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Manufacturer: Logitech
Min OS X: Any Version    Requires: USB Port

Cordless Navigator Duo
March 26, 2003 | Galen Wiley

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Apple's Pro Keyboard and Pro Mouse come free with every new desktop Mac, but are they really the right products for you? Have you ever wished that your mouse had more than one button, or that your keyboard could check your email with the simple press of a button? For those select few, the days of one button mice and over-simplistic keyboards are over, with the Cordless Navigator Duo ($79.99 USD) from Logitech: a complete keyboard and mouse replacement, made for the Mac user who will settle for nothing less than absolute control over his or her investment. Did I also mention its completely cordless?

Feature Packed
Logitech is renowned for making mice and keyboards that do more than what is acceptable, and the Duo is no exception. After all, one of the main reasons one would even think of parting with his or her Pro Keyboard and Mouse are what makes the competition better than the rest.

Those looking for a 16 button mouse with quad optical sensors and built-in blender may be disappointed to find that the iFeel mouse, while perfectly acceptable, boasts nothing other than two buttons and scroll wheel; the really cool stuff lies in the keyboard.

Aside from your standard array of keys that no keyboard should do without (the letter keys, numpad, function keys, etc.), the Duo has several additional keys that make interacting with your computer a whole lot easier. Users can access their email, instant messenger, and webcam, as well as have easy one key access to their documents folder. The software (explained later), even incorporates AppleScript, allowing the user to set keys to even perform mundane tasks, such as forwarding a message or printing a document. I found the additional keys to be a great addition to an already superb keyboard, cutting off wasted time spent navigating through folders and menus.

The last main feature is the Media Center. Currently only working with iTunes 3, the media center acts like a remote that controls various functions in iTunes: system volume, playing, stopping, and skipping tracks, etc. While the Media Center is very intriguing in its own right, it left much to be desired. Putting aside the lack of support for other applications, there is a tremendous delay in the time it takes you to press a button to the time iTunes actually does something. I found it much more efficient to simply go into iTunes and do things from there, rather than wait the 5-10 seconds it takes the keyboard to register that you've hit the play button.

One last thing that sort of bugged me; like most third party keyboards, the Duo's does not have the extra two USB ports that Pro Keyboards users value. Those with lots of other USB-powered peripherals may need to also be prepared to shell out some cash for a USB hub. I did. Fortunately, the mouse and keyboard only take up one slot, and since most Macs nowadays have at least two, getting an extra hub is not a requirement.

The Feel
The Duo's mouse and keyboard are incredibly easy to handle; the mouse fits perfectly around my hand, and the keyboard provides nice little indents in the keys to make typing all the less painful. For those desiring even more comfort, included in the box is a detachable wrist rest for the keyboard. Although it makes the keyboard about 50 percent longer, it served its purpose well, and was a piece of cake to put on and take off. No one should have to worry about their own comfort when using the Navigator Duo.

The Power of Cordless
Not everyone needs a cordless mouse, let alone a cordless keyboard, but who can honestly say that they wouldn't want one if one just so happened to fall from the sky? After all, one huge bonus about the Navigator Duo is its completely cordless design. Gone are the wasted minutes spent untangling bothersome wires and the expressions of disappointment when you find out the wires don't reach the back of your computer. For once, users can sit back, relax, and do what they should be doing - using their computers.

While the problems I encountered with the Navigator Duo rendered them useless, they were more than just minor inconveniences to which I could simply turn the other cheek. With any cordless device, one area of concern is accuracy, or in the Duo's Keyboard's case, lackthereof. Most of the time, the keyboard functioned perfectly, but there were rare cases when hell froze over, and I became unable to type/do anything. The problem was fixed with a few adjustments - repositioning the keyboard and/or receiver - but while typing an important message to your boss, or playing a tied game of Last Man Standing in Unreal Tournament, such behavior in unacceptable. I found the problem so severe once that I had to re-calibrate everything, which still resulted in some interference.

In contrast, the mouse performed quite well. I did not encounter any accuracy errors whatsoever, which is typical of cordless mice. However, the "curse of cordless" still seemed to befoul it, but at a lesser magnitude. Because the mouse runs on battery power (the keyboard as well), it always needs to be on, even when your computer is turned off. This might not seem bad to some, but for those who can't stand driving to the local 7-11 each time one of their peripherals needs new batteries, it can be an inconvenience. The problem is really unfixable, but it would have been nice to have an option to turn the darn thing off while your computer in shut down or asleep.


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