Logitech Revolution MX5500 Suite

2010-08-04 17:54:10

Logitech Revolution MX 5500 series(PC Accessory)

logitech mx suite

When it comes to quality general purpose PC accessories, one doesn't have to look far to find a plethora of products that bear a single moniker, Logitech. Logitech has made a name for itself in almost every external component of PC usage: Keyboards, Mice, Microphones, Headsets, Speakers, Webcams, the list goes on and on. Today the Geek wants to share with you, my personal experience with what could be the greatest Logitech Product(and most expensive) I have gotten to use on a day to day basis. The Logitech Revolution MX 5500 wireless desktop.

I know what you're all saying, gamers the world over have bitched and moaned about wireless devices since the advent of such technology, blaming all their shitty low frag counts and constant deaths on poor response time. That magic word "Latency" or more colloquilly known as "Lag". It's not your fault you died 50 times and only killed 25 people, it was all the shit latency that x product you are using caused. It's an enormous copout and I'll let you know right now I'm not going to listen to any of that bullshit. My personal findings with wireless has been that my quality of gameplay is not or is very barely diminished(like maybe 1 kill/death difference) so all those people bitching about wireless devices must be really splitting the hair when it comes to survivability in their gameplay, and need to become more aware of their surroundings rather than blame .01ms of latency that wireless might bring to their gameplay. for connectivity of all my gaming devices I use a wireless router, and before I got my new router, I was using a shitty WRT54G rev8 Linksys, during that time I played CoD4 innumerable amounts of times, and generally ranked top score on the team, and my team often would be the winning team. 3:1 kill ratios were common for me even closer to 7:1 ratios when sniping. Bear in mind I was also playing using a wireless 360 controller as my input method, so not only was I "suffering" from wireless latency to my network, but also from my input device to the console. The chest thumping Wired Supremacists can go sit in the corner now, shamed by the Geek's e-penis.

Okay, now that they are gone, let's talk about this awesome device set. I primarily purchased this set for 2 reasons: 1. I am in the process of building a Home Theatre PC/Gaming PC to use on my 42" 1080p Phillips TV, since I'll be using my PC on such a huge screen I wanted to be able to control the thing from a distance, and it had to be able to perform 100% reliably no hiccups or drop outs. 2. I wanted it to be the last keyboard/mouse combo I'd ever need, as it was going to be paired up with the best of the best equipment, which while the interior components may need occassional upgrades, the look/feel of the PC should remain the same. So after research on the topic, I picked up the Revolution series at the local Best Buy.

The set uses Bluetooth 2.0 technology, allowing it to work in a range of 30' unimpeded. according to some reports the 5000 series wireless desktop solution was a dodgy piece of shit, but I can say after 110,000 keystrokes that I have not once had a loss of pairing between my devices. Also the headache that is bluetooth is eliminated by Logitechs unique Bluetooth system. The kit comes with a Bluetooth Dongle so you can use it with PC's not equipped with onboard dongles. This is good since my Toshiba Laptop does not have onboard Bluetooth(why it does not makes no sense since Toshiba is a major Bluetooth Chipset supplier!) When I first got the kit I expected to have to install some complex bluetooth stack on my PC and then go through the tedious bluetooth pairing process(run wizard, set device to discovery, enter pin, name device, complete pairing) Instead the Logitech devices automatically worked once the Bluetooth Dongle was discovered by Windows Vista. Obviously I am using the MS stack to drive the Bluetooth, but that's okay as it works instantly and requires no further setup. I did however install the Logitech driver disc as there are some important improvements that the drivers of this desktop suite provide. Such as various gaming compatibility and control over the hyperscroll.

Logitech Mouse

That brings us to the next piece of the puzzle, the Revolution Mouse. Just looking at the picture you'd imagine this mouse to be so advanced it would be unwieldly to use. the shape is definitely very different than most brickish looking mice on the market today, including Logitechs own G7 Lazer Gaming Mouse. This design presents the most ergonomic design possible for right hand mousers. Sadly left handers are in the dark when it comes to the 5500 series. This mouse is for serious right hand users only. The side scroll wheel is not really a wheel so much as a tension switch, that rolls forward 1/8th of a turn, and back the same. This movement triggers Vista's 3d Flip app switching controls, allowing you to quickly flick between your applications effortlessly and without taking your hand off the mouse. The back and forward buttons are in a logical location and are easy to touch and differentiate without looking at the mouse. the rightmost 2 fingers are supported by slight indents in the right side of the mouse, providing comfortable positioning for long haul mousing. the quick search button, which to be honest is a throw in button and not hightly used by me personally, is hard but not impossible to click, positioned right behind the scroll wheel.

