When it comes to the keyboard, it is unique to this set, so we'll spend a bit more time on it. Funnily enough, this keyboard is an evolution of the one used for the Cordless Desktop MX 3200, rather than the Desktop MX 5000. And frankly, that's a good thing. It means that it not only adopts an attractive, black colour scheme, but also an LCD screen reminiscent of Logitech's G15.
The screen offers some interesting feedback. It supposedly allows you to monitor ambient temperature, though this seemed to give much warmer figures than was realistic. There's a key counter (to see how many keys you've pressed - employees beware), which will keep count until doomsday if you remember to always leave one battery in contact while changing them.
However, the only genuinely useful features are that it shows you the date and time, media information for your music, warns you about new emails in your inbox, and provides a separate calculator. The media function gives you the artist's name, the track's title and length, and an indicator bar showing you how far along you are. It pops up automatically if you start any tune.
When it comes to email alerts, I realized the MX5500 was even more (r)evolutionary than I had initially assumed when it bleeped at me. Yes, this keyboard not only has its own screen, but its own speaker, leading me to predict that soon - after they've condemned our PCs to obsolescence - keyboards will commence taking over the world.
But most useful of all (accountants and number-fetishists rejoice) is the integrated calculator mode. At the press of a dedicated key, the LCD screen and number-pad become your playground. There's even a ‘clear calc' button. It works rather well, especially since the display is large and easily legible. One thing this LCD display lacks, though, is any level of customisation as supported by the G15. This may not disturb many, but it's a shame that this version isn't at least backwards compatible with the various community made plug-ins of the G15.
Thankfully, though, Logitech has gone back on its inaccurate touch-sensitive controls of other recent desktop efforts. Instead, all the media keys are arranged in a vertical line on the left of the keyboard, within reasonably easy reach of your little finger. Although this layout is much more compact and visually appealing than on pre-touch iterations such as the MX3000, it's not quite as intuitive, nor as easy to operate without looking.
Of course, all its neat features would be pointless were it not for the fact that typing on the MX 5500 is an absolute joy. It has the same soft response found on both the Logitech Wave and the Alto, with crisp yet cushioned feedback that requires only the slightest pressure to get the desired result.
Likewise, the wrist rest uses the same ‘perforated' material as the Wave, which means it's solid and comfortable. Compared to Logitech's previous generations of keyboards, these new wrist-rests really are a revolution, with the flimsy detachable pieces of plastic of the past replaced by comfortable, elegant, and secure wrist rests that provide excellent support.
The only problem Logitech faces is competition from itself. With Keyboard and mouse combos like the MX 3200 offering a similar design while costing less, the real question becomes whether you're willing to pay for the extra features, chief of which would be MicroGear scrolling. And, at around £30 more for the MX 5500, you really need to want those features to make it worthwhile.
As long as you want a set for serious work, not serious play, the Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution is probably as close to revolutionary as you can get. You do pay for the privilege, however; whether it's worth it depends on if you need or want its features, especially those of the included MX Revolution Mouse.