Logitech's first foray into a keyboard for the PlayStation 3 was an OK effort. The silver keyboard, while marketed for the Sony console, used RF technology instead of being a native Bluetooth keyboard. Well, Logitech's second effort takes care of this and adds a few more wrinkles as the Logitech Cordless MediaBoard Pro looks to fix a few things they missed in the first time around.
From the onset, you can see the black keyboard matches the console much better than the silver of their first PS3 keyboard. It's a sleek low profile keyboard with a very reflective black finish. In fact, I was surprised at how thin the keyboard actually was. You can easily stow this away in an entertainment center or slide it underneath a couch. If you do plan on putting it on a surface, there's two keyboard riser tabs that fold out to tilt the keyboard a little bit.
A full QWERTY keyboard highlights the setup. If you're use to laptop keyboards, the Cordless MediaBoard Pro will feel right at home as the keys are designed similarly with a short but adequate stroke. Some of the keys are also marked with their PlayStation controller mapping. A nice touch is the Enter key pertains to the X key which is what is used on the controller as the primary selection button. On the bottom left between the CTRL and ALT are two buttons that are mapped to the left and right mouse button. On the upper left of the keyboard are media buttons that will let you control your PlayStation 3 when viewing or listening to any digital media.
At the top at the keyboard are a few media centric buttons. One button will pull up the general menu where you can control a lot of the PS3's media playback functionality. A fast forward, pause/play, and a rewind button lets you control some of how the media is played back. Finally, a BD menu button will bring up the menu that's specific for the movie. While they are nice to have I did run into a problem. Some Blu Ray movies won't let you use the FF, RW, and play button. I popped in Ratatouille and could only get the menu and BD menu button to work as I pressing pause, rewind, or fast forward buttons didn't do a thing. Other movies I tried work so it'll be trial and error on which movies will allow you to use those buttons. There's no easy way to skip to the next track either with the buttons as the fast forward and rewind buttons only change the speed. I would've liked the ability to skip tracks though perhaps by holding down the FF orRW buttons. Unfortunately, you're limited in how you want to navigate when playing a movie or a CD.
With browsing ability and the mouse like control style of the PlayStation the MediaBoard Pro features a touchpad on the right side. Like most touchpads on laptops, there's also the ability to scroll vertically if you place your finger on the right side. The inclusion of the touchpad makes for moving around the web page or PlayStation Store a lot easier than if you were using the gamepad. I'm not a big fan of touchpads myself as I prefer the mouse nubs found on a lot of laptops but the touchpad on the MediaBoard Pro does do it's job. I had no problems using it to move the cursor around in the web browser and the PlayStation Store with it. A note on the touchpad is that it is a little small so you might hit the edges a lot.
Two buttons that I think should have been included are the the Start button and a PS button. Without the PS button, you can't start your console with the keyboard which is something I would've liked to have the ability to do. The start button could have saved a few steps in initiating downloads as you have to move your cursor over with the keyboard instead of just pressing the Start button like with a controller. A few others that would've been nice are the L and R buttons. Having L and R buttons would've allowed the setup to skip chapters in media so I'm surprised that they were omitted from the setup.
Two AA batteries included with the setup provides power to the peripheral. You can expect around 200 hours of usage out of the two batteries which is pretty good. They slide in at the upper part on the bottom of the keyboard. You'll have to turn on the keyboard manually by sliding a switch and there's a battery light that turns on periodically to let you know the keyboard is powered.
Pairing the keyboard with the PlayStation 3 was pretty simple. Since this is a Bluetooth keyboard, no dongle is needed. In the XMB you navigate to the setup area and initiate a pairing of the device. A numeric key will pop up on the screen that you have to repeat with the keyboard. After entering in the required digits, the MediaBoard Pro was good to go and I was navigating with it through the PlayStation 3 interface easily. I didn't notice any lag and the keyboard was operational a few seconds after the PlayStation 3 showed the XMB when turned on.
If you so desire, you can even pair the keyboard with a computer that's equipped with Bluetooth making it compatible with other devices. I tried pairing it with my Sprint Mogul phone but wasn't able to get past the key entering stage. Pairing the keyboard up with my Windows XP machine worked fine and I was typing away after a quick pairing process. Everything worked except for the media buttons and of course you're missing the Windows key in this setup. I used the keyboard for a day as my main keyboard and was pretty comfortable in typing since I was used to a laptop like keyboard already. For those that install Linux on the PlayStation 3, this will be a nice little keyboard to use with.
The Logitech Cordless MediaBoard Pro will serve you well if you are looking for a keyboard to enter in text easier and want one that's branded to match the console. It's got good range, great battery life, and a good feel. Some might not like the extreme thinness of the Cordless MediaBoard Pro but I like the physical nature of the keyboard. It's easy to setup with the PlayStation 3 and is a native Bluetooth product unlike Logitech's first PlayStation 3 branded keyboard. There are missing keys that I think should have made it on there but it's not a deal breaker. It is a little expensive at $80 but overall the MediaBoard Pro will suite the needs of PS3 folks needing a wireless keyboard and mouse combination.
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