The scroll wheel is something to note, as the first time I gripped the mouse I was amazed at the cold feel of having a metal scroll wheel. The metal scroll wheel adds significant weight to the device, but that is no hinderance to gaming as it is about as heavy as your average mouse, meaning they trimmed some fat in other places to make way for this heavy bastard. At first usage, it appears to be a standard 4 direction scroll wheel, with the ability to lean left and right as well as scroll forward in back, providing the much appreciated notchy feedback we are all familiar with when it comes to scroll wheels. The difference comes into play the second you open a 100 page document and give the scroll wheel a forceful pull back, like you are demanding super speed from the wheel. Unlike a conventional mouse, this mouse responds to that forceful pull on the wheel, by disengaging the electronic clutch from the scroll wheel, and allowing it to freespin for a max time of 7 seconds. During this time the mouse whirrs with horsepower, while your document scrolls at amazing speeds. a simple tap of the mouse wheel stops is momentum, and the scrolling, parking you the instant you tell it to stop. Making long winded documents a snap to speed through(it might even work on some of my reviews!) The mouse has an internal battery that you cannot remove and a charging base, the average lifespan of the mouse in between charges is 14 consecutive days. of use. Not too shabby for a mouse that doesn't weigh a ton. The mouse also features a laser accurate input reader that is 800 dpi, making it a competitive mouse for gaming use, though not as surgically intense as a G7 at it's 1600 dpi max threshold.

The keyboard is a thing of beauty as well in this kit. a full size 104+ key keyboard that is completely tailored for Vista users. Left hand controls for Media(volume, play, fast forward, etc.) and 3d flip and zoom(for zooming in on documents). Though I tend to use the mouse for my 3d flip is is nice to have a seperate key for it if you are doing a lot of 2 hand typing. bottom right below the 10-key is buttons for Media Center, Photo Gallery, and Gadgets. Making this a perfect fit for my HTPC, as I can access the Media Center quickly with the single press of a button. there is an orange Fn key on the keyboard, triggering the F key's into application launch keys for common office applications, web applications, and a set of programmable function buttons. Unfortunately the function buttons aren't entirely configurable, as there are some limitations. I personally wanted to set them to my 3 Favorite PC games and 1 for Dreamweaver(which I use to edit this site!) but it wouldn't take. I haven't fully researched the details, but needless to say there is a 3rd party hack for the setpoint software to open this customizability up further. Also on the F-Key row is a calculator button, which doesn't launch the windows calculator. No, it changed the LCD panel on the keyboard into the output for a built in calculator. This can be handy for excel users or other accountants type people who might want to stay in their application of choice while doing some calculations, and would rather not take their hands off the keyboard. The great thing about this is once you have performed your math operations, whatever result is displayed on the LCD is automatically entered into the clipboard, for quick and simple plasting with a Ctrl-V. The keys are very responsive, and soft to the touch, making barely a sound, while also providing solid tactile feedback like you'd expect from much more noisy keyboards. The keys are very well constructed as I found out when one of my kids got some junk down in between the keys. I pried the keys up to find that they have very long shafts that go deep inside the keyboard, while the keybase has a cylindrical raised mouth for accepting the shaft. this keeps annoying detritus out of the keyboard innards, keeping the keyboard going strong without interference. The keys weren't impossible nor did they easily come off the keyboard, some force is needed, but not earth shattering.

The keyboards internal LCD display has 2 graphic modes, black on white or white on black, with white on black most likely taking a battery hit, but good for contrast. It displays the date and time by default, but using the 2 keys to cycle the display you can also display whatever music is presently playing on your media player, the current temperature according to an internal thermometer, a listing of the configurable favorites keys and what they do, a key counter which tracks how many keystrokes have been entered on the last set of batteries, and the number of emails in your email applications inbox. Quite a lot of detail available to the average user, and useful to a wide range of userbases. The businessman can use it to track emails and how many keys they've typed so they know when a good time to take a break is, while the home user can see what track is playing in their media player at a glance while they surf my website and avoid shitty games.

But enough showering the system with praise. Now I'll go ahead and point out the shortcomings. the F-keys on this keyboard are too small, they are chiclet sized keys that while are frequently unused keys, could be useful if you are a gamer and need to slap quickload/quicksave a lot. Some people complain about the insert key being on the f-key row instead of in it's usual home in the cluster. I'll be honest though and say that in practice I NEVER use the insert key for anything, so unless someone suddenly makes using insert a valuable key, I won't complain. There is no power switch on the keyboard. The mouse has a power switch to conserve batteries, but for some reason this was neglected on the keyboard, the device which you have to actually replace the batteries for. Granted that I've had the keyboard since Halloween this year and so far I have 153 days of usage left on my batteries doesn't mean that I couldn't have 300 days if you'd let me power the unit down. Now for the Ratings

Reason Rank
Start 10
Function Keys are too small -7
Insert Key placement might enrage neckbeards -1
Useless information like Temperature on LCD -1
No Keyboard Off Button -3
Keyboard is well built and responsive +5
Mouse fits like a glove to right handers. +6


I give this keyboard a 9/10, a keyboard that has some flaws, but makes up for those flaws with a solid design, ease and comfort of use, and just enough gadgetry to make a Geek happy to sit for hours using it. Best keyboard I have ever used, and if you can pony up the $150 US for it then by all means spend, you won't be disappointed.