If the only metric I used to judge a product were performance, I’d give the Logitech diNovo keyboard a stellar review. Despite a finicky initial setup, the keyboard works well, functioning over an impressive wireless range (even in our RF-crowded PCMag Labs). And it’s fairly comfortable to type on, particularly if you prefer a little more resistance than the average keyboard gives you. That said, the DiNovo doesn’t offer much that you can’t already get from the keyboard that comes with your Macdesktop (or is built into your laptop). Yes, if you’re using a MacBook, you’ll appreciate the additional number pad and hot keys, but the cheaper Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mighty Mouse ($79.99) has those, and includes a mouse. (You can find that keyboard alone for $49.99.) And unlike the Apple keyboard, the diNovo doesn’t sync via Bluetooth, meaning you’ll have to clog a USB port with Logitech’s wireless receiver.
The diNovo keyboard is nothing if not attractive. It gives the impression that it was designed to complement the new aluminum MacBook aesthetic. The keys are a luminescent black, the surface around them has a glossy sheen, and the palm rest is silver. The keyboard is more substantial—hefty, even—than it initially appears. I happen to like the chiclet keys on my MacBook, but for users who prefer a bit more resistance, the diNovo’s shallow yet stiff keys will be a welcome change. The wrist rest was plenty spacious and, on the whole, I was happy with the typing experience.
Setting up the keyboard was surprisingly difficult. Though the step-by-step pictorial instructions make it appear easy as pie—Step 1, plug in the receiver; Step 2, turn on the keyboard; Step 3, type away—I found the actual process far more cumbersome. Initially, when I plugged the receiver in and turned the keyboard on, nothing happened. I waited and waited for my MacBook to recognize the device, and still nothing. I tried unplugging and reinserting the receiver, turning the keyboard on and off, and every possible combination thereof, but nothing seemed to work. After a frustrating few minutes, some unknown sequence of plugging and unplugging made it sync, and the MacBook proceeded to identify the keyboard. After that initial difficulty, the laptop synced with the keyboard with absolutely no trouble every time. To see if my setup difficulties were a fluke, I also tried syncing it with a new MacBook Pro. Again, no dice the first try. Through the same baffling process, I was finally able to get the laptop to recognize the device.
The diNovo keyboard offers 19 programmable hot keys. The first 12 mimic those you’ll see on the standard Mac keyboard, except for F5 and F6, which don’t correspond to any function until you assign them one. F13 through F19 launch various views and programs, including Cover Flow, Safari, and Spaces. Though all the function keys have decals to explain what they do, the included software allows you to reassign any key. Just hold any function key down for three seconds or more to access Logitech’s software. There you’ll see a list of keys, with drop-down menus to reassign each.
The wireless range on the keyboard is impressive, similar to what we saw in the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 7000 and more range than you’re likely to ever need for a keyboard. Though my view of the laptop was obscured at 27 feet, everything I typed showed up on the document I had opened, and I was around 31 feet away before I lost the connection. The keyboard comes with two AAA batteries that Logitech says should power it for upward of two years.
Despite the difficult setup, there’s not much negative to say about the Logitech diNovo Keyboard (Mac Edition). Unfortunately, good performance is not enough to set it apart from the less-expensive keyboards out there, let alone the free keyboard you’ll get with your desktop or built into your laptop. Still, it starts off being only $20 more than Apple’s competing wireless keyboard, and if the price goes down, the diNovo may be worth a second look.