Logitech's basic Cordless Desktop S520 is one of its least expensive wireless mouse and keyboard sets. And even though the low-profile keyboard and basic laser mouse come with few frills, we're glad to see Logitech apply the thoughtful design philosophies of its high-end products to the less-expensive members of its product line. There's nothing quite revolutionary about this package, and for $60 you might not expect there to be. But for the little touches of convenience, on the keyboard especially, the Cordless Desktop S520 earns our recommendation in this price range.
For the most part, this mouse and keyboard set is utterly boring. The two-buttons-and-a-scroll-wheel laser mouse, for example, gives us little to discuss. You get no thumb-side button, accelerated scrolling, or DPI selection buttons, but then we don't expect those things from a mouse in a $60 desktop set. It works as it should via the standard RF wireless connection, and if all you want is a basic mouse, you'll find little to complain about.
And at first glance the keyboard seems similarly dull. It's maybe even a little ugly, given the massive gray wrist rest jutting out from the bottom. We do like the keyboard's flat profile, and although it is wireless, we can't really see why Logitech markets it as being "the perfect companion to your flat screen." Assuming Logitech means your flat screen television, we beg to disagree. At 17.25 inches long and 8 inches deep, the S520 keyboard is one of the larger models on the market, which doesn't recommend it for the living room.
If it's not ideal for your coffee table, we do like it as a desktop keyboard. Unlike most keyboards where media control and other keys sit above the function keys, on the S520 keyboard Logitech integrates extra play, volume, and zooming buttons into the trim below the space bar. We often find that keyboard designers put hot keys in inaccessible places, discouraging you from using them. But with the extra keys right upfront on the S520, we found them much easier to use.
The one exception is the extra hot key that opens Windows' Calculator. The Calculator key isn't unique to Logitech (Microsoft's Wireless Media Desktop 1000 has one, too), but regardless of who had the idea first, we think it makes lots of sense. We also find it logical that both Logitech and Microsoft put it next to the number pad. It just feels right in that spot.
Otherwise, there's not much else to say about the Logitech Cordless Desktop S520. The USB receiver is a bit bigger than a standard USB dongle, but not overly obtrusive. And as usual with Logitech input devices, you don't need to install the SetPoint software to use the mouse and keyboard, but you get a few more settings options if you do. Both the mouse and keyboard require two AA batteries, which are included.