Introduction

 

I’ve long advocated quality input and output devices and have previously done reviews on both Logitech’s MX1100 and Logitech’s Revolution and Logitech’s MX Performance Mouse. 

 

The power of the computer is important, but what  you really live with on a day to day basis are your input and output devices.  Quality monitors can make a huge difference in your work, both for the proper matching of colors and to reduce eyestrain.  Quality mice allow you to make small changes in your images, brush colors, blend, and manipulate your workstation environment.  We use mice perhaps more than any other input device so we should use good ones.  Keyboards are more single purpose, we use them to input letters and numbers and to a much more limited extent to ‘hotkey’ functions such as volume, search engines, zoom, and more. 

 

Keyboards are very personal in nature.   I learned to “keyboard” in 5th grade in formal typing classes on an old full stroke Underwood manual typewriter.  We learned our ‘home keys’ and where everything should be, and to this day not much has changed.  Our home keys are still in the same place and still marked by tiny lifted nudges on your F and J keys, a tactile reminder of where to place your hands so your muscle memory can take over for the purpose of ‘touch typing’. 

 

A general observation is the more detailed your work, the more you require from your mouse.  The faster and more you type, the more you demand from your keyboard.  And you should.

 

Still, we all have our favorite type of keyboard.  For the longest time I was a fan of the mechanical switch keys you’d find in the very old IBM keyboards or Keytronics keyboards.  You remember these, 20 pound heavy metal keyboards that made a loud clacking noise as you type?  Yes, you can still buy mechanical switch keyboards, a good one is about $150 and made by a German company Das Keyboards.

 

 

Still, we all have our favorite type of keyboard.  For the longest time I was a fan of the mechanical switch keys you’d find in the very old IBM keyboards or Keytronics keyboards.  You remember these, 20 pound heavy metal keyboards that made a loud clacking noise as you type?  Yes, you can still buy mechanical switch keyboards, a good one is about $150 and made by a German company Das Keyboards.

 

 

Later I moved to laptop like keyboard made by IBM.   The current model might be better than when I was using them, but I found although they very closely replicated the look, feel, and key placement of IBM’s excellent Thinkpad keyboards, they weren’t nearly as durable.  I still have 4-5 of the things around here somewhere and I’d buy them 2-3 at a time.  Eventually I found something better.

 

 

 Later I moved to laptop like keyboard made by IBM.   The current model might be better than when I was using them, but I found although they very closely replicated the look, feel, and key placement of IBM’s excellent Thinkpad keyboards, they weren’t nearly as durable.  I still have 4-5 of the things around here somewhere and I’d buy them 2-3 at a time.  Eventually I found something better.

 

 

My former housekeeper, bless her heart, learned my business very well and noticed I always used the same keyboard.  One day while visiting a tech show she found one she thought I’d like better.  At first I didn’t take her too seriously

but she persisted and soon we found ourselves at Pantip Plaza checking out the Logitech diNovo Edge Bluetooth keyboard.  At first I thought its built in touchdisc would be the equal of the touchpad on the IBM but it wasn’t nearly as good.  However, the keys and keyboard layout were ideal.  The Bluetooth wireless was liberating.  This became my keyboard for the next four years, but unfortunately it didn’t last forever and I recently found myself looking for a replacement.  Let’s talk a bit about each one.

 

 

 

 

The Competitors

 

Logitech diNovo Edge Bluetooth

 

 

Logitech diNovo Edge Bluetooth

 

 

The diNovo Edge is quite the keyboard.  If it was still a current model I’d probably have spent another 10,000 baht for another.  I’ve been told they’re replacing it soon so I decided to look further.  Still, its available out there at discounted prices (in the states) so maybe someone will want to scoop up a deal.

 

 

The diNovo Edge is quite the keyboard.  If it was still a current model I’d probably have spent another 10,000 baht for another.  I’ve been told they’re replacing it soon so I decided to look further.  Still, its available out there at discounted prices (in the states) so maybe someone will want to scoop up a deal.

