Logitech's Wave isn't as big as Microsoft's desktop behemoths, but it's still large with additional keys for working with media and a large padded wrist rest. Two versions are available: a standalone version with a USB cable and a wireless desktop model that includes the LX8 cordless laser mouse.
The source of the Wave's name is its curved keyboard. While most ergonomic keyboards use a simple set of curves and are divided into two parts to force a specific typing position, the Wave uses a 3D curve to let the keyboard fit the shape of your hands. A gentle upwards curve in the keyboard layout means that keys lie just under your hands - making it easy to touch type. The keys also curve up and down in the titular wave, with dips to accommodate different-length fingers. There is a hollow under your middle fingers, and the keys under your index and middle fingers are raised to make them easier to press. The space bar's curves match those of the rest of the keys - so your thumbs rest just over the space bar.
The rest of the keyboard layout is relatively conventional. The cursor keys are presented in an inverted-T, while there is a standard numeric keypad along with a set of edit keys. These include Home and End, as well as a large delete key. There is enough separation between enter and delete to avoid any accidental key presses.
Underneath the keyboard you'll find the usual pair of rear legs. Flip them down, and you're now able to flip up another set of smaller legs, which gives the keyboard three possible rakes. We preferred the middle option, as it gave the keyboard a neutral feel, with a comfortable hand position.
The wireless version of the Wave connects through a proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless connection. A USB receiver is included, along with a cradle. We were pleased to note that the receiver didn't interfere with an existing MX Revolution mouse.
Our test system uses a Belkin USB KVM, and the receiver is compatible with the KVM's USB ports, so we were able to use it with two PCs. Logitech's SetPoint drivers will encrypt the keyboard connection, so you don't need to worry about a wireless sniffer picking up your passwords as you type. You will need to enter in a pass phrase to enable encrypted communications.
Logitech takes a different approach to using function keys from Microsoft's keyboard. Microsoft makes application specific functions the default, with an F-lock key to allow traditional function key operation. The Logitech approach makes more sense. A function key (labeled Fn, which is between the right-Alt and right-Ctrl keys) needs to be pressed before special functions operate. The default functions mix launching key productivity tools, to opening browsers and IM tools. There are also three keys that can be configured to launch your choice of applications. One key offers quick access to search engines - you can use SetPoint to pick which you use. Logitech's default search partner is Yahoo!, so you may want to change things so you can use your usual search engine.
Like Apple's keyboards, the F12 key is an eject key for your CD drives. One nice touch here is the ability to choose which drive is opened. Just hold down the key for a few seconds, and a dialog box opens up, offering you a choice of drives to open. Pressing the key again will close any open drives.