I have a pathological hatred of wires around electrical items and I do all I can to minimise them. Unfortunately I still rather like to have a desktop computer and by the time you add modems, printers, keyboards and monitors to them you can end up having more spaghetti behind the desk than that seen in the famous "Panorama" spaghetti tree.
In a bid to cut back on them I got my first wireless keyboard and mouse several years ago and the set I bought which were from the Trust brand were great - until the keyboard stopped working abruptly.
I replaced it with the Logitech EX 100 set, which I picked up in Morrisons in 2009 for £15, which was a bit of a bargain on reflection. I'm still using this set after all this time and while it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it's still a useful set if, like me, you want to cut down on wires.
The set is black, so if your computer is silver, as mine was when I bought it, it's not going to be a perfect match. The mouse is laser driven so there's no ball on the bottom. The keyboard is designed to save space although I have to be honest and say it's not something I noticed until I compared it to a wired keyboard I bought for my daughter to use with her Wii.
There is no denying however that the whole set looks plastic - because that's what it's made from. The lack of any metal - or even some silver plastic - to detract from the black plastic does make the set look cheap but let's be honest here, this set IS cheap.
The set is battery powered and you need 2 AA batteries for the mouse and two AAA batteries for the keyboard. Unlike my old wireless keyboard and mouse set the battery compartments are easy to access.
Set up requires you to install some software from a CD-ROM. There is a USB receiver which you have to plug in to your computer and you then use the red "connect" buttons on the bottom of the keyboard and mouse to connect them to your computer.
When I bought this set I was using a desktop computer running on Windows XP so it was very easy to set this up but when I bought a new desktop last year I had to download some new software from the Logitech website because the software disc included with the set isn't compatible with Windows 7.
It's worth bearing this in mind because it does make setting up the keyboard and mouse a little more complicated - I had to set up my new computer using a wired keyboard and mouse for instance - but it's worth persevering because when the set is up and running there are some nifty features which make this set a very useful bargain.
The best thing about the keyboard is the fact it is pretty quiet to use. Logitech claim it is "silent" but I would beg to differ. It should be borne in mind however that I learned to touch type on a manual typewriter so I do tend to hit the keys far harder than someone like my daughter who has never had to experience the pain of practising typing letter sequences such as "sqs" on these old machines.
The response on the keyboard is fantastic - there's no lag at all. The software also enables you to secure the keyboard by encrypting your keystrokes and ensuring they cannot be detected by another computer. I also really like how rather than a light come on to tell me my shift lock or number lock has been activated, a message will come up on my screen, meaning I can't really miss it should I hit that shift lock in error - something I am prone to do.
There are a couple of clips for the keyboard which enable you to have it sitting on your desk at a slight angle but it's not a really obvious angle. When I first bought the set I was a bit disappointed in this but I actually find it far more comfortable to use than a keyboard as angled as those old manual typewriter keyboards were.
The keyboard has all the usual keys one would expect including the function keys and you use the "FN" key to operate alternative versions of these which include a power button for your PC (which is pretty nifty!), and vlume control buttons. The keyboard has the oft missing Euro symbol too.
The mouse is very simple to use but it's worth checking the settings on the software as it seems to default to a rather slow roll across the page and at first I wondered if it was faulty. The software, which is called Set Point Settings enables you to easily access this information and change the pointer speed and scrolling size.
This software also enables you to keep a check on the battery life of your mouse and keyboard, along with offering support should you need it.
The one thing I really don't like about the set however is the USB receiver - for some reason this comes on a pretty lengthy cable, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a wireless set as it only actually removes one cable from my computer.
My old Trust wireless keyboard and mouse had a discreet USB dongle which did this job and it looked far better than the lead included with the Logitech set, which has at the other end a small black square piece of plastic which is angled at the end and is designed to sit on top of your desktop with a small "connect" button on top. It's about five times the size of the Trust dongle and seems to add unnecessary clutter to a device which is supposedly designed to cut out on clutter.
Battery life for both the mouse and the keyboard isn't very good either. The biggest design flaw is a lack of an on/off switch on either, meaning the only way you could possibly save on power is to remove the batteries when you are not using the computer. I must be honest here and say this isn't something I could ever really see myself doing so I have got used to a warning flashing up on my screen when the batteries are about to die every couple of months or so. The batteries do seem to drain quicker on the mouse than the keyboard.
