Lev­el­ling up

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY - Value for money: Price: Si­mon Din­gle

The move from your study into t he lounge hasn’t been a grace­ful one for per­sonal com­put­ers, to say the least. There are mas­sive ben­e­fits to hav­ing a com­puter con­nected to your tele­vi­sion which is why, for ex­am­ple, Ap­ple Mac Minis have be­come so com­mon­place in home en­ter­tain­ment cab­i­nets. How­ever, most per­sonal com­put­ers weren’t built for this pur­pose and need a lit­tle help from their friends. One of those friends is Log­itech, which makes great uni­ver­sal re­motes and other ac­ces­sories, now in­clud­ing a re­ally good so­lu­tion for mak­ing mice and key­boards more couch-friendly.

The Log­itech K400 is a com­bi­na­tion key­board and track­pad de­signed for me­dia PCs. Whether you oc­ca­sion­ally plug your lap­top into your tele­vi­sion to watch some legally-ac­quired TV shows and movies es or go the whole hog with a ded­i­cated ated com­puter for your pic­tures, es, stream­ing mu­sic, video and d other re­quire­ments, the K400 hopes to be your new in­ter­face of choice.

The key­board is small all enough to be work­able on the couch but with­out tiny, y, cramped p keys. The Good value for DIY me­dia cen­tre PCs at­tached track­pad does the job very well but I wouldn’t ex­pect you to fire up Coun­ter­strike (a first-per­son shooter video game) with this as a con­troller. One chal­lenge is that the K400 doesn’t have back­light­ing, so typ­ing in the dark is a stretch. This may sound mi­nor, but I found my­self squint­ing at the key­board as I tried to an­gle it to­ward the glow of my tele­vi­sion and type some­thing leg­i­ble on more than one oc­ca­sion. Back­light­ing is a must for any­thing hop­ing to live in my lounge.

Log­itech have specif­i­cally de­signed the K400 for Mi­crosoft Win­dows but it worked pretty well with a Mac Mini in our tests, with the ex­cep­tion of three spe­cial keys on the top of the key­board that weren’t missed.

To con­nect the wire­less K400 one must use up a USB port on your me­dia cen­tre PC. There two don­gles − one for the key­board por­tion and another for

the mouse, but Log­itech

R500 has clev­erly de­signed the two to com­bine so you can get things go­ing with one USB port in­stead of two. Blue­tooth would have been an even bet­ter so­lu­tion but has lim­ited range, which is prob­a­bly why Log­itech opted for its own thin­gies.

If you’re putting to­gether a do-ity­our­self me­dia cen­tre PC then this is one of the bet­ter key­board and mouse op­tions, es­pe­cially at the price. If you’re us­ing any­thing other than Win­dows you may want to con­sider other op­tions, how­ever, and I’d def­i­nitely rec­om­mend some­thing with back­light­ing on the key­pad. There are also some great apps like Mo­bile Mouse that turn your tablet or smart­phone into a mouse and key­board for your com­puter.

AAlso con­sider:

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