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Logitech Cordless Desktop Wave Pro
It's getting more and more difficult for peripheral makers to come up with ways to differentiate their non-gaming mice and keyboards, but two companies which still consistently succeed are Microsoft and Logitech. In fact, the Logitech Wave keyboard made it into third place for Best PC Accessory in our 2008 Awards. Cheap and very cheerful indeed, about the only things we could possibly have wished for is that it was wireless, and had an accompanying mouse. Never one to rest on its laurels, Logitech has complied on both points, and brought us the Cordless Desktop Wave Pro. This combines a wireless version of the Wave with the MX1100 cordless laser mouse, in theory making for a great set.
The Wave Pro is presented with Logitech's usual care. Though the quick-start guide seems to have fallen by the wayside, there is a clear and well-illustrated multi-lingual user's guide. Aside from the keyboard, mouse and dongle, there is also a glossy black USB charger with interchangeable European or UK power plugs, and a USB-A to Micro-USB cable for the rechargeable mouse.
This wireless set is the easiest I've come across to install. You don't even need to insert batteries or charge the mouse, since batteries are pre-inserted and the one in the mouse is pre-charged. Simply remove the battery-isolating tags, switch on both peripherals, plug in the USB dongle and you're ready to go.
One of the greatest annoyances with many wireless mice is that, if you forget to place them in their charging cradle, you can come to your desk and find a non-responsive rodent. Even worse is running out of battery power in the middle of that important presentation you're preparing, or that tense match of Counter Strike. As you might have guessed from the charger and cable, Logitech has come up with a solution to this problem (though it's hardly the first or only company to have done so). Simply plug the USB cable into the charger or any powered USB port on your computer, and you can use the MX1100 while charging it at the same time -- though you're unlikely to need to do this often, since Logitech claims a whole six weeks of use from a single seven-hour charge! If you hate the thought of ever using a wired mouse again, you can even get an entire day's worth from a quick 15-minute charge, or just replace its Ni-MH AA battery with an alkaline one.
This is all excellent stuff, with the only minute niggles being that the mouse has a Micro-USB port rather than the far more common Mini-USB, and that the wireless dongle still needs to be plugged into your PC for the mouse to actually work. Unfortunately, Logitech hasn't implemented the same cable system for the keyboard, which still runs off two AA alkalines. However, not only can you use rechargeable batteries with a separate charger, a simple pair of alkaline AAs give the Wave Pro keyboard a stunning claimed battery life of three years! Of course both peripherals have indicator lights to warn about low battery life.
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