Occasionally when I change batteries, or clean the keyboard the connection to the USB receiver can go but it's generally easy to get up and running again by just pressing the red "connect" buttons on whichever item has stopped responding.
This is still available to buy online, with Amazon having some Marketplace sellers punting used sets for around £10, and new sets available elsewhere for between £15 and £25.
I would recommend the set but only with the caveat that if you have a computer running Windows 7 it does slightly complicate the installation process which requires a software download and a couple of computer reboots to get going.
This is a small concern however and it's the ease and comfort of use of both the keyboard and the mouse which has kept me using them even though I know I could get a more energy efficient set if I were to replace it.
In over two years' service this hasn't let me down and as such I can recommend it if you are looking for a cheap, cheerful and durable wireless keyboard and mouse.
Until recently we had this as a set, however an accident involving a mouse and a wall means that the reliability of the mouse was fully tested and didn't make it, the keyboard however still works perfectly, but has been parted from its natural partner.
We originally bought this mouse keyboard combination partly because it was wi-fi, also because it was Logitech which seems to have a good name for itself and finally because it perfectly matched our computer in colour and design.
This keyboard and mouse are black with a natty ergonomic shape to the keyboard and a silver line through the mouse which matches our screen perfectly, they look good, inoffensive and subtle, they also fit easily are big enough to be used and the mouse was a good fit in the hand. I'll finish talking about the mouse now out of respect but it was easy to set up simply by putting batteries in and configuring with the PC, it worked perfectly as a Wi-Fi device moving easily over the desk always following my movements and was a trusty aid until its unfortunate demise, I will stop talking about it now before I get upset and concentrate on the keyboard.
We purchased the keyboard and mouse for £19.99 from PC World and it should be available for a similar price at Currys, Comet or Amazon, the pack comes with 2 AA batteries for the mouse and 2 AAA batteries for the keyboard, after this you buy your own, but its worth it for the convenience of wi-fi.
The keyboard as a black matt finish, it is a strange shape, but apparently this is to aid your comfort and it comes with a pad to rest your wrists on whilst typing which is actually handy, even though I thought it was a waste of time and effort at first.
Keys are a good size and easily readable, there are two stand pieces to lift the keyboard to your preferred position, the batteries are contained in the back of the keyboard, whilst it is slightly larger than an average keyboard, I prefer this as it feels like the keys are slightly larger and more accessible, you connect the wi-fi by pressing a configure button which is easy to find with instructions on how to set it up.
The keyboard is light and easy to use, contains volume controls, looks fairly hard wearing (well it is much more hard wearing than the mouse) and has so far done nothing wrong for me.
Setting up both items is as simple as putting in the batteries, pressing the configuration button and then using, it's a snip to put together, batteries for each last around 4 months and its done everything I can ask of it, except for the mouse failing to withstand the force of a wall.
For an attractive hard wearing item at a good price, I think this is reasonable for both items, I'd recommend this, you may find it cheaper in Tesco or Asda as my dad bought a set for £12.99, which was very frustrating but he had been impressed by the ease of use and the way it looked, it was purchased in a Tesco sale in April and may be available again in the future, its up to you but even at £20 it's a winner for me, reliable, hard wearing, inoffensive and efficient, I would recommend this to anyone.
Up until around six months ago I had no use for a keyboard or mouse because I was using a laptop. Unfortunately due to an accident which involved a cup of tea being spilt on to the base of my laptop I suddenly found myself needing both of the above to go with an old Dell PC I luckily had lying around.
Keyboards are not something I've really paid much attention to in the past, mainly because any PC I've owned has come with one that has been suitable for my needs and I haven't really felt the need to replace them. When I started searching around for a new mouse and keyboard one of the main things I was concerned with was price. I needed both for as little as possible so I started looking through reviews on budget mice and keyboards. As well as an inexpensive set I also wanted it to be wireless and preferably black to match my PC which admittedly narrowed down my options a little bit.
There are some really cheap options out there that seemed to match most of the above requirements but none really took my fancy because the lower priced offerings tend to look very basic, bulky and like their prices, cheap. Finally I came across a bundle from Logitech which contained both a mouse and keyboard that actually looked quite nice compared to some of the really low priced options I'd been looking at. I was in desperate need of a set that day so instead of ordering online where there were some great deals I headed to my local Comet which was the nearest shop that had one in stock for a decent price.
