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Logitech is known for its mice and keyboard combos and I recently got the chance to try the Logitech diNovo Media Desktop laser. Logitech’s latest and greatest is a Bluetooth set that consists of 5 pieces and includes: The Media Pad, the diNovo keyboard, MX1000 laser mouse for Bluetooth, recharging station and Bluetooth USB mini receiver.

With such a fancy name and even fancier price, backed by the Logitech brand, the diNovo has a lot to live up to. Will it deliver? Read on to find out. Introduction

Logitech is known for its mice and keyboard combos and I recently got the chance to try the Logitech diNovo Media Desktop laser. To give you an idea of Logitech’s latest and greatest, (diNovo laser) it’s a Bluetooth set that consists of 5 pieces and includes: The Media Pad, the diNovo keyboard, MX1000 laser mouse for Bluetooth, recharging station and Bluetooth USB mini receiver. The diNovo laser actually is the third iteration of this product; the first model included the MX900 mouse and had Bluetooth 1.1 support. The second generation was given the same name in the US, but in Europe it was known as the diNovo 2, that version adhered to the Bluetooth 1.2 standard. Logitech also has a version for laptop users in the form of the Logitech diNovo Cordless Desktop that uses RF instead of Bluetooth technology. This new version adds the MX1000 mouse and Bluetooth 2 EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) with an extended range of up to 60 feet. This product has a lot of style and function, but comes in at a hefty price of $199; this isn’t that bad considering that the first model actually had a retail price of $250. So, you might be asking why the use of the name diNovo? According to Logitech, diNovo comes from the Latin word ‘novo’ which means new, fresh and original. The meaning of ‘De novo’ is ‘from the beginning’ with ‘de’ becoming ‘di’ to suggest digital, so a new way to orchestrate digital media. The whole idea is fresh new beginning, from the ground up. ‘diNovo’ also communicates the style, elegance and premium aspect of this product. That was a mouthful! With such a fancy name and even fancier price backed by the Logitech brand, the diNovo has a lot to live up to, will it deliver? Read on to find out.

As usual let’s take a look at the features and specs:


Features

  • Personalize your desk space with award-winning visual styling.
  • Increase comfort and reduce stress on your wrists. Ultra-flat keyboard delivers smooth, super-quiet performance.
  • Place your mouse closer to your keyboard for additional comfort and convenience. MediaPad remote commander can rest anywhere.
  • Enjoy an ideal hand-fit with the MX Laser mouse’s sculpted design. Storing your mouse in the rapid-charging base keeps it fresh and ready to go.
  • Experience a performance revolution with the rechargeable MX Laser mouse. With 20x the tracking power of standard optical, the MX Laser mouse delivers record-setting performance on virtually any surface. The combination of 800-dpi resolution and 5.8-Megapixel image processing delivers phenomenal precision and speed.
  • Turn your PC into a Bluetooth enabled hub. Connecting the wireless Mini-Receiver featuring Bluetooth technology to your PC lets you do voice over IP with a headset, transfer pictures from a mobile phone, listen to music through Bluetooth enabled headphones and much more.
  • Bring together your digital pictures, video clips and music playlists in a single interface. MediaPad Long Range Bluetooth enabled remote commander serves as a numeric pad, a calculator or a PC remote control. It can be used to control media on your PC from anywhere in the room. Enjoy it with the included Logitech Media Life software.

Product Specifications

  • MX Laser Engine with 800-dpi resolution and 5.8-Megapixel image processing
  • 6 AA alkaline batteries
  • Mouse with Li-ion batteries and Fast Charging Station
  • CD with Media Life software, comfort guidelines and Help Center
  • Ultra-flat keyframe technology
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Media Pad LCD supports Western characters only
  • Bluetooth 2.0 EDR Technology
  • Support for Widcomm BTW 5.0 and Microsoft XPSP2 Bluetooth stacks
  • Bluetooth Profiles: Audio Gateway, AV, Basic Imaging, Dial-up Network, File Transfer, Hard Cable Replacement, Headset, Human Interface Device, Local Area Network, Object Exchange, Serial Port, Synch

Package Contents

  • diNovo keyboard for Bluetooth
  • diNovo MediaPad(tm) remote commander for Bluetooth
  • MX 1000 Laser mouse for Bluetooth
  • USB mini-receiver for Bluetooth
  • Rapid-charging base station with AC adapter
  • 6 AA alkaline batteries
  • CD with Media Life software, comfort guidelines and Help Center
  • Quick Start Guide
  • 3-Year limited warranty

