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Thrash Those Messy Wires

Wires are almost ancient technology, and choosing wireless peripherals is a great way to have an organized desk, and interface with your machine in a more comfortable, flexible manner

When shopping for a wireless keyboard and mouse remember that while combos are available and convenient, people might have specific requirements – for example, a gamer might want a high-DPI laser mouse and a regular keyboard. Or an HTPC user might want a high-end keyboard with a lot of multimedia functions along with a simple, no frills mouse. The ultimate combo would be the combination of the best mouse and keyboard, but such setups can exceed 10,000 bucks. For example, I came across this beautiful Logitech Cordless Desktop MX5500. Priced at Rs. 10,800, it consists of the Logitech MX keyboard and the MX Revolution mouse. This is the ultimate combo as the keyboard is really well laid out. It even has a small LCD and has a lot of shortcut keys. The dealer who had this initially tried to divert me to some of the cheaper offerings in his shop evidently hoping to make a sale. Upon seeing my interest he relented. “Most of the dealers in Lamington Road will not even stock such an expensive combo” he said. I had to agree and the products do look fabulously well built, but 10 grand for something I’d use for typing and an HTPC remote – you’ve got to be kidding me!

The Logitech Wireless Desktop MK250 is one of the cheapest Logitech combos available, at Rs. 1,400 and is a good choice for someone looking at a quality product. For someone looking at a quality notebook mouse I recommend the Logitech VX 450 Nano, that features a really tiny receiver that you can leave plugged in to your notebook or netbook without fear of anything getting damaged while travelling. Generally wireless devices are associated with lag, which makes them forbidden for gamers. While current generation wireless mice are pretty accurate and fast, the best wireless mouse will never be as accurate as a good wired USB mouse. Therefore gamers will want wired stuff. People often ask me if there is any difference between buying wireless peripherals from small, less known brands as opposed to Logitech and Microsoft. The answer goes thus – larger companies simply spend more on research and this leads to better, more ergonomic, more durable and comfortable products. It also makes a difference in performance, battery life and range for wireless peripherals. Bluetooth is emerging as a technology for wireless connectivity and the major advantage is one saves a USB port. This makes a huge difference on a notebook, where USB ports are a premium. Bluetooth also allows pairing with multiple devices, so one mouse can be used on multiple systems, as long as the PC in question supports Bluetooth, which can be added by adding a simple 350 buck dongle. Sadly Bluetooth offerings are not as wide in terms of choice as the dongle-based wireless devices.

Logitech has a neat technology they call “Unified Receiver” which basically covers an umbrella of devices that can be used with one wireless receiver, meaning if you buy a mouse and keyboard separately from Logitech and both support the unified receiver, they can be used together, with a single receiver, thereby freeing up a USB port. I also came across one Microsoft product, the Wireless Optical Desktop 700, priced at Rs. 2,000. The next shop had a Logitech Wireless Keyboard K350, priced at Rs. 2,600 – I really liked the design and the multimedia keys. The keypad also seemed to be well laid out and I liked the feedback on the keys, this is very important for someone who is going to be doing a lot of typing – like me. He assured me that a set of two AA batteries would last me for more than a year and this one supported the unified receiver as well. Then I asked him to show me a mouse to go with this. He asked me if I would be interested in the MX Revolution. It’s surely a great mouse, but for 5000 bucks, I could get a new hard drive, so I told him I wasn’t interested. Then he showed me the M305 priced at Rs. 1,100. A plain mouse, with a good 1000 dpi sensor, the M305 has a tilt scroll wheel — very important for people like me who use a lot of MS Excel. I tried hassling a good deal, but to no avail. I asked for something cheaper and was shown the MS Optical Desktop 1000 for 1,950 bucks - a good option except that I didn’t like either the keyboard or mouse as much. Finally, sensing my reluctance, he offered to give me a discount if I purchased both the Logitech keyboard and mouse – I had not told him I was interested in a combo, but had mentioned interest in wireless keyboards and then gone on to browse mice. Feigning reluctance I hesitated, while my mind wildly calculated. I told him that I would be interested in both if he could give them to me for 3,000 bucks. We haggled and I finally got him down to 3,300 - a good 400 rupees less than the cost. Finally I found a solution