What you get & Price
For £19.00 (from Comet) you get a box which contains a wireless black keyboard and mouse. The combo also comes with two AA batteries to power the mouse and two AAA batteries to power the keyboard. An RF USB receiver, quick start guide and a software CD is also included. As I mentioned above the same set can be found cheaper online from sites such as Amazon and Ebay and when searching I also noticed a supermarket (I forget which) mentioned a few times where the same set was being offered for £10.00. Thinking about it, it may have been Asda but I remember at the time it was not surprisingly sold out at our local store hence the reason for paying more at Comet instead.
The Logitech keyboard is made of a matt, black plastic and has a glossy black strip around the edge that contains the brand logo. The keys are pretty much standard and are printed in white, some of the function keys also have blue accents. The overall shape is pretty basic and well, keyboard shaped really but the edges are nicely rounded which not only makes it more attractive but also makes it more comfortable to use on your lap. On the back/underneath five small grey rubber feet can be found along with two flip up adjustable feet to make the keyboard more comfortable to use on a desk or flat surface. A red connect button can also be found in the top left hand corner along with a sticker containing instructions on how to connect both the mouse and keyboard to the USB receiver. There is also a warning sticker giving information on how to use the item safely and how to prevent injury to hands, wrists or neck when using. Finally on the lower half of the keyboard a small battery compartment can be found.
The mouse is made from the same black, matt plastic as the keyboard and has a small glossy back accent or detail around the rubbery textured wheel. The Logitech logo is printed on the front and on the back a sticker and red connect button can be found as with the keyboard. The battery compartment can be found by sliding off the palm section on the top to reveal the battery slots inside.
The USB receiver is again made from a matching black plastic and again has the Logitech logo printed upon it and also has a black connect button positioned on the top. I've found it to be a good shape to fit beneath my PC and small and compact enough to move around and position for a perfect signal wherever I am in the room.
Length; Approx 17"
Item weight: 1.1kg
Boxed weight: 1.2kg
Model number: EX100
Glossy black highlights
Long lasting UV coated key printing
Programmable hot keys
Direct access to battery status indicator, on-screen calculator or CD-eject
Scroll wheel (acts as a third wheel)
High performance optical
Overall I don't think the set looks too bad at all for the money. Considering what was on offer for a similar or slightly less price this actually looks quite nice. The design is quite simple but has some nice little details including the black gloss accents and I'm quite pleased with how it looks on my desk. It's not the most beautiful looking keyboard out there but I personally think it's one of the best in its price range,
Set up & using it
Setting everything up was easy, all I had to do was plug in the USB receiver, wait for the PC to recognise the hardware and then slot in the supplied installation disc. Installing drivers on to the PC barely took a few minutes and I was ready to go. A handy feature included in the software gave me detailed options for the mouse. This includes a button assigning feature, mouse movement and speed, game setting options and a battery indicator shown on my PC task bar. Similar options were available for the keyboard, including function keys enabling you to assign programs or music player buttons to various keys of your choice and as with the mouse, a battery indicator shown on my PC screen.
Once everything's installed using it is obviously pretty straight forward. The standard layout of the keyboard is easy to use and I find typing quick, easy and comfortable. The USB receiver allows me to sit a fair distance away from the PC which enables me to sit comfortably with the keyboard on my lap. I have also found this to be quite handy with the mouse too along with the fact that it works well on a range of different surfaces as well as on mouse pad/mat. The wheel on the mouse also moves fluidly and is easy to control. The rubbery material that it's made from is easy to grip but I have found the wheel to be quite noisy when scrolling.
I've had the set for around six months now and I have to say that it hasn't disappointed quality wise. Both the keyboard and mouse feel sturdy and well made and the keys aren't clunky and don't stick like some do on cheaper models. I've also found the keys to be quite quiet when typing and although you still obviously get a tapping noise, it's not as loud as others I've used in the past. As I mentioned above, the mouse works on a range of different surfaces including my knee which I tend to use when I sit back comfortably in my chair. Both the items have been well used since I got them and I'll admit that both have been dropped on quite a few occasions too. This doesn't seem to have affected either too much and both are still working well with no problems. Neither the keyboard or mouse has any visible signs of wear or any marks or scratches and I've found both easy to clean with a slightly damp cloth. It's also worth mentioning that the keyboard is spill resistant which is great for me considering the unfortunate accident with my laptop.
Would I recommend?
