Review Roundup: Keyboards and mice

Keyboards and mice—the full story

The keyboard and mouse roundup that runs in Macworld’s December issue highlights some of the practical, ergonomic, and stylistic issues you’re likely to encounter in deciding which input devices to purchase. Keyboard and mouse sets, products that are sold together, are appealing because they can provide uniform functionality, and, of course, they are designed to go together and often look quite stylish in your office.

Looks may not factor heavily into your calculation, however, and while you may be perfectly satisfied with the keyboard or mouse that shipped with your Mac, one component or other may not meet your needs. If you bought a laptop, then no mouse or keyboard accompanied that purchase, so if you want to use something other than you laptop's built-in keyboard and trackpad, have a look at some of the products we reviewed here.

In the end, keyboards and mice are personal—what feels comfortable for one person, may cause pain for another. Luckily, there is an abundance of input products to choose from, which brings us back to the December roundup.

Check out this page of charts to get all the information we gathered about the keyboards, mice, and keyboard-mouse sets that we reviewed for the December issue. For space reasons, we had to cut much of this information from the print edition, but it's all here side-by-side.

Keyboard-Mouse Sets Compared

Product Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set SlimBlade Media Notebook Set Wireless Laser Desktop 7000
Company Kensington Kensington Microsoft
Rating 4.0 mice 2.5 mice 4.0 mice
Price $80 $130 $130
Key Type Notebook-style keys Notebook-style keys Sturdy desktop keys
Ergonomic Features Foldout feet let you adjust keyboard angle; shallow key travel distance; good key resistance; ambidextrous mouse. Slim mouse design for relaxed hand posture; ambidextrous. Comfort Curve keyboard; curved right-handed mouse.
Special Features 1 USB receiver for both pieces; 10 hot keys. Compact; laptop and travel-friendly; detachable number pad. Customizable buttons on both keyboard and mouse.
Pros Good for travel; good resistance on keys and mouse buttons; ten convenient hot keys; five-foot USB extension cable included;ambidextrous mouse; cross-platform. Attractive; solidly built; detachable numeric keypad helps travelers; ambidextrous mouse; doesn't require drivers; cross-platform. Nice looking;comfortable wrist rest; long range; ergonomic design; easy-to-use software; programmable mouse buttons.
Cons Fussy mouse-docking system; superfluous photo pocket on underside of keyboard; requires drivers. Pricey; no keyboard tilt adjustment; two of five hotkeys are Windows-only; poorly designed case makes using the spacebar painful; included software is not functional. Needs caps lock and F-lock indicator; some aspects of the product don’t feel Mac-like; mouse right-handed only; some users may find mouse uncomfortable to use; requires drivers.
Full Review Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set SlimBlade Media Notebook Set Wireless Laser Desktop 7000

