- 17 November, 2005 07:00
Wireless peripherals are all the rage these days. The last few generations of mice have been released in both wired and wireless versions, helping to foster the growing wireless consumer base for the time the shift to complete wireless technology is eventually completed. Logitech have been at the forefront of this change, and their MX5000 Bluetooth keyboard is the latest in their wireless keyboard range.
The MX5000 is marketed as a media keyboard. It has a touch sensitive media pad on the left hand side of the main keys, which gives control over basic media player functions such as play, pause, track skip and volume. There are also buttons for various programs, such as messenger software, accessing your media library and firing up a webcam. Unfortunately, none of these work out of the box but require you to install proprietary software first. There are a few other nifty functions, like an onboard calculator that operates on the keyboard's LCD screen, but this felt like more of a gimmick than anything else.
The media pad was a different story. We enjoyed being able to change tracks and pause songs whilst gaming, or using other applications, but we found the pad unnecessarily difficult to use. The touch sensors aren't sensitive enough and often require multiple stabs of the finger. The volume strip is the biggest culprit. It operates in a similar manner to the iPod function wheel; you slide you finger up or down and it adjusts the volume accordingly. Unfortunately to go from loud to soft took a good 5-10 seconds of sliding, which felt like wasted time when it could be done from the media player window in a second or two.
We also had problems with the wireless technology itself. The connection operates from a small USB Bluetooth dongle, but the reception seemed a little questionable. With less than a foot between the keyboard and the dongle, it occasionally took a long period to connect, or simply failed to connect at all.
In general the keyboard functioned well - in fact we are typing this review on it right now. However, we did experience periods of interference which lead to small bursts of lag, where nothing appears on the screen for a good second or two. The only time this will be a big danger is when gaming, as it may cost you a crucial kill.
We feel that these small and momentary glitches are more than made up for by the freedom a wireless setup offers. We typed from a bed, reclining in a chair even on the floor; utilising this in combination with a wireless mouse such as the Logitech MX1000, (which can be bought together with this keyboard in a package), you can operate your PC from anywhere within eyesight - and with our 24" LCD monitor, that's a long way away.
There are a few minor redesigns of keys, such as a stretched delete key, and a slightly out of place set of arrows, but the design is fundamentally a standard QWERTY layout. Keystrokes make an average amount of noise and while this keyboard won't be lauded for its quietness, it definitely isn't too noticeable.