Yes! If you're looking for a cheap keyboard and mouse set it's definitely worth checking this one out. It's one of the most attractive sets I came across in the price range and so far it's been excellent quality wise. It's durable, compact and both mouse and keyboard are easy and comfortable to use. Apart from the slightly noisy wheel on the mouse and the fact that the batteries in the mouse run out fairly frequently (Not the case with the keyboard) I really can't find anything else to complain about.
Overall a great little budget set
When looking for a replacement keyboard there really is no reason to go for a wired keyboard anymore, as wireless keyboards such as this Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 100 are really quite affordable now. In fact this one comes complete with a wireless mouse so for the price, it's great value.
It also comes with two quality AAA batteries so you can be up and running without any fuss.
There's one noticeable thing this keyboard does lack, so let's cover that first before we look at the positive points. There is no dedicated volume control. While most keyboards have a couple of buttons or a dial for volume control, the EX100's volume control is a function of the cursor keys, so to adjust your system volume you have to hold down one key while tapping another. Not a big deal, but different from most keyboards so worth mentioning.
Of course the other thing that this keyboard is missing is a wire! Being cordless is great, no more having the keyboards location limited by the length of a cable, or the cable becoming snagged up in other cables or desk parts. There's a USB receiver that simply connects to any USB port on your computer and the receiver part just sits anywhere on your desk near the PC to pick up the keyboard signals.
Of course being cordless the keyboard does need batteries and as I have already mentioned they come supplied. I am a heavy user so I thought they would run out quite quickly, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how much life I got out of them, at over 5 months.
The keyboard copes very well with heavy use. For desktop use such as word processing or even for fast action gaming, there is no issue with this keyboard, it performs very well indeed.
It also looks the part, very slim, sleek and black. It sits comfortably on your lap, or with the aid of two small props on the underside can be placed on a suitable surface.
My wife loves to surf, buy and sell stuff at eBay so she spends a considerable amount of time in her desktop computer. Her desktop computer is located in the living room and mine is in the bedroom. So, this makes it difficult to talk to her about stuff when she is in the other room. So I thought of a solution and I asked my self "why not do my computing in the living room with her?" I don't want to move furniture and move my desktop in the living room so doing things in the laptop is the way to go. But is not as productive as doing it in the Desktop (i.e screen is small, keyboard is smaller with less keys and processor is slower). I can live with the slower processor because I am not doing computer intensive things but what I can't ignore is doing it in a limited keyboard and small screen. The screen problem is trivial because I have an extra VGA cable lying around which I can connect to my TV. So, all I need to do was get a good keyboard and a mouse. It should be a wireless keyboard and mouse as I don't want cables dangling near my TV (that would look messy) and I just need to somewhat dock my laptop in the vicinity of the TV. So, I searched in Newegg.com and found this Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 100 system to be the answer to my problem.
I was surprised when I got this keyboard because I was expecting a thick and bulky one. But this one is very thin and it's about half an inch thick. It has curved sides which make it look sleeker and it seems to hug the table. In other words it doesn't look obtrusive. It is pretty light also so I can put the keyboard in your lap while lounging in the sofa. The edge has a shiny black finish while the middle has a matte finish. The keys also have a matte finish. The keys are colored white and it looks pretty standard. The function keys are colored blue and cannot be seen easily. I would have preferred if it were brighter like yellow but this is really trivial as you don't use the function keys as much as the regular keys. There is a reset button at the bottom of the keyboard. The position is also non obtrusive as the red button will surely spoil the sleek look of the keyboard. In contrast, I cannot say the same to the mouse. It just looks like a regular mouse without the cord.
I like the feel of the keyboard. It is very responsive and the keys are very smooth and don't need a hard pounding. The mouse is an optical one so you would need a mouse pad and a flat surface. This product could have been better if it is a laser mouse but this is a cheap product (about half the price of other keyboard + mouse wireless systems) so you are getting what you paid for. The mouse is also responsive. It has three buttons with a scroll wheel in the middle hence it is very functional and very easy to use if you are just browsing or doing office stuff. Battery life is also good. I have this product for more than three months and responsiveness hasn't decreased and I haven't replaced the battery yet. I was surprised that this product came with a Duracell battery and not some generic brandless one.
This product solved my problem and I can now compute at my living room using my laptop that is connected to my TV and using this product as my input device. Now life is much better and I can be with my wife in the same room.
This review can also be viewed at ciao.com (US) by the same author