Mice Compared

Product AccuGlide Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 Ci73 Wired Mouse Ci75m Wireless Notebook Mouse
Company Macally Microsoft Kensington Kensington
Rating 2.0 mice 3.0 mice 3.0 mice 4.0 mice
Price $20 $50 $20 $33
Connection USB cable Bluetooth USB cable RF receiver and USB cable
Portable or Desktop Portable Portable Desktop Portable
Ergonomics Tiny, flat, and awkward to use. Despite small size, humpbacked shape aids control. May be too light for some; comfortable rubberized grip. Comfortable rubberized feel to the body.
Ambidextrous Yes No Yes Yes
Special Features Extremely small; drivers required for button customization. Thumb button for right-handed users. Easy-grip rubber edges. Comes with a USB cable for emergencies; 1,000-dpi tracking; comes in four colors.
Pros Slim enough to slip into your pocket; versatile software. Bluetooth wireless connectivity frees up USB port; left-side thumb button can activate Exposé or Dashboard; carrying case included. Inexpensive; accurate 1,000-dpi tracking; five-year warranty. Both wireless and wired operation; USB cable curls up inside easy-to-open body; excellent tracking performance.
Cons Portability defeated by attached USB cable; poor ergonomics; poor fit and finish. Some Windows-only features; no button-customization software; awkwardly positioned thumb button. No button-customization options; tough-to-roll scroll wheel; cable is too long for mobile use; somewhat hard to control. No button-customization options; flimsy cover for dongle’s mini-USB port; cable too short for comfortable right-handed use on left-ported notebooks.
Full Review AccuGlide Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 Ci73 Wired Mouse Ci75m Wireless Notebook Mouse
Product Ci95m Wireless Mouse with Nano Receiver MX 1100 Cordless Laser Mouse Pebble Pebble Wireless
Company Kensington Logitech Macally Macally
Rating 3.5 mice 4.5 mice 3.5 mice 3.5 mice
Price $40 $80 $20 $30
Connection RF receiver RF receiver USB cable RF receiver
Portable or Desktop Portable Desktop Portable Portable
Ergonomics Slim form's relaxed hand position will be comfortable for some and not others. Comfortable curved frame fits well in the hand. Comfortable, slightly rubberized grips. Buttons too rounded for comfortable use.
Ambidextrous Yes No Yes Yes
Special Features Tiny RF receiver tucks into mouse; 1,000-dpi tracking Good gaming mouse; ten programmable buttons; drivers required; right-handed. On-the-fly resolution switching; drivers required for 5-button customization. Very small but solid; drivers required
Pros Very small receiver; slim design; turns off automatically. Scroll wheel can toggle between freewheel and ratcheted modes; can toggle between two cursor tracking speeds; feels solid. Battery-free wired convenience; five buttons plus scroll wheel; versatile software; on-the-fly switchable tracking resolution. Versatile software; on-the-fly switchable tracking resolution.
Cons Does not work on shiny surfaces; not software programmable. May be too big for smaller hands or too heavy for younger hands; right-handed only; no mouse recharger. Cable-tethered USB inconvenience; no indication of which resolution is currently active. Slippery and too-rounded left and right buttons; too-stiff scroll-wheel button.
Full Review Ci95m Wireless Mouse with Nano Receiver MX 1100 Cordless Laser Mouse Pebble Pebble Wireless
Product ProClick Mobile Notebook Mouse RF-7550A 2.4 GHZ Cordless Optical Mouse SlimBlade Bluetooth Presenter Mouse SlimBlade Media Mouse
Company Razer Pro Solutions i-Rocks Kensington Kensington
Rating 4.0 mice 3.5 mice 3.0 mice 4.0 mice
Price $60 $25 $50 $50
Connection Bluetooth RF receiver Bluetooth RF receiver
Portable or Desktop Portable Desktop Portable Portable
Ergonomics Comfortable rounded frame. humpbacked body is easy to grasp; heavy metal scroll wheel is a pleasure to use. Too small for comfort; slippery scroll wheel; buttons hard to click. Slim form's relaxed hand position will be comfortable for some and not others.
Ambidextrous Yes Yes Yes Yes
Special Features High-precision 1,200-dpi optical resolution; comes in four colors. Carrying case; good scroll wheel. Drives Keynote and PowerPoint presentations. Media controls for music and video.
Pros Excellent precision; small enough to be portable but not too small; easy-to-use scroll wheel; no drivers needed; well made. Affordable; five buttons; comfortable ergonomics; excellent scroll wheel; zippered carrying case. Extremely portable; both a mouse and a presentation-software controller; horizontal-scrolling capability. 360-degree navigation wheel enables scrolling in all directions; media navigation pad controls iTunes tracks; slim design; receiver tucks into battery slot for easy storage.
Cons Doesn't include a charging station or rechargeable batteries; no battery status information. Thumb buttons don't work as advertised; mediocre battery life; hard-plastic body. No button-customization options; limited presentation options; uncomfortable button and scroll-wheel performance. Inconvenient navigation placement; no mute button; scroll ball is not a button; scroll ball is hard to control.
Full Review ProClick Mobile Notebook Mouse RF-7550A 2.4 GHZ Cordless Optical Mouse SlimBlade Bluetooth Presenter Mouse SlimBlade Media Mouse
Product Turtle VerticalMouse 3 Wireless V550 Nano Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000 Special Edition
Company Macally Evoluent Logitech Microsoft
Rating 3.5 mice 4.0 mice 4.5 mice 4.0 mice
Price $20 $120 $60 $30
Connection USB cable RF receiver RF receiver RF receiver
Portable or Desktop Portable Desktop Portable Portable
Ergonomics Comfortable shape and soft, grippable sides. May be too light for some. Vertical orientation and side-mounted buttons allow natural grasp; right-handed only. Good size and weight. Small, but comfortable in the hand. May be a little too light for some people.
Ambidextrous Yes No Yes Yes
Special Features Spring-loaded USB cable; drivers required for button customization. Unique ergonomic shape; five buttons. Includes laptop-mounting docks; two-speed scroll wheel; drivers required for button customization. Comes in five colors; receiver tucks into mouse's bottom; drivers required for button customization.
Pros Rollaway USB ribbon cable tucks away inside; versatile software; comfortable shape. Allows for a more-comfortable arm position while mousing; wireless five-button convenience; precise 1,200-dpi resolution. Tiny USB dongle; extremely long battery life; two scroll-wheel modes; exceptionally versatile software; two docks for laptop attachment. Friendly for both lefties and righties; lightweight; stores USB receiver underneath body; coordinated in five delicious colors.
Cons USB cable not as easy to manage as it should be; mouse a bit too light for regular use. Expensive; requires third-party driver software for full use; takes some getting used to; no left-hand version available. Docks not reusable; sofware must be downloaded; hard-plastic body. May be too light for some users; short range.
Full Review Turtle VerticalMouse 3 Wireless V550 Nano Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000 Special Edition

