Logitech DiNovo Media Desktop
At a Glance
The first thing that struck us about Logitech's DiNovo keyboard was its flatness. Its lack of a slope makes it feel like a laptop keyboard, only wider (the keys are full desktop size). You can fold out the keyboard's legs and raise it a little less than an inch; even after we propped it up this way, though, it still felt flat. The keys were light to the touch, but firm, and they barely made a sound. Surprisingly, once we got used to the angle, the flat keyboard was very comfortable to type on.
The programmable buttons came in handy. The keyboard provides volume controls and a handy Media button for accessing music files, digital photos, and video clips. This button also lets you skip through music tracks and press play/pause without having to reach for your mouse. Customizing the keyboard, mouse, and MediaPad preferences using Logitech's software was a cinch.
We found most of the DiNovo mouse's customizable buttons useful, though you have to lift your hand off the mouse to press the Scroll Up and Scroll Down buttons. The Alt-Tab button in particular was a great time-saver. The mouse is not suitable for left-handers: Accessing the Web navigation buttons would be awkward because they are located on the left side of the mouse--under a righty's thumb, but under most lefties' ring finger or pinky. Overall, the mouse's pointing behavior felt smooth. And the physical size of the mouse felt fine to testers with small hands.
(If you're looking for mice specifically designed for lefties, check out the Perfit Mouse or the Perfit Mouse Optical by Contour Design. The company offers small, medium, large, and extra large mice, and prices start at $109.)
The $250 DiNovo package also includes Logitech's separate MediaPad, which looks like a big desk calculator. This accessory naturally works as a numeric keypad for data entry, and can sit on either the right or the left of the keyboard, unlike numeric keypads that are built into keyboards. It also provides the same the volume controls and Media button as the keyboard does. The MediaPad worked well as a remote-control device for music tracks.
There are a couple of drawbacks. Be prepared for a lengthy installation right out of the box. It took us over 45 minutes to set things up completely. Logitech advised us to install the newest software from its Web site and then reinstall the hardware. The new software certainly helped speed up installation the second time around; it took less than 20 minutes. (Logitech confirmed to us that all packages being shipped to retailers now include the updated software, SetPoint 1.05b.)
However, every time we restarted the PC, both the mouse and the keyboard took a few seconds to wake up--and this became mildly annoying after a while. Logitech confirms that it is aware of these latency issues right after PC boot-up, and says that this is the nature of using Bluetooth technology: As part of the power management features, Logitech's input devices go into sleep mode in order to conserve battery life. We also noticed this delay with the mouse after placing it in the recharging cradle but before starting the PC up again.
When we were up and running, our Bluetooth-enabled PC had no problem recognizing and connecting to a slew of Bluetooth devices, including phones, PDAs, and HP's Deskjet 450wbt printer.
The Bluetooth mouse uses the hub as a charger; Logitech estimates that a 5-minute charge should last for a full day, and a full charge of 6 to 7 hours will power the mouse for nearly ten days. The keyboard runs on four AA batteries (included in the DiNovo bundle), and these should last about a year.
At $250, the DiNovo is the priciest package we reviewed for our Spotlight on wireless input devices. If you rely heavily on Bluetooth for syncing up a slew of doodads, the DiNovo is the package to consider. Don't need Bluetooth? Don't buy this product. You're better off opting for one of the cheaper RF packages instead.
If you want a modern-looking desktop that can connect up to seven Bluetooth devices, and if you like to have quick access to your music and video, the pricey DiNovo fits the bill.
Aoife M. McEvoy