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Bluetooth Bundle - Logitech May Have Done It Right This Time!
on February 3, 2008
I have been a fan of Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse combos for several years, and have owned nearly every new model they have come out with. My family has three computers, and all of them get used several hours a day, so I replace they keyboards and mice quite regularly. Logitech has always impressed me with their RF combo models, which have a great range and an extremely reliable signal. However, recently Logitech started dabbling with Bluetooth, and I have been disappointed with them for doing so. When the MX 5000 desktop combo was first released, I was quick to snag one immediately. It took me over two hours, and several reinstallations of the SetPoint software in order to get the combo to work. I encountered similar frustrations when I purchased the diNovo Laser combo for my wife's PC. Both of these keyboard/mouse combos use Bluetooth wireless to communicate with the PC, and both have proven to be extremely unreliable and frustrating to use. Many of the problems involved keystrokes not being recognized, sluggish mouse response, or even one of the devices losing connection entirely; requiring device reset or a complete reboot of the computer. I recently replaced both the MX 5000 and diNovo combos with Logitech's RF model MX 3200, which works flawlessly, and I swore that I would never buy a Bluetooth wireless desktop combo from Logitech again. Well, when I saw that Logitech was releasing a combo that offered the MX Revolution mouse, I just had to have it. You can imagine how disappointed I was to see that Logitech had decided to make this a Bluetooth set. Why would they do this? After all of the problems people have had with recent Bluetooth models, and all of the complaints that have been posted all over the net, I Should think that Logitech would have learned their lesson! Yet I had hope that maybe Logitech had learned from their mistakes and had improved the design and communication of this new model. I decided to order the MX 5500, as soon as it was released, and I have been using mine for the past few days. So far I am VERY impressed.
Installing the MX 5500 system was far better than my previous experience with Logitech Bluetooth combos. As recommended by Logitech, I first uninstalled my previous SetPoint installation and rebooted the computer. I still found that I had to use my MX 3200 keyboard and mouse to let logged into my computer, as Windows had still not detected the new Bluetooth dongle (included with the MX 5500) I had inserted into a USB port. Once I was logged into my Windows account it popped up a message saying that new hardware had been detected. Windows first sees it as a USB hub, and soon installs a two new HID devices, one for the keyboard and one for the mouse. I was then able to remove my 2.4GHz RF dongle for the MX 3200 combo, and my new MX 5500 was working just fine. This is BEFORE I reinstalled the SetPoint software! Logitech has found a way to pair the MX 5500 devices at the factory, to make it easier to install your new devices. This improvement alone won some big points with me. I then proceeded to install the included SetPoint 4.24 software, included with the MX 5500 combo. Installation was a breeze and a Bluetooth Connection Assistant soon popped up on the screen. It showed that the MX Revolution mouse was connected but that the keyboard was not. As the Connection Assistant suggested, I pushed the little red "Connect" button, located on the bottom of the keyboard, and was soon prompted to enter a 4-digit PIN number from the keyboard. After completing these simple steps my keyboard was successfully connected, and both the keyboard and mouse have remained connected every since.
I spent some time customizing the features of my new MX 5500, which can take a while since there are so many possibilities with this combo. The so-called backlit 2.95- x .79-inch LCD on the keyboard is very nice. This display can be toggled to several different modes, including time/date, media (shows artist name, song title, and progress bar), temperature, ABCD "favorites" key assignments, key counter, and e-mail inbox. Very impressive is the fact that the LCD updates quite quickly, when you receive a new e-mail or start playing a music track. This LCD also displays information like Caps Lock status, calculator, volume level, mute indicator, low battery warning, etc. The LCD is not really backlit, persé, but rather has a type of reflective property that shows up really well (if you have enough ambient light in the room).
I will not go on about every feature of this desktop combo. Most everyone will have already heard of (or used) the Logitech MX Revolution wireless laser mouse. The only change made to MX Revolution, from the original, is the change from 2.4GHz RF to Bluetooth. For a complete review of the new MX 5500 wireless keyboard/mouse combo, please look here:
As mentioned before, I have never been impressed by Logitech Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combos. In fact, I have not been impressed with Bluetooth technology as a whole. RF seems far more reliable and works at much greater distances. Bluetooth is OK for cell phone headsets but I have never thought of it as a sensible wireless technology for keyboards, mice, or anything else in my home. I am happy to say that Logitech has changed my mind, and has proven to me that this technology can work in a home or office setting. They now use Bluetooth 2.0 technology and claim a range of 30 feet. I have tested both the mouse and keyboard at a range of roughly 16 feet and they continue to work very well. My only complaints are as follows:
- Scrolling feature on mouse sometimes hesitates, but eventually smooths out.
- Caluculator button on keyboard uses keyboard LCD as a calculator, rather than bringing up the Windows calculator.
- Keyboard volume controls use LCD to display volume level, and the level indicated is not very accurate.
- No included USB extension cable and/or desktop Bluetooth receiver (they just give you a USB dongle).
Other than these small complaints, I am very happy with my new MX 5500 wireless keyboard/mouse combo. It appears that Logitech got it right this time. I am still not a big fan of Bluetooth technology, but the MX 5500 may potentially change my outlook altogether. One little thing to mention, the Bluetooth USB dongle that Logitech gives you should really not be plugged into the back of a PC, but rather out in front or preferably up on the desktop itself. I would suggest using a USB extension cable. Logitech should have included one with the MX 5500 kit. In fact, I am using the little USB cable and stand that Logitech included with the MX 3200 RF combo kit. Why they didn't include one of these with the MX 5500 is anybody's guess. So if you are considering the MX 5500 for youself, but have been holding back because of the troubled Bluetooth problems from previous models, I can honestly tell you that my experience has been wonderful and trouble free. At over $160, this combo is not for everyone. But if you have been waiting, as I have, for a wireless combo that includes the fabulous MX Revolution laser mouse, then order up the MX 5500 today and try it for yourself. I think Logitech has really done it right this time! =o)