Date: December 18, 2007
Author(s): Greg King
With such a vast selection of peripherals on the market, it can sometimes feel impossible to find the perfect product or one that you are best suited for. In our latest gift guide, we do all we can to make your decision for a new mouse and keyboard a much easier one.
Could you imagine a brand-new computer system without a mouse and keyboard? Mad! That won’t happen when our resident peripheral gurus are on the case. Nate Marion will be giving all of his keyboard recommendations while Greg King tackles the mice. Without further ado, let’s slide right in!
Those of you with HPTC users on your gift list may be interested in two new products that integrate mouse and keyboard functionality into a single compact device.
Logitech’s diNovo Edge is easily one of the cleanest and classiest looking keyboards we’ve seen, and it’s got everything you need to control a media PC from up to 32 feet away, including a touch-pad with right-click, left-click and scroll functions, media control buttons and shortcuts. The included software allows some of the button functions to be customized, and the included charging stand helps ensure that batteries won’t ever be a problem. The price is steep at $160, but the styling, aluminum construction and great feature set are very convincing.
For something a little less flashy and expensive, check out the VidaBox Wireless Media Keyboard. Size matters when it comes to wireless media keyboards, and the folks at VidaBox obviously understand that. Measuring in at just over 12″ long, the VidaBox Wireless Media Keyboard packs a ton of functionality into a very small space. It offers a full keyboard, a trackball and right/left click buttons, and an array of media control and shortcut buttons.
As with all keyboards this small, some sacrifices are to be expected, but the lack of numlock/capslock indicators and a scroll-wheel is easily compensated for by its 30-foot range, great battery life, easy installation and $63.00 price tag.
If you know someone who’s had some trouble getting used to the unusual layout of most ergonomic keyboards available today, you may be glad to know that Logitech’s Cordless Desktop Wave takes a different approach to ergonomic design. We found this new approach to be incredibly comfortable without the hassle of re-learning key locations, and with the benefits of a set of media and shortcut keys, and customizable functions via Logitech’s driver software. The Cordless Desktop Wave includes an ambidextrous mouse and can be had for $90. A wired version of the Wave keyboard only can be found for under $40.
Microsoft offers most of the other options for ergonomic design. The fairly standard Microsoft Natural 4000 is available for under $50, with while the newer 7000 series includes an ergonomic mouse and can be found in the vicinity of $120. Finally, the well-known Comfort Curve 2000 is a bargain at $20.
Gamers have a lot of choices these days. There are a lot of companies constantly trying to earn the extra dollars that gamers and PC enthusiasts are willing to spend on peripherals, the main focus being on programmable keys. Not all programmable keys are equal, however, which is why we recommend Logitech’s G15 keyboard above the rest.
Logitech’s G15 keyboard has been at the pinnacle of multi-purpose keyboards for the past two years. The recently redesigned keyboard offers an LCD screen which can display a plethora of system information via user-created applications, a set of multimedia playback keys, and 6 programmable ‘G’ buttons with three modes each, for a total of 18 completely customizable macros.
When it comes to programming keys, Logitech’s driver software is the best we’ve come across, and not only allows for complex macros of any length, but can also accommodate hold and release functions via Lua scripts, all of which can be shared online. The G15 also has all of its keys illuminated with three levels or brightness (including ‘off’).
The G15 is a great gift for gaming enthusiasts and professionals who value programmable keys. The updated G15 can be found for $80, while the older version (larger, with 18 ‘G’ keys instead of 6) can be found for as little as $60.
The Razer Tarantula is also worth mentioning because it offers much of the same features as the G15. With ten programmable buttons in and ambidextrous orientation, 32kb of onboard memory for saving profiles, and included pass through jacks for audio and a mic, the Tarantula is no slouch in the feature department. Its especially smooth and quiet key action is something to consider as well. However, priced at $80, it lacks an LCD screen and has much more limited macro functionality than the G15.
For programmable keys on a smaller budget, the Microsoft Reclusa is a good choice, at about $50, and the Saitek Eclipse II offers three different backlight options for as little as $40.
Finding ourselves in the middle of the Holidays, we asked ourselves whether or not it would be prudent to do another holiday gift guide like the one we compiled around this time last year. The overall consensus of us all was that we should do another list to provide some form of insight on our thoughts concerning current hardware available that you or I might like to receive for Christmas, Chanukah or whatever you might celebrate in the coming weeks.
