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

Belkin Wireless Keyboard/Ergo Mouse
April 29, 2004 | Galen Wiley

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With so many mice and keyboards out there, one can get lost in decision-making. The Belkin Wireless Keyboard and Ergo Optical Mouse is just one of the countless mice and keyboard packages out there, but could it be the right one for you? Read the review to find out.

One glance at the Wireless Keyboard and Ergo Optical Mouse, and becomes clear that Belkin has put a lot of work into making their product fit with today's "look". Both the mouse and keyboard are bathed in a semi-reflective stainless metal, giving them a very "professional" look. The color of the keyboard's keys resemble a grey similar to those of the keyboards that shipped with early Apple mini-towers, while the mouse's underside is entirely jet-black.

Appearances aside, both devices feature some innovative design. The keyboard comes complete with a built-in wrist-rest, which can be folded in and out from the main body, and two adjustable height stands for those who prefer typing on a steeper surface. Considering all its features, the keyboard is surprisingly compact, great for those without a lot of desk space.

The mouse, hence its name, features the popular ergonomic design of having an "imprint" of sort on its left side, so that the wrist can rest on the mouse, rather than the ground. The design makes the mouse very comfortable, but there is one major flaw: it doesn't work for left-handers. True, its the essence of the design, but its also a turnoff for south-paws everywhere.

Belkin's mouse and keyboard software may not win any awards as far as intuitiveness goes, but it boasts several powerful features that allow a user to totally customize "what does what" on their hardware. Any key or button can be set to perform a variety of actions, be it a simple click or opening an application. Users can also specify mouse tracking and scroll speeds, as well as keyboard layout for international users. You can even check the battery level.

Among other things, the software also adds a small menu item that shows if the caps lock and/or function lock keys are enabled, a useful yet somewhat standard feature as far as third-party devices go. Lastly, users can customize their settings for different applications, allowing specialized tasks such as image editing and gaming to be done much more efficiently.

Keeping up with the competition, Belkin's keyboard boasts quite a few impressive extras. By pressing the function lock button, followed by any of the 12 function keys, users can perform a variety of tasks with literally the press of a button. The default settings allow users to reply to emails, print documents, or even spell check, but due to its customizable software, you can easily change these mappings to fit your needs. The keyboard also comes with shortcuts to your web and e-mail applications, even your desktop (which uses Panther's Exposť). The keyboard can even play your music for you, thanks to its very responsive iTunes integrated media center, complete with car stereo-esque volume nob.


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