Mouse: Logitech MX Revolution Laser Cordless or G9 Laser Mouse
Consecutive Guides: 5
Price Change: +$4
Although it has a limited effect on the actual budget, the mouse and keyboard hardware have the potential to make or break an otherwise killer gaming system. This represents the primary user interface (mouse, keyboard, and other controllers), and should always be as transparent as possible and not be a hindrance to performing desktop or gaming tasks. Logitech has us covered again this month, and we're sticking with the Logitech MX Revolution Laser Cordless Mouse.
The Logitech MX Revolution Laser Cordless Mouse is a wireless controller that makes some noted improvements on the G7 Laser design. Logitech bills this as the "World's Most Advanced Mouse", and there is some definite truth in that statement. The aesthetics are almost a complete departure for a Logitech mouse, and the MX Revolution features a heavily-contoured design that molds right around the hand. It features an innovative SmartShift scroll wheel and document quick-flip thumb knob, both of which can be very useful in both gaming and office work. The battery design has also changed with from the G7 Laser, and the MX Revolution goes back to a sealed internal li-ion battery with a 4-stage power meter and recharge base.
The wireless vs. wired debate is a storied one, but we feel it's a more important distinction for the keyboard than the mouse. But for those who prefer a standard wired model, the Logitech G9 Laser Mouse offers a combination of high-end features with precise control. It provides a 3200 dpi laser engine, interchangeable grips, a weight tuning system, adjustable sensitivity, and a MicroGear scroll wheel. This is a serious gaming mouse, and possibly the best wired controller Logitech has ever produced.
Also, make sure you have a proper mousing surface with an optical/laser mouse. Although the sensor improves tracking and the laser engines makes it more seamless, you will still have the best luck on darker non-solid color surfaces, especially checkered or rough patterns, and specialized mouse pads from fUnc, Ratpadz, or Everglide are still a good bet.
Keyboard: Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard
Consecutive Guides: 6
Price Change: -$10
The Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard is a departure from conventional designs, but manages to retain the look and feel of a standard unit, while adding a ton of new features to the mix. The GamePanel LCD display is the most visible change, and it allows for adjustable tilt and is backlit for easy viewing. Depending on the software loaded, this can display the time, multimedia settings, and even information about your processor or system. There is also GamePanel support for displaying stats or settings in certain games, like Prey, UT 2004, WoW and others.
In terms of layout and features, the Logitech G15 offers a few extras as well. It includes multimedia keys underneath the LCD panel, and a set of 18 programmable G keys that allow users to assign keystrokes or even macros. This keyboard can be a real geek-fest if you so choose, but one of its coolest feature is rather pedestrian by comparison. The G15 features backlit keys, and it has been so long since we've seen that feature on a high-end keyboard, that it was real awakening. Gaming with the lights turned low and the volume cranked allowed the keyboard to really stand out, and definitely increased the immersion level.
We realize that not everyone will need the features of the Logitech G15, and a great alternative is the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. This is a very stylish unit, with its black keys and hand rests accented by grey outer shell. It is also very functional, and offers an excellent combination of performance and durability. Microsoft has also gone back to the black enamel keys with this model, which is a welcome change from the see-through jobbies on other MS keyboards. Overall, this is a great keyboard from Microsoft, and at $35-$45, is less expensive than the G15.