While parents by the millions ransack their local shops, trying to get everything they need to prove that they love their children the mostest, I would assume (read: hope) that you all are more likely to avoid the chaos and think over a few different items before placing that order online or braving the local department store for that oh-so-special gift.
While it’s true that every self respecting tech site has their own gift guide in place, we would like to fall in line and present our own list of potential gifts in the hopes that it makes your gift giving experience a little easier during this stressful time of year. That and we like to hear ourselves talk.
As in our earlier guides, this isn’t simply a dream machine list. Anyone can piece together a top dollar machine but how many of you can afford such a rig? I certainly can’t so to help everyone out there like me, we also look at hardware that runs the entire pricing spectrum. From the bargain bin products to the before mentioned dream gear, we’re confident that you can find something in your price range, and more importantly, something that the person you have in your gift giving sights will use and enjoy well into the new year.
Next up is the mouse. Long used as a simple pointing device, the lowly mouse has played a crucial role in the development of the PC and how we use them. From graphics to gaming, the mouse can help you finish that overdue 3D modeling project or help you delay it further by allowing you to continue slacking off, racking up head shot after head shot in counter strike and online play in Command and Conquer. That’s at least that how it went for me in college, I don’t know about you.
Anyway, for our budget offering, we have chosen the Microsoft 6000 black 5 button mouse. Equipped with a frickin’ laser, the romantically named Microsoft 6000 (B7G-00004) has everything needed to enjoy smooth movement for everyday users. Lacking adjustable DPI settings, the mouse is not recommended for gaming but the 6000 will suffice and with its extra buttons, extra in game functions can be programmed to the keys for added convenience.
I personally own a pair of these mice and picked them up at the local Staples simply because they are cheap (can be found for under $30USD online) and comfortable to use for extended periods of time. For those that don’t need anything fancy like lights and other fancy functions, the Microsoft 6000 laser mouse gets my recommendation as a versatile, high quality mouse that anyone can use for any amount of time… cheaply.
For our mid range selection, the Razer Death Adder is one of our personal favorites as far as mice are concerned. We looked at this mouse back in March and felt it was good enough to warrant an Editor’s Choice award. Available online for around $50 (US), the Death Adder brings a lot to the table. Gamers will like its advanced 3G infrared sensor and its fast 1000Hz Ultrapolling while everyday users can appreciate the large non-slip buttons and an overall comfortable design guaranteed to go easy on any hand.
Other notable features are its large Teflon pads, programmable buttons and a very thin seven foot cord that terminates at a gold plated USB adapter. The Death Adder from Razer could easily have been placed in the upper high end category with its tremendous build quality and bevy of features but the fact that it can be bought for around $50, it’s easily falls in our mid range pricing grid.
Filling in the high end section of our list is the widely popular Logitech MX Revolution. The MX Revo was evaluated by our fearless leader back in August of 2006 and in that time; not much has changed in our eyes. Bringing to the table reliable wireless interaction and what I can only describe as the greatest wheel on a mouse ever, the MX Revo is easily the best offering available for PC users.
While it’s not the greatest mouse suited for gaming available, the MX is more than capable of offering top level performance when fragging away late into the night. What it lacks in adjustable DPI, it more than makes up for in comfort and design. Did we mention the scroll wheel? I suppose we did already but it really can’t be talked about enough. The free flow of the wheel is great for scrolling through text and web pages.
As in our motherboard gift guide, we would like to offer up a few more considerations for those of you who might not agree with our selections above. These are products that might not have fit into the categories used but are none the less quality offerings from their respective manufacturer.
Logitech MX518: The MX518 is easily my favorite mouse on the planet. While it’s been around for quite some time, the feel of the Logitech kidney bean design has been a personal favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. The MX518 represents exceptional versatility and has been on my gaming rig for well over a year now.
Logitech G9: First out of the gate with a review of the G9, the latest gaming offering from Logitech was quite controversial when production photographs leaked into the tubes prior to release. In our review, the G9 turned out to be a remarkable mouse for those gamers who use their fingers more than their palms to control the mouse. With its adjustable rates and highly programmable buttons, the G9 is a wonderful addition to any gaming PC build.
Microsoft Habu: Looking at the Habu back in April, Rob was pleasantly surprised at the overall design of the end product of Razer and Microsoft collaboration. With its pleasant blue glow and the distinctive feel of a Microsoft mouse, the Habu should be a consideration for anyone looking to get a great mouse for that special gamer on their list.
We hope that it helped you in your purchasing decisions this season, and if you are left with any additional questions or comments, please feel free to post in our related thread! No registration is required to post within this thread. Happy holidays!
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