It's not news that your mouse and keyboard are among the more disgusting technology objects out there. Come on, you know where your hands have been. Now consider that they went from there to resting on your keyboard everyday, sometimes for hours. Throw in the festering microgloblets of that chicken salad from last night's World of Warcraft session, and it's easy to imagine your keyboard as a bustling micropolis of bacteria and grime. As a developer of mice and keyboards, Logitech is keenly aware of the situation. Its prescription? The Logitech Cordless Desktop MX3200. This sharp-looking, $100 wireless keyboard-and-laser-mouse set comes coated with something called the AgION microbial compound, which is supposed to neutralize organic growth. It also happens to be a pretty nice set of input devices. One hundred dollars might seem like a lot, but we think the combination of Logitech's excellent design and the health-conscious treatment make this set a winner, especially for multiuser PCs.
To find out more about AgION, we suggest checking out the Web site of AgION Technologies. There you'll find various information materials. Short of taking our own cultures (our lab kit's all out of swabs), we're heartened by AgION's seeming wide acceptance by a number of other companies. Adidas, Du Pont, Motorola, and a number of appliance manufacturers, among others, are onboard with AgION's compound. That mass acceptance indicates to us that if the stuff doesn't work, a lot of companies have been taken for a ride. So without really being able to perform tests ourselves, we're choosing to believe that the AgION compound is for real. A family PC or a multiuser workstation would be a natural match for this keyboard set.
As to the quality of the devices, we've used the keyboard and mouse for a week or so now, and we have to say that we're impressed. Installation is easy: You simply attach the USB wireless receiver to your PC, install the software, and you're set. We didn't even have to endure a pairing process to get the keyboard and the mouse to find the receiver and for the PC to recognize them. The included Logitech software lets you make various customizations to button assignments and to the mouse's sensitivity, and it's all very intuitive and easy to use. The keyboard controls even have a feature that lets you secure yourself against keyloggers, which is useful, although it might irritate your IT guy.
The keyboard incorporates Logitech's Zero Tilt design, which means that it sits flat on your desk and doesn't require you to bend your wrists. The keyboard has feet in the back, so you can angle it up if you'd like, but we adjusted quickly to the flat design, and our wrists really do feel less tired after a day in the office. The keys themselves aren't noisy when you press them, and the tactile response feels firm without seeming "clacky."
Along with the standard media-control and application hot keys, Logitech incorporates a few unique features with the MX3200's keyboard. On the left side, you'll find a touch-sensitive zoom bar that lets you move in and out of an image or reduce or enlarge your font size. We found that it works in many common Windows applications, as well as with Firefox. If you spend a lot of time working with images or perhaps formatting word documents for printing, you'll find this feature useful, but many people probably wouldn't bother with it much. Logitech has also added VoIP hot keys for opening your VoIP application of choice, as well as for answering and ending calls. A small LCD screen on the top of the keyboard displays the date and time.
The mouse that comes with this set is a useful laser mouse. It has two main buttons, a tilting scrollwheel for navigating sideways in a document, as well as up and down; forward and backward thumb buttons; and a zooming rocker switch and search engine hot button along the left edge. It also features a battery indicator light, and Logitech throws in six AA batteries to power the whole set.