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

Logitech Internet Navigator Keyboard
February 12, 2003 | Lucian Fong

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Many Mac users have been content to stick with their dutiful Apple Pro Keyboards; not that there is anything wrong with that. The Pro Keyboard serves its function well, providing the user with a fairly basic and comfortable input device. But as with most things, there are alternatives. Microsoft and Logitech have made a business out of designing and selling full featured keyboards that extend the usefulness of what is normally a straightforward device. While many might label those "multimedia functions" as superfluous, they really do come in handy, and as I eventually discovered, they compliment one's laziness perfectly.

Today's specimen is Logitech's Internet Navigator Keyboard, the most basic model in their line of multi-function keyboards. This $30 keyboard features an ultra-flat Zero Degree Tilt design, integrated scroll wheel, and three groups of buttons designed to increase user productivity. This review is based on an older model of the keyboard, but I will focus on the newer model and the improvements that have been made.

Design Philosophy
Logitech's goal is to make the "desktop experience", that is, the users interaction with the information presented on screen, as seamless as possible. They began to add extra buttons on their keyboards to make navigating the Internet faster and easier. Logitech conducted more research and held focus groups to analyze what users really wanted in their keyboards. They discovered that people wanted more functionality from their keyboards without turning them into a terribly complex device.

Logitech took several steps to address the various problems that might appear when adding more features to their keyboards. The Internet and multimedia access keys have been separated for easy identification and access. The Internet keys themselves have been split into two groups, placing the most often used keys within easy reach. The multimedia keys have been designed to resemble a CD player, to give the user a sense of familiarity.

Function over Form
All the extra buttons and doodads on a keyboard won't matter if the feel of the keys doesn't please me. Thankfully, I was immediately impressed by the feel of the Internet Navigator. The keys are noticeably shorter than Microsoft's Internet Keyboard Pro (IKP) and are easier to depress too. They are softer than the IKP, but not quite as soft as the Apple Pro Keyboard. I also noticed that the Internet Navigator is a lot quieter and less "clickly" than the IKP. My only complaint is the function keys are too small.

The flat design of Logitech's keyboards and optional wrist rest allow your hands to be placed in a more natural position when typing. Usually keyboards are either tilted up or down and force your wrists to bend accordingly. This can cause soreness after typing for an extended period of time. The Internet Navigator exhibited none of these problems.


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