Logitech Desktop Review

I have promised a review of the Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 for some time now, and so here it is (and it’s not sponsored either!).

First off: what made me buy this keyboard? I already had a Macally Icekey keyboard (white, low-profile keys), and an optical Logitech mouse. When I first got my hands on the S 530 though, I just had to have it.

It is all wireless, of course. No cords (except for the receiver). The mouse is also laser, not optical. This makes for more precision, and it also means it’ll work better on all kinds of crazy surfaces. For instance, I can use it on our lacquered wooden table, without the need for a mouse pad. I couldn’t do that with the old mouse. The last, and maybe best thing, is all the extra keys you get.

Mouse: your usual left and right buttons, scroll wheel with tilt and click (yes that means you can also scroll horizontally without the need for modifier keys), back/forward buttons for when browsing the web for instance, and you also get volume controls. Up, down and mute. These default to global volume, but can be programmed for specific applications.

Keyboard: low-profile keys, like a laptop. The usual letters and numbers, 15 F-keys, CD eject. Full size in other words. Then comes the additional keys…

– Power. Can put the computer to sleep, or shut down, but can’t power it on.
– Email. Launches your email client of choice. Defaults to Mail.app.
– Home. Launches your web browser of choice, defaults to Safari.
– Scroll up/down. To scroll a large document or a website from your keyboard.
– Back. To go back one page in your browser, for instance.
– Search. Defaults to open Spotlight.
– Play/next/previous. Defaults to iTunes control, but can again be programmed for any other player.
– iTunes. Launches iTunes.
– iPhoto. Right, it’ll launch it.
– Volume up/down/mute. You guessed it.

So, any key can be programmed to launch any application, repeat a keystroke, or to do things like increasing volume (list of some of the actions). In addition, each can be programmed for different things in different applications.

All this sounds lovely, right? Surely there has to be a catch…

Logitech and drivers don’t go well together, and I think this is something most of you with Logitech hardware and Macs have experienced. I didn’t have any problems back when I ran on PowerPC hardware, but when I switched to Intel, things got a bit more complicated. Crashes and stuff.

With that being said, the latest version (2.1.4 as of this writing) has worked without any of the real bad stuff. That is not to say it is flawless. The daemon might still crash/die occasionally, in which case some of the buttons might not do what you programmed them to do. This applies only to the “special” buttons, not the normal left and right click, scroll wheel or the numbers and letters on the keyboard.

In all cases, the daemon has recovered on it’s own after a few minutes for me, but you might need to restart the computer. Your mileage may vary, so to say. We can only hope that this issue will be fixed in the future, but knowing Logitech, it might not.

So what is my recommendation?
Personally, I love both the keyboard and the mouse. For me, it’s the best I’ve had. And I’ve had my fair share of Apple Keyboards (dating back to the good ol beige ones), the mentioned Macally Icekey, and a bunch of mice from both Apple and Logitech.
The hardware is top notch, no doubt about it. It’s just a shame the software is so horrible. Logitech HAS done some good improvements over the last few months though, adding a ton of configuration options. The only things still missing, or rather not missing, are the bugs.

If you can live with the crashing daemon, or are crazy enough to hope for a fix, I can absolutely recommend this set. And if you need your software to be 100% – well, I don’t know if there are that many other options out there for you, except for Apple’s.

Bugs-Bunny

Verdict:
I give the Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 one carrot (and a bunny – isn’t he cute?).

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3 Responses to “logitech desktop review”  

  1. 1 Morghus

    “Keyboard: low-profile keys, like a laptop.” – *drool*
    I want a low-profile keyboard, like a laptop.

    And all bunnies must be shot, for they are inherently evil.

  2. 2 Andreas

    You can get the same setup as mine, only for Windows. It’s called the Logitech Desktop S 510. An alternative would be the diNovo Cordless Desktop. You won’t get the white color, but still. They’re not too expensive either. And really, once you get used to the laptop keys, I don’t think you’ll ever want to go back 🙂

  3. 3 Morghus

    I did get used to it once. Which is why I long for it’s return. The ease of pushing them down, the delightful sounds in response, and the ease on my hands. Pure, utter, bliss. Yes, that’s geeky as hell, but true! 😉


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