Logitech diNovo Media Desktop (Bluetooth)
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Media Pad, Mouse, Software, Conclusions
Logitech diNovo Media Pad
This numeric keypad sounds interesting, as it doubles as a remote control for your PC! As its name implies it supposedly controls your PC’s multimedia functions. Unfortunately it’s not very good at it - more on this later.
This is the sassiest numeric keypad I have ever seen. There is an LCD display and you can use it as a calculator (by pressing the +/= button). The “123” and “NAV” buttons turn it into a numeric keypad / arrow keypad respectively. When not functioning as a calculator, the LCD displays the time and date.
The back of the media pad has a slot for 2 AA batteries and a Connect button to sync with the cradle. The observant among you will note that there are no adjustable feet on the media pad. Nor is there any way to physically attach it to your keyboard to get a conventional keyboard with numeric keypad. When you place them side by side (above) you get an incredibly long keyboard which cramps your desktop a bit. When you deploy the feet on the keyboard, the media pad will be sitting at an uncomfortable angle because it has no feet of its own. This is an ergonomic oversight that should not happen in a product that costs this much. I will modify mine by buying a couple of rubber feet to keep the media pad at the correct angle.
Logitech MX900 Mouse
There is nothing new to say about this mouse - except that it is similar to the MX700 mouse, but with Bluetooth. There are countless MX700 reviews on the web which you can easily find by searching Google so I won’t repeat what other reviewers have already said. It feels exactly the same as the MX700 mouse which I own. Same weight, same response, same buttons, same everything. However, I think that Logitech have modified the software on the mouse so that it saves even more power. The red LED on the MX700 would stay brightly illuminated for a second after you lift it off the mousepad, before dimming into power saving mode. The MX900 dims the moment you lift it off the mousepad. In use you can see it dim the moment you stop moving the mouse. It does not affect the motion of the mouse pointer one bit. Very clever. I tested the mouse briefly with UT2K3. It seems to track well. All the buttons work. No complaints.
Logitech Bluetooth Cradle
This looks exactly like the cradle for the MX700 except that it doubles as a Bluetooth transmitter / receiver. The cable slots into USB, PS/2 interface, and has an input for the A/C adapter.
Software – Logitech Setpoint
In my experience, software has always been Logitech’s downfall and this otherwise excellent keyboard combo continues the trend. My main complaint is that the backward / forward buttons on the mouse do not work with any software apart from MS Internet Explorer. My MX700 would work with Mozilla and Windows Explorer which made it a breeze to go back and forth in folders. This is frustrating because it feels like a downgrade moving from my MX700 to the MX900. All the convenience features I was used to no longer work! To move backwards I have to click on the “back” key on the explorer instead of just hitting a button on the mouse. Logitech – if you are reading this, you need to fix this immediately!
There is no way to get the Play/Pause/Rew/Fwd keys to work with Winamp 5. However, they do work very well with Windows Media Player 9.
As you can see from the above screenshot, each hotkey can be assigned to perform different functions. In this case, I was trying to assign a hotkey to automatically create a playlist from a folder full of MP3’s. The idea would have been to select the folder with the arrow keys, then press the hotkey to play it in WMP9. The keystroke combination would have been “Alt-File-Play in WMP9”. Frustratingly, you cannot do this – the software does not allow you to assign multiple keystroke combinations! Finally, there is no way to unmap the sleep key on the top left of the keyboard. I hit the key and my PC crashed instantly. Fortunately it is not easy to hit accidentally – being small, countersunk and dark coloured.
Given Logitech’s past history of poor or buggy software and drivers I am not optimistic that these issues will be addressed. I used to own a Logitech MX Duo keyboard/mouse combo and that old keyboard had a similar set of driver problems that this brand new flagship product does.
Software – Logitech Media Desktop
Without wanting to sound too hurtful to the Logitech software engineers, this software is the biggest waste of time I have ever seen. Its basic premise is simple – hit the MEDIA key and up pops a full-screen menu like what you see below. You then navigate to the option which you want using the numeric keypad and go further down each nested menu.
The trouble is, navigation is incredibly difficult. This is made worse by the software only displaying six menu items at the same time. Sorry Logitech – my pictures directory alone has over 100 folders. My music directory has over 400 folders (I rip each CD I own into a separate folder). As you can see from the above screenshot, the software does not even display the full name of the folder! Navigating to the folder I want, 6 menu items at a time, is an impossible task.
I only installed the software out of curiosity. It will remain on my PC long enough to take screenshots of it for this review – then it goes into the bin.
I have not played with the Logitech mobile phone suite as I do not have a Bluetooth capable mobile phone. You can apparently use this software to compose and send SMS messages.
Logitech Desktop Messenger will run in the background and notify you of driver updates and new product launches from Logitech. I did not install this software.
This premium priced (RRP A$499, street price closer to A$385) product could be the world’s best keyboard combo. Could be. It would be, if Logitech fixed all the frustrating bugs and “inconvenience features” in the software. It does not make sense that the more upmarket MX900 mouse should be inferior to the MX700 in terms of driver support.
Otherwise, if you plan to only use this combo as advertised and with completely standard software, it may be the right choice for you. Those of us who like using Winamp and Mozilla with keyboard shortcuts will have to wait and hope that Logitech releases better drivers.
I have no complaints about the fantastic build quality or the beautiful styling. For many, these alone would be reason enough to buy this combo. To my mind, the basic ingredients for greatness are there - it just needs a bit of tidying up.
All original content copyright James Rolfe.
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