Keyboards Compared

Product Apple Keyboard Apple Wireless Keyboard Celesta
Company Apple Apple Moshi/Aevoe
Rating 3.5 mice 4.0 mice 4.0 mice
Price $49 $79 $120
Connection USB (2 ports) Bluetooth USB (2 ports)
Key type MacBook-style MacBook-style Scissor
Design Thin design; shallow key travel; stylish aluminum frame. Thin design; shallow key travel; stylish aluminum frame; portable; power management conserves battery life. Thin design; shallow key travel; tactile, responsive keys.
Pros Thin; sturdy; good, low-travel key feel; 19 function keys useful for assigning keyboard shortcuts; good number of special OS X functions; doesn’t require third-party drivers. Bluetooth wireless; travel- and lap-friendly without reducing key size; sturdy; good, low-travel key feel; excellent battery life; good number of special OS X functions; doesn't require third-party drivers. Thin; great key feel; sturdy and attractive aluminum design.
Cons Flat keys not ideal for touch-typists; function keys and Escape and Eject keys run together; no space between function-key row and number keys; can’t override special function-key functions. Flat keys not ideal for touch-typists; function keys and Escape and Eject keys run together; can't override special function-key functions; no numeric keypad or dedicated home, end, forward-delete, page up, or page down keys. Red-on-black key labels difficult to read; volume, mute, and eject keys oddly placed; few special features for the price.
Full Review Apple Keyboard Apple Wireless Keyboard Celesta
Product diNovo Edge for Mac Freestyle Solo Keyboard for Mac KR-6170M i-mini X-Slim Keyboard
Company Logitech Kinesis i-Rocks
Rating 4.5 mice 4.0 mice 3.0 mice
Price $160 keyboard, $99; ergonomic mounts, $40; keypad, $60 $30
Connection Bluetooth USB USB
Key type Scissor Dome Scissor
Design Thin design; shallow key travel; trackpad with mouse buttons; needs drivers. Low-profile design; positionable left and right sections; driverless Mac hot keys; some keys require OS X 10.4 or later. Shallow key travel; stylish frame.
Pros Great key feel; thin; Bluetooth wireless; lots of Mac-specific and programmable buttons and keys; built-in touchpad with mouse buttons can be used for cursor control or scrolling; rechargeable battery; attractive appearance. True ergonomic design in a Mac-focused keyboard; choice of ergonomic mounts; many media and special-function keys; dedicated editing keys; no third-party software drivers required. Inexpensive; thin; laptop-style keys with decent key feel; true Mac power button.
Cons Expensive; charging dock requires additional space; no numeric keypad; touchpad cursor control limited; glossy surface shows smudges and fingerprints. No numeric keypad; can't lock keyboard halves in position without optional ergonomic mount; keys slightly mushy; F-keys run together on one line; home, end, page up, and page down keys oddly placed; no right-hand control key. No USB ports; odd back-slash key placement; no volume or eject keys; too-bright power light.
Full Review diNovo Edge for Mac Freestyle Solo Keyboard for Mac KR-6170M iMini X-Slim Keyboard
Product Matias Folding Keyboard Razer ProType Wired Enhanced Visibility Internet Keyboard
Company Matias Razer VisiKey
Rating 3.5 mice 4.0 mice 3.5 mice
Price $70 $100 $40
Connection USB USB (2 ports) USB
Key type Dome Scissor Dome
Design Shallow key travel; navigation keys overlaid on main key area; portable; includes carrying pouch. Thin design; shallow key travel; iPod dock; ten keyboard profiles; ten programmable keys; needs drivers. Large key labels; cross platform; needs drivers.
Pros Compact folding design; includes number pad; good key feel; navigation keys overlay right hand’s home area; tab key on number pad. Lots of media, application, and programmable keys; built-in iPod dock for syncing, charging, and playback; good keyboard layout; support for keyboard profiles. Large, easy-to-read key labels; 15 media and special-function keys, configurable via software.
Cons Doesn’t fully lock into open position, which is bad for lap use; no dedicated caps lock key; odd layout of some keys. Huge; iPod dock not usable with many desk keyboard drawers; requires two USB ports; keys feel slightly mushy; modifier keys use Windows labels instead of Mac ones. Keys feel slightly mushy; no USB ports; must use System Preferences to swap Windows and alt keys to Mac command and option keys; extraneous Windows menu key; flimsy riser legs.
Full Review Matias Folding Keyboard Razer ProType Wired Enhanced Visibility Internet Keyboard

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