Design

Obviously design is an important part of this keyboard set. The entire set has a grey metallic color, while the keys and armrests have a black finish; the armrests on the keyboard and Media Pad have a matte rubber material. The media controls and volume buttons have a silver color. The mouse has the same grey metallic finish as the keyboard while the areas where you hold the mouse have the matte black rubber material as found on the armrests. Certain buttons on the mouse have a lighter grey tone. I would say the design has kind of a minimalist, art-deco business theme going on. The keyboard and the pad are entirely square and have very few media buttons, Logitech was definitely trying to keep to the minimalist design. I would picture such a product in a business setting, with this set on a CEOs desk. It would also not look out of place in a Steven Spielberg science fiction movie. The first thing that catches your eye is how thin the keyboard and Media Pad are, this was made possible by the use of laptop-type keys. At its thinnest point it’s less then 1 cm thick. It starts of thin and gradually gets thicker at the top to accommodate the battery compartment. The shape and design of the mouse definitely seemed to have been governed by the shape of a hand, it is very ergonomic. On the left side there is a deep thumb rest, while on the right side there are two dents in the mouse where two fingers would rest. The placement of the keys on the mouse was designed with minimal finger movement in mind. Design is of course a very subjective matter, but most people seem to like it, while a small percentage seems to prefer a more rounded shape. Whether you like it or not, due its unconventional design this set has a certain wow-factor, when people come to visit they are always asking what keyboard it is and commenting on how stylish it looks.

The Media Pad

What sets this product apart from other keyboards before it is the Media Pad. The numeric part of the keyboard has been removed and put into a type of remote control device, with its use of Bluetooth 2 EDR you can put it anywhere you like. Besides the fact that the numeric keys now reside on a remote type device, it has also been given added functionality. Due to the removal of the numeric keys, the main keyboard’s width is now narrower, allowing you to place the mouse closer to the keyboard. Ergonomically speaking placing the mouse closer to the keyboard is better as the arm sits closer to the body, putting less strain on the arm and wrsit. Even though the width has decreased it still is a full-size QWERTY keyboard.

The Media Pad also has been given a LCD screen to give various sorts of information to the user. The Pad has three modes: in the standard mode (123 mode) it shows you date and time, this is automatically synched with the time on the PC. In this mode what Logitech missed was a temperature display, the more affordable MX5000 has been given this functions, why not the diNovo laser? You can put your name in the included Setpoint software so that when the PC is booting it will give you a personalized greeting with your name being displayed on the LCD screen, a very simple but nice touch.

The diNovo Laser set can be used to enter the BIOS, something early Bluetooth combos lacked, forcing you to buy a separate corded keyboard just for this task. When the PC has booted and the set has automatically connected to the Bluetooth dongle a small blue LED on the Pad lights up for a few seconds, this is handy when you are away from the PC, letting you know that the PC is now on and ready to use! The Pad has volume controls, mute, and the usual play, pause, stop, rewind and forward buttons so you can use it as a remote. Music can be controlled from a distance of up to 60 feet. I was able to control my music from outside in the yard or in other rooms with a few walls in between. With supported players like Windows Media Player, Winamp and Itunes the track info (artist name and song name) are displayed, while a small circle moves down a dotted line showing how far ahead the song is. This enables you to effectively control your music from a distance. It would have been nice to scroll through the songs on the LCD before playing them, because in the current version you can’t scroll through a list of song without it blasting the tunes through the speakers, basically you are skipping ahead through the songs. Of course this can be done with the Media Life software, but you have to be looking at the screen to see the song list and this kind of defeats the purpose of the Pad. The Media pad can also display messages send to you from Instant Messenger programs like AIM and MSN Messenger. It can alert you with a beep and blue LED, all of this can be turned off. This can be programmed so that only when certain people send you a message you will be notified. And because the pad can work up to 60 feet away you can be out mowing the lawn and be alerted when your contacts are online.

In NAV mode you can use the up down, left and right keys on the Media Pad to move through Windows (and other programs) and navigate through Logitech’s Media life Media Center styled software. There is also a CALC mode that turns the pad into a calculator, what’s nice is that you can paste the results anywhere in Windows after you made a calculation. The Media Pad uses 2 AA batteries and this lasts for about 3 months. When batteries are low an alert indication will appear in Windows and on the LCD screen. You can put the pad next to the keyboard and it will look like a one piece keyboard, it would have been nice if there was an attachment mechanism, but this would have probably made the keyboard thicker

