Logitech Cordless Desktops

Review

posted 12/13/2002 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
A while ago I reviewed the Logitech Cordless Optical. It was a very cool looking setup with an optical mouse and a multimedia keyboard. Logitech has released this year’s model and while top of the line unit is almost identical to last year’s model, they also feature a set that’s less expensive and less features. Today we’ll look at both of them and see how they are and how good they are for games.

First up is the Logitech Cordless Navigator Duo combo which features a white multimedia keyboard and a white cordless optical mouse. The white standard keyboard features some multimedia controls at the top center. It’s a standard keyboard shape with an optional wrist rest. The slim profile keyboard lies pretty low but can be elevated by two keyboard leg risers. The set includes an optical mouse, which I will go more into later.

The Cordless Navigator Duo features the same buttons as the Cordless Elite Duo on the upper left and upper right. Instead of a dial, the Cordless Navigator Duo has two buttons to control the volume. I’m more biased towards the dial but the volume buttons do the job quite well. The other difference in terms of keyboard functions between this one and the Cordless Elite Duo is the lack of jog dial and Internet buttons on the left side of the keyboard. To power the set, the keyboard and mouse takes two AA batteries each.

On the receiver are various LED lights that let you know whether the function key is pressed, scroll lock or num lock is active, and caps lock. It also has a connect button in case you need to synch the keyboard or mouse back up. The length of the USB/PS2 connector from the receiver is pretty generous so you can place the receiver really far away from the computer or any other potential inferring part. There is a USB to PS2 converter in case you don’t have any USB ports. Also, you can just have the USB plug attached and the keyboard and mouse will work fine.



The other set today is the Logitech Cordless Elite Duo, which is Logitech’s high-end model. The set is almost exactly the same as the Logitech Cordless Optical. Here’s a small except of my old review and afterwards I’ll add what’s new to the set.

The keyboard’s slim profile, known as the Zero Degree Tilt, gives you a comfortable reach to the keys. Shape-wise, the keyboard’s layout is the same as a regular keyboard. I’m more partial to the ergonomic design though so I’m hoping that Logitech does release the same setup with that type of keyboard. Looking at the keyboard, you can see a whole mess of buttons and dials included with the regular setup. I’ll go clockwise from the left and touch some of the keys in this review. On the left side, you see two buttons and a dial that’s the same as a mouse wheel. Of course, the dial functions the same as a mouse wheel in web pages and more. You can do such things as adjust the volume, scroll through your favorites, and zoom in and out. One of the side buttons opens up an input box to enter a URL to surf to. The other side button allows you to go back a web page. With the two buttons and a scroll, you can do some casual browsing if you don’t need to click on links. I like the look of the keyboard with the mostly black and silver look giving it a slick appearance. Rather than the bland white or eggshell keyboards that are abundant with computers, Logitech has given the keyboard a nice color scheme.

As for difference, one of them is that the keyboard now takes 2 batteries instead of 4. Another is that the function keys now can perform some common functions, which are labeled on top of each key. You can switch between those and regular function keys with the press of the F-key on the upper left. Logitech has made for a more functional keyboard with more commands at your fingertips without adding more buttons.

Just like the Cordless Navigator Duo the Cordless Elite Duo has the same receiver with the LED’s and good length cord.

The keyboard and mouse now feature a black color scheme instead of the gray that was in the Cordless Freedom Optical. For those that were thinking of purchasing the Cordless Elite Duo to be their home theater PC controller, the color scheme will match nicely with the dark components.

As with the last year’s set, the Logitech Cordless Elite Duo also features some buttons at the top that give you more functions but they are different now. Let’s go through the buttons from left to right. First off is the previously mentioned F-key. Next to that is an E-Mail button to call up your preferred email program. Messanger/SMS pulls up your IM of choice. Webcam initiates your webcam program if one is installed. On the right side feature iTouch, Search, Shopping, Favorites, and My Home buttons. All these buttons can also be programmed to perform other functions so you aren’t stuck with what they are defaulted to.


The two sets do a great job for general use and their range seems to be around a good ten feet. Afterwards the performance became erratic and inconsistent. The range can also be attributed with the placement of the receivers too. While the range wasn’t as far as I would’ve liked it, it’s still pretty good and I wasn’t expecting it to be any further than the Cordless Freedom Optical as they use the same technology. There are encryption features in the keyboard so you don’t have to worry about someone listening in on what you are typing. I was pretty happy at how the set held up under normal usage. The keyboard does feel pretty good with nice feedback when the keys are pushed. The size and shape of the mouse, while not as good as their new MX mice, is still comfortable. The Cordless Navigator Optical’s shape is long and features two buttons along with a scroll wheel. Its symmetrical so both left-handed and right-handed people can use it. The Cordless Elite Duo’s mouse shape is the same as the Cordless Dual Optical and features one thumb button along with the usual. The shape makes it so that only right-handed people can use it comfortably. Since they are optical mice, they worked on most surfaces.

Until the cordless desktops use the same cordless technology as the MX700, you should pass on using either of these setups for fast action games. The keyboard works nicely though as you are just sending on and off commands instead of transmitting the movements of a mouse. Using the keyboard to control my character in Unreal Tournament 2003, I found it worked just as well as my corded keyboard. No lag was present and the character moved on screen perfectly. As with the original Cordless Freedom Optical mouse, lag and random movements were generated when moving the mouse quickly. I would sometimes spin out of control and I never felt I had control when trying to quickly fight enemies coming at me. Circle strafing was a pain on quick players. All in all, I’d say if you want a unit to play fast action games, stick with the corded units for now. If you are a casual gamer who enjoys the slower paced games, then both units do a good job.

Price wise, the Cordless Navigator Duo is $79.95 while the Cordless Elite Duo is $99.95. Both are pretty expensive for a cordless setup but they each have many good features on the keyboard. If you want to reduce clutter on your desktop and not have as many wires around, then the two sets should do you well. For game players, I suggest waiting until Logitech improves the mouse technology on the sets to the MX level. Otherwise, if you have the money to spend and would like a good cordless desktop for production use, the two sets do provide you with many accessible features and a cordless optical mouse.





C
The two sets are pretty cool looking and feature a lot of useful keys. Unfortunatly, the set is not made for games as the cordless mouse technology is slow. But, the setup would be great for home theater PCs and for general usage if you don't play a lot of quick action games.