Review: Logitech Cordless Desktop s530

Logitech’s Cordless Desktop S530 Laser is a winner. (April 27th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Logitech

Price: $100 MSRP; Amazon lists for $77.87

The Good

  • easy installation, cordless operation, one-button access to multiple functions, multi-function mouse

The Bad

  • no keyboard USB ports, mouse does not configure for left-handed mouse users, levered keyboard can present users with wrist pain

I'm a sucker for products that work as advertised. The beauty is that you know what to expect going in, and there are no nasty surprises or "gotchas." Logitech's Cordless Desktop S530 Laser is one of those products. And I'm pleased to say it's earned a place on my cluttered desk, making my life just a little easier.

I've been using a corded Apple keyboard that came with my iMac for more than a year, but I've had to use a USB extension cable to hook it through my desk to the back of the computer. Most of the time, the set up worked pretty well. But there'd be several times the cords would come unconnected, leaving me typing into thin air (as it were), and forcing me to crawl under the desk to reconnect the cables. So the idea of testing Logitech's keyboard and mouse combo appealed to me immediately.

Products That Work

First off, it's esthetically pleasing; all white, which matches the iMac. Setting up the system went very quickly. I followed the directions on the multi-lingual installation guide, plugging in the wireless mini-receiver into the USB stand, which plugs directly into a USB port. For the record, I plugged it into a Belkin eight-port hub, not directly into the iMac, and it works just fine. Syncing the receiver with the mouse and keyboard took seconds and worked the first time. Frankly, that was a pleasant surprise; I'm used to things not going as smoothly as manufacturers claim they will. And I was off and running. The mini-receiver, incidentally, can be undocked from the stand for laptop usage.

Software and Multimedia Keys

I was pleased to note that the keyboard worked very well without installing the software that comes with it. That said, it worked even better with the Mac-specific software installed. I found myself able to enable one-button access to key applications like Entourage, Safari, iTunes and more. I was also able to adjust the volume from either my keyboard, or by clicking on one of several buttons on the mouse. All of these buttons, by the way, are unobtrusive and out of the way during normal operation. The keyboard also comes with a full row of F-keys and a calculator keypad; it even has an Apple logo on the function keys, something I've grown to expect only on Apple keyboards. Nice touch.

The keyboard also includes two tabs for angling the top off the table. I tried it, but found it forced me to move my hands in such a way that carpal tunnel syndrome seemed inevitable. I lowered the tabs and have been using it since without any problem. A built-in wrist rest works much better with the tabs lowered.

The mouse itself is a veritable thing of beauty; first off, it's a two-button mouse with vertical and horizontal scrolling capabilities. I can also quickly scroll through web pages I've already visited with another set of buttons right off my thumb.

Meanwhile, here are several caveats: there is a different tactile feel to this keyboard than an Apple keyboard. It's somewhat mushier and you may not like it. I adapted to it pretty well. The area of the keyboard that includes the "delete" and "page up/down" keys has a different layout. It works, but takes a little getting used to. Like other wireless keyboards, Logitech's does not include USB ports; they would suck up too much battery power, but I miss that convenience. And the mouse is not meant for lefties. If you are hellbent and set on using your mouse in your left hand, the Cordless Desktop S530 will not be for you. And the connection is RF, not Bluetooth. Frankly, that didn't matter much to me at all; I'm typing these words about 20 feet from the computer, with the keyboard resting on my leg. I've never felt obligated to adopt new technology solely for adoption's sake. This keyboard works. I'm using it.

Winner!

In all, Logitech's Cordless Desktop S530 Laser is a winner. It's designed for Mac users, includes a number of creature features that Apple's own products lack, and makes working just a little easier. And it does what Logitech says it will. That, in itself, is wholly refreshing.

Edited by Victor Marks, Reviews Editor

by Steve Friedberg


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