 

 

In addition to being wireless and Bluetooth compatible it’s also rechargeable.  I use my keyboard a lot and I routinely got 30-45 days on each charge and this didn’t diminish during its lifespan like you’d expect it to.  Every month or so I’d set it in its charger for a few hours and that kept the batteries topped up.  The Bluetooth allowed it to be connected to my workstation via its included dongle, or to my laptops via their built in Bluetooth interface.  The TouchDisc was ‘usable’ at best, annoying at worst.   The media controls including the volume slider worked well, but weren’t something I used often.

 

 

In addition to being wireless and Bluetooth compatible it’s also rechargeable.  I use my keyboard a lot and I routinely got 30-45 days on each charge and this didn’t diminish during its lifespan like you’d expect it to.  Every month or so I’d set it in its charger for a few hours and that kept the batteries topped up.  The Bluetooth allowed it to be connected to my workstation via its included dongle, or to my laptops via their built in Bluetooth interface.  The TouchDisc was ‘usable’ at best, annoying at worst.   The media controls including the volume slider worked well, but weren’t something I used often.

 

 

The two areas I really appreciated were its great looks including the slim design and black plexiglass cover, and it’s “Perfect Stroke” keys.  The keystrokes are quiet, have just the right amount of over travel, and a tactile feedback which I find very comfortable.  The Perfect Stroke keys remind me of the old mechanical keys of old, but without the noise.  Very comfortable!

 

 

Logitech diNovo for Notebook

 

 

Logitech diNovo for Notebook

 

 

Another soon to be discontinued but still available keyboard it the Logitech diNovo Notebook.  I ordered this because I found a closeout for $45 and after examining it in person I can’t figure out why it’s classified “for notebooks.”  It’s the same full size and layout as the diNovo Edge above.

 

 

Another soon to be discontinued but still available keyboard it the Logitech diNovo Notebook.  I ordered this because I found a closeout for $45 and after examining it in person I can’t figure out why it’s classified “for notebooks.”  It’s the same full size and layout as the diNovo Edge above.

 

 

The diNovo Notebook edition uses replaceable AAA batteries (2) and is not rechargeable.  It’s estimated to last 4-6 weeks on one set of batteries.  This might not be very green, but it’s certainly convenient and you don’t need to place or store a big bulky charging station like with the Edge.

 

 

The diNovo Notebook edition uses replaceable AAA batteries (2) and is not rechargeable.  It’s estimated to last 4-6 weeks on one set of batteries.  This might not be very green, but it’s certainly convenient and you don’t need to place or store a big bulky charging station like with the Edge.

 

 

It’s got the same great style and slim design, but adds a numeric keypad while deleting the media controls and TouchDisc over the diNovo Edge.  Fine with me, both features I didn’t use.

 

 

It’s got the same great style and slim design, but adds a numeric keypad while deleting the media controls and TouchDisc over the diNovo Edge.  Fine with me, both features I didn’t use.

 

 

The Logitech diNovo Notebook uses the same great Perfect Stroke key system.  For $45 its one heck of a buy.  You’ll find them on closeout in the states if you look.  I found mine on Amazon.

 

 

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard

 

 

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard

 

 

Typing in a specification comparison for all keyboards using the Perfect Stroke system I found only three.  I owned one, had ordered the other, so why not add the third to my order?  This one is very simple but as close to perfect a retail price of $79 can bring.

 

 

Typing in a specification comparison for all keyboards using the Perfect Stroke system I found only three.  I owned one, had ordered the other, so why not add the third to my order?  This one is very simple but as close to perfect a retail price of $79 can bring.

 

 

It’s very thin yet reassuringly solid.  It’s 100% plastic and doesn’t have the aluminum solid frames of the diNovo series, but it flexes very little.  The layout is the same as the diNovo Notebook, a separate numeric keypad, full size layout, and dual function/media keys across the top.

 

 

It’s very thin yet reassuringly solid.  It’s 100% plastic and doesn’t have the aluminum solid frames of the diNovo series, but it flexes very little.  The layout is the same as the diNovo Notebook, a separate numeric keypad, full size layout, and dual function/media keys across the top.

 

 

What sets this apart and makes it different is that its illuminated via laser etched cutouts on each key.  You can set the level of brightness using the illumination key, there are four levels including off.  Even though I’ve touch typed for years I found the backlighting welcome.  After a bit of use I actually grew to depend on it.  Nice.

