Ahhh, the trackball. Once the darlings of ergonomics-minded computer users, people often assume they’ve gone the way of those weird kneeling chairs from the 1980s. But like many other relics of the era—Eddie Murphy’s career, spandex, and Bon Jovi come to mind—the trackball is still alive. But trackballs have actually gotten better with time. Logitech’s M570 trackball combines the best aspects of the device you already know, with some new technology to make it even easier to use.
We know when the new AppleTV will be making the scene, and that the Boxee Box is now available for pre-order. But what about Google TV? At first we heard that it would be arriving sometime this fall. A while back, that date was narrowed down to October 3--a date no doubt chosen to allow for the device to gain some traction with consumers before the full insanity of the holiday shopping season began.
Logitech has released its G150 dual-platform gaming keyboard, with special features like a GamePanel LCD screen, custom-color keyboard backlights that enable you to color match your keyboard to your Mage's pink ensemble, and integrated USB audio so you can hook up your headset right there at the desk. Additionally, the keyboard also includes programmable keys, two different keyboard modes, instant media access and a multi-key input. And this is all truly wonderful because it is completely compatible with the Mac platform.
Ever since E.T. and Elliott bonded over a cut finger, we’ve understood the power of touch. Decades later, the electronics industry is starting to catch up. The Squeezebox Touch packs one of Logitech’s network music players into a slim, touch-sensitive device. The underlying player is practically the same as previous models--with the many benefits and several drawbacks--but the touch interface easily beats traditional button-based controls. We only wish that the 4.3-inch screen separated from the base--the device is a single unit, so you can’t leave it connected and tap the controller from the couch.
We’ll admit it. We’re still having a hard time typing on the iPad--in particular, serious work in Pages, Bento, or other productivity apps cries out for a hardware keyboard. While we quickly adjusted to thumb-typing on the iPhone, iPad is a horse of a different color. In portrait mode, the keys are a little too spaced out to comfortably type with two fingers--and in landscape, forget it! Meanwhile, our traditional 10-finger typing is hampered by the lack of tactile feedback and having to hover over the virtual keyboard. Luckily, the iPad supports Bluetooth keyboards out of the box, so we rounded up the most interesting options to test as companions to our iPad.
Mouse technology has come a long way since the rollerball mice of the
1980s. Logitech’s Performance Mouse MX drives that point home--it can
be used on practically any surface, and it offers features that our
first Mac mouse could never have dreamed of.
Our entertainment-center remotes are like tribbles; they look warm and
welcoming at first, but we swear they keep multiplying to the point of
overrunning the living room. We spend more time swapping between
clickers than actually pressing buttons… so we’ve replaced them all
with a single, universal device: Logitech’s Harmony 900. And it does
more than just duplicate the original remotes’ controls--it adds new
features. We had one significant setup problem, but after we corrected
the issue, the Harmony 900 excelled.
Great design is often about subtracting unneeded elements. Logitech has
taken the opposite approach, building up the Squeezebox Radio from a
bucket of buttons and features like a child trying to attach every last
Mr. Potatohead part. As we navigated clunky menus and pecked at the
various controls, we were disappointed with many aspects of this music
streamer. But after we got it going, the Squeezebox Radio did a good
job of booming out an unlimited supply of tunes and talk in spite of
At what price convenience? The Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2 is awash
with nifty features that we’d like to see in all iPod/iPhone speaker
docks, but at the end of the day, this just isn’t a sound system that
inspires any pride-of-ownership passion or jaw-dropping awe.