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Logitech Cordless MX Duo

Posted: August 16th, 2003
Written by: Justin "The Sheriff" Woods


The Logitech MX Duo

You know the name, you've seen the entire isle in CompUSA devoted to its product line, you've read the reviews. Logitech is huge. Its mice and keyboards are included with just about every store bought PC you can think of, and for good reason; It makes solid products. I've had the opportunity to review several versions of the wireless keyboard/mouse combo that I am reviewing now and every time Logitech ups the ante by including what might be considered one of the best mice ever developed, the MX 700. I'll give you a little more detail on the mouse later, lets see what you get.

What's in the box:

  • Logitech Cordless Elite™ keyboard
  • Logitech Cordless MX™700 Optical Mouse
  • Receiver/charging base
  • AC power supply
  • USB to PS/2 adapter
  • 2 AA NiMH rechargeable batteries
  • 2 AA alkaline batteries CD with software, comfort guidelines and User's Guide
  • Quickstart Guide
  • 5-year limited hardware warranty

System Requirements

  • IBM®-compatible or Macintosh system
  • Windows® 98, Windows® NT 4.0, Windows® 2000, Windows® Me, Windows® XP or Mac® OS X
  • Available USB or PS/2 keyboard port and PS/2 mouse port
  • CD-ROM drive

Installing the mouse and keyboard is idiot proof, you just follow the directions on the widely-popular-full-color-fold-out-instructions (you thought the box was big because of the keyboard…wrong, it's the instructions). Since my test bed already has the iTouch and Mouseware drivers installed I just plugged the new mouse and keyboard in, got them connected to the wireless receiver, and booted my PC. The software immediately recognized and configured the mouse, and the security setup started. You might be wondering what I mean when I say security, so here goes: The RF technology can be encrypted so that you can have up to as many as 400 keyboards in the same room and the signals won't cross, and the data you type will be securely encrypted so that only your receiver will can decrypt it. Nice one Logitech. Once everything was installed, I had to reconfigure my hotkeys, which was a little annoying, but I dealt with it.

Let's start out by taking a look at the keyboard. As with earlier models, it also has the dual mode function keys which allow you to switch between standard Windows F-key assignments to application specific functions like undo, edit, or print, all with one touch of a button. The zero degree tilt of the keyboard makes it extremely comfortable and very good for those of us that sit at a computer for many hours a day. The top portion of the keyboard also has shortcut buttons that you can program to open or run anything you want. The media buttons and volume control in the center can be programmed to open Media Player, or as in my case Winamp 2.91. This is built into the software, so you won't have to hack the registry to get it working (the Winamp functionality) like in earlier version of the iTouch software. The keyboard has nine hot keys, and a scroll wheel and quick launch button on the left side, so you can surf the Internet without using the mouse (or with one hand, you decide). To conserve battery power, the LEDs for caps-lock and num-lock have been moved to the receiver, which drops the battery count from 4 to 2 AA batteries. In all the time I've used this keyboard, I've only had to change the batteries three times.

Silver and black eh, someone at Logitech is a Raider's fan; I won't hold that against them...

One of the coolest looking mice I've seen...I've named mine Willard

Most optical mice have a resolution of 400 DPI (Dots Per Inch), meaning that without software compensation, the cursor will move 400 pixels across the screen for every inch the mouse is moved on the desktop. For small screen settings this is fine, but for large settings it means the mouse must be moved abnormally far. The MX 700 has doubled that. At 800 DPI, it's the most accurate mouse on the market. Just for giggles, here's the technical stuff right from Logitech:

Image Processing Power
The MX Optical Engine captures 4.7 megapixels of information per second, more than 60% more than other leading mice. Why is that significant? Because when more image data is captured and analyzed each second, more data is available to determine motion... increasing the mouse's ability to track on difficult surfaces or during quick movements.

Sensor Size
A mouse's sensor needs to "see" small surface details to track motion. The more detail captured within each image, the more data will be available for calculating movement. The MX Optical Engine captures images that are over 80% larger than those from other sensors on the market today. This contributes to the smooth, fluid tracking on traditionally difficult surfaces, such as wood desktops or other surfaces with repetitive patterns.

The Optical Path
Another fundamental factor that determines how well an optical mouse performs is the quality of the images it captures. Since the lens is just a fraction of an inch above the tracking surface, and the actual size of the images is very small, even slight variations in manufacturing tolerances can result in blurry images which seriously degrade tracking quality. Logitech designed a proprietary new lens for the MX Optical Engine that improves the depth of field. The result: more details are captured in each image with greater clarity.

Software Intelligence
Optical sensors must employ sophisticated software to analyze the incoming images and determine motion. The intelligence of the software affects performance immensely, especially when the mouse is used on difficult surfaces or pushed to its limits. The proprietary software used in the MX Optical Engine incorporates years of extensive research and testing, and contributes to the outstanding performance on surfaces that traditionally pose problems for other optical mice.

Just a few of the 8 programmable buttons on the MX 700

You can see from the image above that the scroll wheel and the buttons can all be used to scroll through a document or webpage, so you can press instead of roll your way through this review if you so desire. The only difference I'm finding myself having a little difficulty getting used to with this mouse is the placement of the two thumb buttons. Logitech moved the buttons from the bottom of the mouse to the top, so I've had to adjust a little, the addition of the second button is a welcome treat and worth the learning curve. This is a very comfortable, smooth mouse. The button at the bottom is the quick switch button, it pops up a dialog box of all applications you have running, basically acting as your Alt+Tab.

Next Page: Conclusion

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