 

 

What sets this apart and makes it different is that its illuminated via laser etched cutouts on each key.  You can set the level of brightness using the illumination key, there are four levels including off.  Even though I’ve touch typed for years I found the backlighting welcome.  After a bit of use I actually grew to depend on it.  Nice.

 

 

All in all a very nice keyboard and no need to worry about batteries or recharging.  Sure, the USB cord is there but I suppose I could get used to it.  ;o)

 

 

Summary

 

I’ll admit it, looking at these three keyboards I wondered why Logitech didn’t make a keyboard incorporating the great aluminum frame, slim style, rechargeable or replaceable batteries, perfect stroke keys, separate numeric keypad, and wireless.  And while they’re at it, why not make it compatible with the unifying receiver my MX Performance Mouse  uses so I can regain a USB port?

 

However, at the time of ordering there were only these three models available.  Looking at these three models I feel it’s a matter of choosing the features you most enjoy or need.  Do you need illumination, wireless, a separate numeric keypad, solid aluminum frame, choose what you need and then look for the best price.  These keyboards are all way better than anything that came with your PC or Mac, and yes they make a Logitech diNovo Mac, though its discontinued so you’ll need to look around for one.  The important thing is the full size layout and the perfect stroke key system.  Now I have three choices.

 

But guess what?  Just as soon as I used these enough to have an opinion, Logitech announces its new K800 Illuminated Wireless rechargeable keyboard with a strong aluminum frame and laser etched keys.  And it’s even compatible with their unifying transceiver!  Shoot me now..

 

 

This will be perhaps the best keyboard of all time.  Sites everywhere are already speculating.  The slim design is really enhanced by the backlit keys.

 

 

This will be perhaps the best keyboard of all time.  Sites everywhere are already speculating.  The slim design is really enhanced by the backlit keys.

 

 

The perfect stroke system remains, and so does the separate numeric keypad.  The illumination is adjustable, and it even turns on/off automatically as it detects your hand getting close.  This saves on batteries.

 

 

The perfect stroke system remains, and so does the separate numeric keypad.  The illumination is adjustable, and it even turns on/off automatically as it detects your hand getting close.  This saves on batteries.

 

 

And  speaking of batteries it uses two rechargeable and replaceable AA’s which can recharge using a simple USB cable while keeping the keyboard active and in use, or you can even choose to use replaceable alkaline AA’s.  Your choice.

 

 

And  speaking of batteries it uses two rechargeable and replaceable AA’s which can recharge using a simple USB cable while keeping the keyboard active and in use, or you can even choose to use replaceable alkaline AA’s.  Your choice.

 

 

The slim design appears a convergence of all three previous models and I really like it.  It can sit on its own edge, yet is tilted just perfectly for typing.  I haven’t felt one yet, but I’d imagine it has significant heft and feels great.

 

 

The slim design appears a convergence of all three previous models and I really like it.  It can sit on its own edge, yet is tilted just perfectly for typing.  I haven’t felt one yet, but I’d imagine it has significant heft and feels great.

 

 

Isn’t this exactly how I ended up with my MX Performance Mouse?    I was happy with the Revolution, it got old, I tried the MX1100 because it was the closest thing available, and then the made the Performance Mouse available.  DAMN YOU LOGITECH!!!

 

 

Isn’t this exactly how I ended up with my MX Performance Mouse?    I was happy with the Revolution, it got old, I tried the MX1100 because it was the closest thing available, and then the made the Performance Mouse available.  DAMN YOU LOGITECH!!! 

 

I preordered my K800 Illuminated wireless keyboard with perfect stroke keys and separate numeric keypad.  I suspect I’ll actually get my hands on it in the middle of September.  I’ll use it a few months and then let you know how great it is.  Oh, almost forgot.  It’s not $200 like the original diNovo, it’s only $99 list which is an incredible value.

 

Not the review you expected?  Sometimes things go this way.  Either way, I hope it prompts you to look at your own keyboard and evaluate it for your needs.  The art and even the competition of building the perfect keyboard is alive and strong.