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For $99.99, the Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 Laser for Mac provides a comfortable alternative to Apple's stock keyboard and Mac apps and control media playback. While we wish the set used Bluetooth to connect to the computer instead of taking over a valuable USB port, we like the Mac-friendly functionality, the high degree of customization, and the sweet silver-and-white color scheme.
The set provides basic keyboard and mouse functionality right out of the box: just load the included batteries (the mouse takes two AA batteries, while the keyboard takes two AAA), plug in the USB receiver, and start working. (We didn't even need the help of the OS X keyboard-installation wizard that automatically launched as soon as we plugged in the receiver.) However, to take advantage of the application-launch buttons, the scroll keys, and the music controls, you need to install the included Logitech Control Center software.
To keep you from holding your wrists at an awkward (and damaging) angle, the S 530's keyboard sits low and flat on the desk. Though a bit stiff, its keys are more concave than those on most keyboards, making for very comfortable typing. Slim panels on either side of the keyboard hold five buttons preprogrammed to launch popular Mac applications, such as iTunes, iPhoto, and Spotlight; the panels also hold music-playback controls, scroll keys, and a browser Back button. If you choose, you can use the Control Center software to reprogram the buttons to launch a different application; to open a folder, a document, or a Web page; or to perform another action.
The accompanying laser mouse has a dramatically curved design that fits comfortably in your right hand (left-handed mousers are out of luck). In addition to the expected right- and left-click buttons and the four-way scrollwheel, the mouse features slender volume-control buttons beside your index finger and up and down scroll buttons beneath your thumb. As with the keyboard, users can reprogram every control on the mouse.
The Logitech S 530's keyboard and mouse both performed well in our tests--we didn't experience any glitches in cursor tracking, and all our keystrokes consistently registered. The media buttons and the quick keys were responsive, and the software made them a breeze to program. The only faults we found with the set were design based: the programmable buttons are on the small side and positioned close together, so it's easy to hit multiple buttons.
Should you run into trouble, the Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 Laser for Mac is covered by a five-year limited warranty, which is exceptional, considering that the industry standard for input devices is one year. The company's support Web site includes user forums and an extensive troubleshooting database. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.