capsule review

Review: diNovo Edge Mac Edition keyboard

At a Glance
  • Logitech diNovo Edge Mac Edition

    Macworld Rating

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Made for Mac

In addition to the standard keys, the diNovo Edge includes a slew of special buttons and features, most Mac-focused. Along the left-hand edge are a true Mac power button; Play/Pause, Back, and Forward buttons for iTunes, QuickTime Player, and DVD Player; and the aforementioned mouse button. The playback buttons work even if your media player isn’t the active program; so, for example, you can control iTunes playback while browsing the Web. Whenever you press one of these playback buttons, a matching symbol lights up next to it to confirm the press. Unlike most of the keys on the keyboard, these are slightly recessed so you don’t hit them accidentally. (One minor complaint is that the playback buttons are oddly arranged, with Play/Pause on top, Back below it, and Forward at the bottom. I would have preferred Back, Play/Pause, Forward—the order in which they appear on nearly every software media player and hardware audio component.)

Along the right-hand edge, above the touchpad, is a nifty touch-sensitive strip for controlling volume. Slide your finger up the strip to raise the volume; slide down the strip to lower the volume. As you move your finger up or down, amber-colored lights follow it to confirm the action. Just below the volume strip is a Mute button; just above the strip is a dedicated Front Row button. Both also provide backlit indicators.

Key control
Logitech's software lets you customize the diNovo Edge's special keys.

Among my favorite features is the Caps Lock key—or, to be more accurate, the Caps Lock indicators. Whenever Caps Lock is engaged, an audible beep sounds; a lower-pitched version sounds when Caps Lock is disabled. You can also configure the Logitech software to display a Caps Lock indicator in the menu bar and/or as an onscreen display that fades in and out. No more accidentally typing in all caps because you didn’t realize you’d pressed Caps Lock.

Finally, like Apple’s recent keyboards, the Edge’s F-keys—more of them, in fact, than on Apple’s keyboards—serve double duty. With Logitech’s driver software installed, F1 through F12 adjust screen brightness down or up; invoke Expose; activate Dashboard; launch Mail, Safari, iTunes, or iPhoto; activate QuickLook; enter Spaces; switch to Cover Flow (in the Finder); and activate Spotlight, respectively. As with Apple’s keyboards, you can choose whether or not these actions require the use of the Fn key, located at the end of the F-key row.

These button features are useful, but the Logitech software also lets you customize the actions of each F-key, as well as the Power and Front Row buttons. Each can be configured as a keystroke, a modifier key, or any of the special functions listed above. Other options include launching an application; opening a document, folder, or URL; taking a screenshot; switching applications; or zooming the screen. You can even configure the keyboard’s special keys and buttons based on application—so, for example, a key can do one thing in Photoshop and another in the Finder.

Although Logitech’s driver software has had its share of detractors in the past, during more than a month of use with a Mac Pro and a MacBook Air, each running OS X 10.5.4 and then 10.5.5, I didn’t have a single conflict or problem.

Charge up the wireless

Charge it
The diNovo Edge's charging dock requires some space.

The diNovo Edge connects to your Mac wirelessly using Bluetooth. Setup was simple and problem-free, and unlike some other Bluetooth peripherals I’ve tested, Logitech’s keyboard never lost its connection, even when the computer was asleep or shut down. A physical power switch lets you extend battery life by turning the keyboard off when not in use; again, after I turned the keyboard back on, the computer immediately recognized it.

The Edge includes a built-in lithium-ion battery that, according to Logitech, provides a month’s worth of power from a two-hour charge. If you forget to charge the keyboard and it runs out of power, a quick five-minute charge will get you through the day. The Logitech software shows the current battery level and the estimated time remaining on the current charge; a battery-icon indicator on the keyboard itself lights up when the battery charge is getting low.

You charge the diNovo Edge using the included charging dock. The only drawback is that the dock is designed such that the keyboard sits upright while charging. This means you can’t charge the keyboard in its normal position (flat) on your desk; you need a separate location that can accommodate the length and height of the keyboard.

Macworld’s buying advice

Logitech’s diNovo Edge Mac Edition is a standout keyboard thanks to its great key feel, very good layout, useful special features, and attractive design. Its biggest physical drawback—the lack of a numeric keypad—won’t affect everyone, and, in fact, offers ergonomic benefits for right-handers. Although it’s pricey, if you spend many hours at a keyboard each day, I highly recommend taking the Edge—and its scrolling touchpad—for a spin. You just may find yourself willing to splurge.

Dan Frakes is a Macworld senior editor.

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Built-in touchpad with mouse buttons can be used for cursor control or scrolling
    • Attractive appearance
    • Bluetooth wireless
    • Rechargeable battery
    • Thin
    • Lots of Mac-specific and programmable buttons and keys
    • Great key feel

    Cons

    • No numeric keypad
    • Charging dock requires additional space
    • Touchpad cursor control limited
    • Expensive
    • Glossy surface shows smudges and fingerprints
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