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Logitech diNovo Edge

Date: December 22, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams

Logitech has released quite a few “revolutionary” products this year, and plan to finish 2006 off with their diNovo Edge keyboard. They claim it’s the most technologically advanced keyboard available and is probably one of the most expensive. Is it worth your time and money?



Introduction


2007 is right around the corner and looking back at 2006, Logitech had quite an eventful year. Besides the fact that they celebrated their 25th birthday this past October, they unveiled a “revolutionary” new mouse and other impressive peripherals. The MX Revolution would have to be my personal favorite Logitech product ever. Shortly after that release, they announced an equally revolutionary keyboard, the diNovo Edge.

Their diNovo keyboards all share a similar goal; To be the best media PC keyboard possible. That’s to say, it’s not the ideal choice for an everyday PC and certainly not one for gaming. Their previous models have received many awards, which is thanks to the fact that they conduct a lot of personal research and then apply their findings to the next product. The Edge is not a simple update to their series though. There are many aspects of the keyboard that have been upgraded, and contains technology not found on any other Logitech model.

Closer Look

Looking through the reviewer materials for the Edge, Logitech provides many statistics gathered from their own research. One point of interest is that they found over 60% of computer users enjoy having the latest and greatest in keyboard technology. In addition, the same amount want a keyboard that’s ergonomic and comfortable to use. I am not going to disagree here; I consider myself to be within that 60%. Who enjoys an uncomfortable keyboard anyway? Thanks to these figures, Logitech knows what to strive for and hope to accomplish all that and more with the Edge.

Before receiving the Edge, I was unsure what to expect. Sure, it looked great, but how user friendly would it prove to be? It became quite clear after taking it out of the box that this is an elegant piece of peripheral that should prove eye pleasing to anyone who gawks at it. It’s designed mostly for media PC’s as I mentioned and even rids the need for a mouse if you wanted. Before I “touch” on all of this, lets take a look at the unveiling of this sexy beast.

The Edge came to me in it’s retail packaging, a box that’s far larger than the keyboard itself. This is not a cheap keyboard, so perhaps a large box gives the impression that it is expensive?

In the spirit of elegance, the box opens just like a box of fine chocolates. The keyboard is not wrapped in a plastic or cloth bag like most are. It’s obvious that they want the product as a whole to scream quality and class. Such a bag would dampen that effect. The keyboard does however have a thin plastic film covering the entire plexiglas surface area. It came off without an issue, leaving no residue behind.

You can see the Edge alongside my MX518. It’s a slim board in all respects. Notice that the Edge does not have a matte finish… it’s very glossy. That’s thanks to the fact that it’s made with plexiglas acrylic. I personally love the look that such materials provide, but it results in a product that doubles as a ultra-powered dust magnet.

I mentioned earlier that you can use this keyboard without a mouse if you desired. That’s due to this circle touchpad. Although it looks like a wheel, there are no movable parts underneath whatsoever. It acts like the touchpad on your notebook computer. The two buttons below act as a left and right mouse click. You can also click them both at the same time for a function that you can set in the SetPoint software.

You may notice the vertical and horizontal lines on the pad. These act as a scroll wheel control. You can touch the vertical line for example while surfing a webpage, and rub your finger downward to soar through the page. It proves more functional than just this and should be quite beneficial for image viewing and spreadsheet crunching.



Closer Look

On the left side of the board we have five buttons that you probably recognize. Seeing as this is a media keyboard, a sleep button makes good sense. Below that we see a zoom in and zoom out button and another to restore the webpage/image back to it’s original state. The bottom button, funny enough, acts as a mouse left click. So, if you are sans a mouse, you can use the touchpad with your right hand and then double click with your index finger on your left hand. It seems silly, but it’s actually intuitive.

Above the touchpad you will find both the volume control and media center button. The volume control is an interesting part of the board, because you can increase/decrease the volume simply by rubbing your finger along it in the desired direction. To the right of this bar you can see a power icon. Beside that on the side of the board is the actual power button, which is somewhat awkward to click to the on position. It should only need to be done once though.

Unlike most other keyboard, the Edge has keys very similar to what you see on your laptop. This is for various reasons. It helps the board retain it’s very slim form and also is comfortable to use. Not to mention dead quiet operation.

An arm rest is built right into the board and is made of tough aluminum. To continue it’s classier look and feel, it has a brushed surface.

Turning over the keyboard surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting an overload of orange. The entire back is made of rigid plastic, and its color well matches the LED color choice used on the front. Towards the bottom you can see the notch with two metal contacts used for connecting to the charger.

