As the PC becomes more and more a part of your home entertainment system, better and better ways of controlling HTPS’s are being released. You can have all of the processing and storage power in the world but it doesn’t mean a lot of if you don’t have any way of controlling it. Logitech is one of the best innovators in the field, between their line of Harmony remote controls and cordless desktops you’d be hard to find an input mechanism they don’t have a product for.
For this review I’m going to cover their latest cordless desktop, the Cordless Desktop MX 3000 Laser
. The set is composed of the Logitech 3000 cordless keyboard and the Logitech MX600 cordless laser mouse. The package also comes with a USB/PS2 RF receiver that features three LED’s, four AA Batteries (two for the mouse and two for the keyboard), and a bundle of Logitech software.
I’ve been a big fan of Logitech mice for quite some time (the MX600 is one of six Logitech mice that currently inhabit my house) so I was already somewhat familiar with the MX600. The form factor is very similar to the other MX mice that I’ve used. There are a few differences though. The MX600 is a bit smaller, lacks the two up and down buttons above and below the scroll wheel. The MX600 does sport twp new buttons along the left edge of the house. The first is a rocker switch that allows you to zoom in and out of a page (increase or decrease the font) while the second button resets the zoom to the standard mode. The mouse is also a little heaver than the other MX mice I own but that can be attributed to the two AA batteries the mouse needs for power.
Installing the 3000 is fairly easy. You just install the drivers, re-boot your computer, and then plug in the RF receiver. Everything gets recognized and you’re good to go. Logitech did a great job designing the receiver. Instead of some kind of beige dongle they actually went with a smoke black glass look hangover design that will blend in with almost any home theatre setup. The three LED’s are bright enough to be seen across the room but not so bright as to be a distraction. From left to right they indicate status of Caps locks, Function Key (which I’ll cover in a bit) and NumLock status.
The big difference is that this mouse used a laser to track movement than the current optical method. This means precise movement tracking and that you can use the mouse about any surface. I actually tried this out and it works on everything from denim to skin. This is nice you’re not always going to have a flat mouse surface to use in a HTPC setup. If you want a mouse with rechargeable batteries you might want to pay the extra money and get the 3100 setup which includes the MX1000 rechargeable wireless mouse.
The mouse is excellent but the keyboard is the best part of the combination. The first thing you’ll notice is the large set of media controls on the top of the keyboard. The main focus of the media controls is the large circular volume control which has a set mute button to it’s immediate left and media player controls (stop, play/pause, skip, eject) below it and another set of general controls (shuffle, playlist move, and a few preset buttons) above it. On the left edge of the keyboard is another set of zoom controls and my favorite feature of the set, a scroll bar. Eschewing the typical mouse wheel type design Logitech has used a pipe design with ridges to quick allow you to scroll up and down as well as scrolling left to right. Above and below the pipe are page up and page down buttons in case you want a little more control of your scrolling. This part is well designed as your finger can rest comfortably and allow for easy webpage navigation. Below the scroll bar are two more browser controls in a stop button and a back button. Not sure why you really need a stop button but since you can re-program almost every button it’s something you can take care of on your own.
In keeping with the media theme of the keyboard, there are a set of media buttons to the left of the media controls on top of the keyboard. These allow you to quickly access media directories on your computer. By default they are bound to the My Videos, My Pictures, and My Music directories of My Documents folder you can re-program them to point to wherever you keep your media files on your computer. Opposite those keys are another set of buttons that allow you to quickly pull up your e-mail, IM client, status, webcam, calculator, and sleep mode.
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