Logitech Cordless Desktop MX3100
The Logitech Cordless Desktop MX3100 is an overachiever in the world of desktop sets. The keyboard features more than 20 function and media-control keys, while the incredibly accurate and comfortable mouse has eight programmable buttons. The set is available for around $125 (as of March 2005), so you'll pay for the convenience of all these buttons, but for media mavens and IM addicts, it's worth it.
The mouse, the keyboard, and the RF receiver (which also serves as a recharging base station for the mouse), require minimal setup: simply plug in the receiver to your computer's USB port--1.0 or 2.0 will work--and sync the devices by pressing the connect buttons. The set works as a plug-and-play device, and the default settings on the shortcut and media keys are useful when using media players and other common programs, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. To customize the buttons and change the settings on the keyboard or mouse, however, you do need to install Logitech's SetPoint software--a software CD is included. The software takes only about five minutes to install and onscreen instructions guide you through setup. Once installed, the SetPoint software lets you program the keys to access your preferred media players and messaging clients. You can also choose to install MusicMatch Jukebox 9.0, a media player, and Logitech's MediaLife software, which helps you manage and view pictures, music, and video.
The standout piece in this set is, which also won CNET's Editors' Choice award. It features a four-way scrollwheel, with buttons for cruising up or down, as well as three buttons above the thumb. All of the buttons are programmable. In tests, the rechargeable battery lasted four days of solid use, and it never lost its signal or jumped, even on a slightly shiny metal surface.