Charger bases are never too exciting and this one isn’t either. It will hold your keyboard perfectly whenever you need to charge it.

Included with the keyboard is the usual manual and software, in addition to the Bluetooth USB adapter and cloth for wiping all the dust off.

As I mentioned, the board utilizes many orange LEDs, although the Bluetooth and Battery level indicators light or green or red, depending on it’s status. When the lights are off, you cannot tell that they are there at all, unless you look very closely.

This is a time lapsed photo. At no time will you see all of the lights lit up like this, but the image is used to show you all the locations of LEDs on the board. Note the icons above the F keys. Whenever you push the Fn key, these alternate functions light up and pushing them will perform that function. F9 – F12 are custom keys, although the other ones can be changed also. None of the lights will light up for more than a second after pushing the respective function key. The only button that will stay lit up is the ring around the touchpad while it’s in use.



Usage and Final Thoughts


Thanks to the fact that the keyboard is pre-charged, it’s good to go straight out of the box. It’s a matter of plugging in the Bluetooth adapter to an available USB port and waiting a minute for it to detect and install. SetPoint, as always, is required for most of the functionality. The setup is just like any other Logitech peripheral, but because of the mouse features, you can open up the configuration for the keyboard under both the mouse and keyboard tabs.

In regards to the touchpad, the SetPoint software allows you to change everything from the sensitivity to the scrolling speed. You can also change the function of pushing both the left and right click buttons at the same time. At default, doing this will activate the document switcher (think ALT+TAB). You can’t manually set a function, but they provide a long list of basic functions to choose from.

The touch volume control is another great feature, but I personally prefer the old fashioned volume up/ down buttons. You might disagree. It’s a simple process regardless. Rub the bar upwards or downwards to effect the volume respectively. At first, I wished that the length of the bar was relative to the actual volume slider, meaning that touching the top would put the volume at it’s maximum. But then I realized that would also be a downside. Imagine playing music or a game and accidentally touching the top of the bar. You would be in for quite a shock, depending on how loud your volume is to begin with.

Using the Edge, to me, was just like using a laptop keyboard. Keystrokes were fluid, and quiet. It may take a little getting used to because it is indeed a different feel than a standard keyboard. I don’t have any complaints to speak of, although I did find myself missing the numpad. I use the numpad often for the calculator, but without it there, I found it easier to just click the calculation in. Another downside is that when you are inside your BIOS, you cannot use the + and – buttons to change values, which you need to do to set the time, overclock, et cetera. That’s because the + and – keys usually belong on the numpad. Laptop keyboards often have dual values on the regular keys. For example, pushing the Fn and ? key on my Dell Inspiron will tell the computer that I am pressing the + button on the numpad.

That’s my biggest gripe about this keyboard. With the lack of a numpad, there -should- be alternate values on certain keys. But, this keyboard is almost strictly for HTPC’s as is evident, so perhaps you won’t need a numpad or those functions. They would have been a nice inclusion regardless.

As a whole, this is a great keyboard. It has the looks, the functionality and superb battery life. I have been using the keyboard for two days now, and I haven’t touched the charger since it came out of the box. Looking at the SetPoint program to get an estimate on remaining battery life, it tells me that there is 24 days left before depletion. I am unsure how accurate this is and I’m sure it will vary depending on usage, but that’s a nice figure to see.

The keyboard is designed to be charged whenever you are finished for the day, thanks to it’s practical base. But, it’s nice to know that there is quite a bit of life in between full charges. If what it says proves true, I don’t see why you would need to charge more than once a month. Because, beside this 24 day estimate, it told me that the batteries were “fair”, not fully charged. I will continue to use the Edge and if anything changes regarding battery life, I will update this review.

Although the Edge was announced in October, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that e-tailers finally began stocking them. In their press release, Logitech gave the Edge an SRP of $199, and the majority of retailers are sticking to that exact figure. This keyboard is obviously not for everyone, thanks to that heavy pricetag. You are paying for quality and the technology that the Edge implements. I didn’t jump into all of the technologies in great detail, but if you are interested in knowing the nitty gritty, you can download the reviewers guide which explains everything.

This is a fantastic keyboard and is definitely the classiest looking one on the market that will really add some style to your room. I am awarding the diNovo Edge a 9 out of 10, but withholding our Editors Choice award. The keyboard is expensive, but the pluses outweigh the cost. The lack of the numpad and the fact that the board is a huge dust magnet are my biggest gripes.

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