Cordless desktop sets have become standard equipment in most home and business environments, and only the most hardcore users still require the bandwidth and absolute precision offered by a wired keyboard and mouse. For the rest of the population, a wireless configuration works just fine, and lends some serious benefits in terms of portability and user-friendliness.
Inside the cordless world, there are two main factions, with one using standard Wireless-RF, while the other advocates Bluetooth. The Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution sits in the latter camp, with Bluetooth offering a standardized and highly portable format, and the option to use the keyboard and mouse with a wide variety of BT-enabled devices.
The Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution is comprised of a Cordless MX 5500 Keyboard and a Bluetooth MX Revolution Laser Mouse. Neither of these is offered as a separate retail product, although they do share quite a bit with prior Logitech products. The mouse is the most obvious, as it shares a lot with the MX Revolution Laser Mouse, but uses Bluetooth, rather than wireless-RF, connectivity, and has a few design enhancements.
The Logitech MX 5500 Cordless Keyboard is very similar in design to the Logitech MX 3200 Cordless Keyboard (offered in the Cordless Desktop MX 3200 Laser combo), but with some design changes. The overall look and feel of the MX 5500 Cordless Keyboard is also very similar to that of the Alto Cordless, and Logitech seems to have moved to a standardized keyboard format for their newer wireless products.
The overall design of the MX 5500 Cordless Keyboard is like a highly-stylized revision of the popular MX 5000 Laser combo, which in itself was based on the MX 3100 set. The top of the MX 5500 keyboard is higher, the LCD is larger and the palm rest is longer, and it will take up a bit more room on the desktop. While the keyboard width is standard (approximately 19"), its depth is a bit longer (approximately 9.5" vs. 8.5" on a MX 5000), and the unit is noticeably taller than a standard keyboard.
The dynamic display on the keyboard is a very prominent feature, and by default, the LCD shows the date and time, but can be customized to other features like temperature, media info, and keystroke counter, which can be cycled through using the left/right buttons, and also notifies you of a lost BT connection. This is what gives the MX 5500 Cordless Keyboard its added height, but the angle of the LCD also makes it easier to read. The plastic palm rest at the bottom sports a faux-rubber feel, and is very comfortable to use. On the other hand, it is larger than most other Logitech keyboards and is not removable. The bottom of the keyboard has two retractable keyboard feet, a Connect button, and the battery compartment (4 x AA - included).
The basic key arrangement is the standard QWERTY design, and the F-keys are arranged at the top, in the now-standard mini-Logitech format. The number pad is only a number pad, with no NumLock key or secondary functions. A FN key at the bottom-right enables secondary F-key functions, as well as four user-customizable buttons. On the far right, there are Calculator and Sleep buttons, while the Multimedia keys have been moved to the left side of the unit.
This can take some getting used to, but is actually a welcome change, as these Play/Next/Previous and Volume keys are far more accessible, than when positioned at the top of the keyboard. Next to the multimedia keys is a Zoom (+/-) button and a Flip3D button for document navigation, while a trio of Media Center, Photo Gallery and Gadgets buttons sit on the bottom-right.
From the outside, the Logitech Bluetooth MX Revolution Laser Mouse looks exactly the same as the MX Revolution, starting with the same molded grip with thumb support design, and the standard upper two button + scroll wheel format. The Bluetooth version sports the same two right-mounted thumb buttons, along with a top-mounted Search button and thumb switch. Our first indication that anything was different was in the weight, as the Bluetooth MX Revolution is a bit lighter than its Wireless-RF counterpart.
The alloy MicroGear Precision mouse wheel offers 4-way scrolling, and can be alternated between Free Spin and Click-to-Click modes by pressing down on the wheel. The mouse runs on an internal, rechargeable li-ion battery and compared to the standard MX Revolution, the battery power indicator is slightly larger with a different battery graphic. It still works the same way, with incremental LEDs and green/red colors, but is a bit more visible.
The bottom of the Bluetooth MX Revolution Laser Mouse shows us four Teflon mouse pads, three on the bottom and a large one at the top, as well as an on/off switch, Performance Laser Eye, and a Connect button. Here, the only difference between the Bluetooth and standard MX Revolution mice is the Connect button, which is not present on the RF-Wireless model. The USB Bluetooth receiver is a small unit, about the size of a flash drive, and is clearly and properly labeled as belonging to the MX 5500 Revolution. It can also be used as a BT hub if needed.
The Logitech retail bundle for the Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution includes a MX 5500 Cordless Keyboard, a Bluetooth MX Revolution Laser Mouse, the USB Bluetooth mini-receiver, a quick charge base, 4 AA alkaline batteries, a driver CD, and Quick-Start Guide.