How many different devices do you use every day?
It's one of those questions that seems fairly innocuous at first but when you start to add them all up, they really, really add up. Phones, tablets, desktops, laptops - devices at home, devices at work, devices when you're on the road...
Anything that can simplify and streamline all this would surely be welcome.
As an insight to my personal situation, I use a crazy number of different computers at work, including my own laptop and several different PCs - some of which are connected to the same keyboard and mouse - otherwise my radio studio would be full of keyboards and mice and not much else.
When I get home, I use my laptop and desktop together and I'm often reviewing a third computer of some kind - or perhaps a tablet that works with a keyboard too...
See? It adds up.
What's more, some are MacOS, some are Windows - it's no wonder I often feel confused and tired by the end of the day. Thanks to Logitech, I can now add a couple more devices but remove several others, giving my hands, wrists and fingers a break at the same time.
When it comes to computer accessories, there aren't too many names more trusted than Logitech. We're talking years of quality, well designed, innovative products that many people have come to rely on - both at work and at home (and now that's often the same place, obviously).
Logitech has established a reputation for ergonomic design too. For those of us (and these days it's most of us) who spend hours at a time tapping at a keyboard and manoeuvring a mouse, the growing demand for a more natural fit is hardly surprising and it's no wonder we've seen the development of more non-traditional input devices; split keyboards, trackballs and vertical mice are now commonplace in most businesses.
While these ergonomic form-factors are clearly a good idea, they can also seem a bit daunting and alien. The standard shape for a keyboard and mouse has been around for a very long time. Old habits die hard and learning a whole new way to type or control your cursor is a bridge too far for some.
That's why the team at the Logi Ergo Lab has come up with the Wave Keys ergonomic keyboard and the Lift vertical mouse.
Starting with Wave Keys, it looked like a fantastic idea to me as soon as I took it out of the box. Before I even used it, I could tell the combination of the contoured (wavy) keyboard and the cushioned palm rest would guarantee a significantly more comfortable typing experience.
I was also surprised to discover the Wave Keys wasn't that big - yes, because of the attached palm rest, it's longer top-to-bottom than other standard keyboards but it's actually not as wide as the one I've just been using. This is because the keys are in fact closer together and smaller than those on a "traditional" keyboard - even the number pad is more compact.
That doesn't mean you feel at all cramped when using the Wave Keys though - quite the opposite. It's a hard thing to explain, but because the keys are all curved towards where your fingers naturally land, Logitech has been able to reduce the upper surface of each key while keeping the space between them generously wide. This not only means more comfortable typing but it's faster too, because your fingers don't have to stretch as far for keys like B, Z and P - and other keys that aren't directly adjacent to the home keys we've all become used to over years and decades.
Best of all, unlike a split keyboard configuration, there's no issue learning how to use this one. In fact, the only thing that slowed me down initially was I couldn't quite believe how easily I had adjusted to this new device and I kept second-guessing myself, even though my typing had actually improved, not gotten worse.
My experience with the Lift vertical mouse was similarly instinctive - if not more so. The Lift is essentially a standard mouse propped up on its side at a 57° angle. At the Logi Ergo Lab, they call this the "natural handshake position" - who would have guessed? Try it right now, even if you don't have a mouse handy - just rest your hand and forearm naturally on the table or desk in front of you. See how your hand sits on its side? To use a "normal" mouse, you literally have to twist your arm over more and even raise your elbow up and out to get your hand in the correct position.
This is what ergonomics is all about, of course; bringing the device to your body rather than the other way around. Just as with the Wave Keys, using the Lift felt completely normal, right from the start. The two main buttons and scroll wheel weren't anywhere different - just on an angle. The only real change was a big improvement - the forward and back keys have been moved around to the opposite side, just above the thumb rest, making them far more accessible and easier to use. On a standard design, this would have placed them underneath the mouse itself, no use there at all.
Both Ergo mouse and keyboard can be paired with up to three devices, swapping instantly between them with the push of a button. This means you can literally use the same mouse and keyboard for three different computers. They each include a Logi Bolt USB receiver as an alternative to connecting via bluetooth and this can be stored neatly away in the battery compartments.
What's more, if you sign into the Logi Options+ app on each computer you're using, you won't even need to manually select which device you're controlling - there's a Flow option for the Lift mouse that lets you push the cursor from device to device. Logi Options+ also gives you the capability to customise buttons on both keyboard and mouse. You can even set different keys to do different things in different apps - although I find that can get a bit confusing when you're swapping around.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of Logi Options+ is Smart Actions - these are essentially programmable macros you can fire off with any key or button you designate. Do you have seven different apps you always have to open individually at the beginning of every work day? You can create a Smart Action that will do all that at the touch of a button.
Like every Logitech device I've come across in the past, both the Wave Keys and Lift seem very well made, durable and the Lift in particular has a nice, soft-touch, grippy surface to it.
The only thing that raised an eyebrow for me is how they're powered; with a battery. Or in the case of the Wave Keys, two batteries. I kind of thought single-life batteries were on the way out. Most wireless devices I use these days charge via USB-C - including other Logitech accessories I use regularly. Thanks to environmentally friendly packaging and the use of recycled materials, the Ergo range is carbon neutral - and yet these two run on batteries that will eventually die and be thrown out. A puzzling juxtaposition.
There is a payoff though - up to two years' use on a single battery for the Lift and a crazy three years for the Wave Keys. I can't argue - that's definitely more convenient than having to recharge each device every week or two.
In many ways, these two devices are two of the most straightforward I've reviewed all year and yet I've already written more than 1300 words about them. I love them. When design gets this good, what's not to love? Sure, using the app adds a host of other tricky little features but the fact Logitech has managed to take something as fundamental as the keyboard and mouse and tweak it like this is... well, it's art really.
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