Freedom Optical.<

 
Yeas & Nays

Yea:

4Versatile keyboard

4Easy installation

4Radio-based signal

4Comfortable mouse

Nay:

4Uses 6 AA batteries

4Tough sell if your current keyboard is working ok


Security

So what if everybody in the office has an identical cordless keyboard and mouse? Can someone use their keyboard to type on your computer? It's not very likely. The keyboards have several channels, just like your home's cordless phone. The keyboard and receiver agree on a channel and the mouse follows. Security isn't a problem.
 

   

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