The diNovo keyboard

The diNovo keyboard is characterized by its totally flat design with the use of laptop-type keys, this allow for the keyboard to be really silent while typing. The current trend in keyboards is to put as many media keys as possible. This keyboard eschews this trend by putting as few keys as possible, or giving the ones it has a dual purpose. The keyboard has: the volume up/down and mute buttons on the right side and home, email and sync buttons on the left, the functions can be changed through the use of the Setpoint software. It also has a sleep button. The media keys for play, pause, stop, forward and rewind are located at the lower right side, while a ‘media’ button is also added. This cluster of media keys is a copy of those found on the Media Pad, adding uniformity in design. The keyboard has an integrated armrest made of a rubber matte material. The typing keys are positioned in a way that so that they don’t angle upwards, putting less strain on your wrist. Looking at the keyboard from the side all the keys have the same height, while the f-keys are set higher and angled towards you, this actually brings them closer to you then they would have been if this design element wasn’t used. So reaching them is less of a stretch. These design elements come together in what Logitech calls Zero Degree Tilt. As pointed out earlier the F-keys serve a dual purpose. By pressing the ‘F-lock’ key you can toggle between the standard functionality or the enhanced functionality. They can be used as standard F-keys or activated with Logitech’s preset functions like opening my documents, my picture. The standard enhanced function is labeled on the keys, so for example the F-10 key has ‘F10’ and ‘My Doc’ labeled on it. To keep batteries in check it goes to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity, pressing a key brings it back to life. Batteries last about 6-9 months and uses 4 AA batteries. No lights can be found on this keyboard, again saving battery life and keeping in check with the minimalist design. Would you expect such a classy keyboard to be adorned with green lights? This keyboard is aimed at a more internet and media centric PC-user and is less suitable for gamers, this is due to the keyboard going into a power-saving mode after a few minutes. It would take about a second for it to turn back on and for gamers this could make a big difference.

The MX1000 for Bluetooth mouse

Using this mouse is a very comfortable experience as it snugly fits your right hand; sadly there is no version for left handed people. The most comfortable aspect is the deep thumb rest. No constant buying of batteries, as you can charge the mouse in its cradle ala cordless phone, batteries will last about a week but depends on your usage, obviously gamers will have to take trips to the charger more often A negative point is that you can’t change the batteries, it’s all built-in, while it predecessor, the MX900 did allow you to change batteries. The mouse also includes three lights to show you how much battery life you have left, a 4th light glows red to indicate low battery status. The mouse has the now standard scroll wheel, what’s special is that it can also tilt to the sides to allow left and right scrolling. This comes in handy in wide excel documents or web pages. The wheel can also be pressed, allowing you to program it for certain functions such as for example copy, past or close program. Located above and below the wheel are the two cruise control buttons, these allow you cruise up and down on pages without scrolling.

On the left side, the mouse has back and forward button for use while browsing the web and an application switch that has the same function as ALT-tab. The mouse has a total of 10 functions that can be programmed through the plethora of buttons (including the side to side movements of the wheel). With all these buttons you would think that mouse would look
luttered and actually it doesn’t, they are all nicely integrated and very useful.

The mouse makes use of Logitech’s laser technology making the mouse useable on a myriad of surfaces including cloth, wood, vinyl and plastic. Only problems are those clear glass mouse pads. With normal optical technology a red light is visible, looking through the laser lens, you won’t see any light red light, it’s completely invisible and according to Logitech safe enough that you can stare at it directly.

The mini receiver

In previous version of the diNovo the receiver was built into the mouse charger, this time around Logitech decided to use a small receiver that looks like a flash drive. It is the central point of this set and uses Bluetooth 2 EDR to connect the devices. Of course you can connect other devices like your PDA, cell phones, Bluetooth printers or headsets. It supports the following profiles: Audio Gateway, AV, Basic Imaging, Dial-up Network, File Transfer, Hard Cable Replacement, Headset, Human Interface Device, Local Area Network, Object Exchange, Serial Port, and Synch. The use of Bluetooth 2 EDR really is noticeable, when windows has finished loading the previous diNovo models took about 10-15 seconds to connect, rendering the keyboard unusable during this time. The diNovo laser’s use of Bluetooth 2 EDR allows it to connect instantaneously. Some users complained about erratic movement of the mouse or constant disconnect of the keyboard, but Logitech has fixed most of this with a software and firmware update. Although there are still some random disconnects, I suspect that future updates will resolve this completely.

Conclusion

This is a very nice product, it combines style and functions and I just love other people’s reaction to it. The laptop-style keys are really a plus on comfort, the functionality and programmability allows you to customize the set to your liking. A problem for a lot of people is going to be the price, very few people will buy a $200 keyboard, but on the other hand you do get what you pay for. A cheaper version (and less stylish Logitech MX5000) cost $150 so you are paying a $40 premium for the style. It seems to me most of the Media Pad’s potential is not being used, added functionality like system resources displayed on the LCD, stock ticker or weather would increase it’s usefulness. Also few issues with the connection need to be fixed with the release of the next software/firmware update. Seeing that most have been fixed I do believe that the others will be sorted out. All in all I would say this is the best implementation of Bluetooth in a desktop setting and is a great product for those that value design and want lots of feature, a must have for owners of Bluetooth enabled devices.

The Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laser gets a well deserved 9.1 out of 10.

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Very slim and laptop type keys
  • Lots of functionality with minimalist look
  • Recharging of mouse
  • Media Pad’s added functionality
  • Fast and quick connection with Bluetooth 2 EDR
  • Battery life status and power saving features

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No temperature display on media pad while cheaper MX5000 has this?
  • Mouse batteries cannot be removed or changed
  • The current software/firmware needs some polish to fix connection issues

Written by Devin