Keys And Controls
There are a number of special keys on the Wave. These include the now expected media controller (with volume controls, skip, play/pause and stop). In the center top of the keyboard the media control keys are framed by four metallic blue keys. These offer quick access to a number of OS specific features. If you're running Vista, the Gadgets key opens the Vista Sidebar, while on Windows XP it launches Yahoo! Widgets (if it isn't installed it just opens the Web page). MacOS users get access to the Dashboard. The keys are reconfigurable - so if you don't want an accidental press to open a Web page, you can choose to launch another program, or even open a Web page. One useful option in SetPoint lets you assign a user-configurable menu to a special key - so you can use it as your own customized Start menu.
Another key lets you explore your pictures, opening the Windows pictures folder. Other keys launch your default media player, and open the Windows Media Center. If Media Center isn't available (if you're using most versions of Windows XP) it'll launch your default media player - or you can configure it to work launch your software of choice.
Two buttons on the far left of the keyboard act as zoom controls, which zoom in and out of documents. They're above another button, which is used to launch the Flip 3D task switcher on Vista. Windows XP users get Logitech's own Document Flip application - though this is more like a traditional task switcher, and looks crude compared to many modern Windows applications.
The wireless version of the Wave is powered by a pair of AA batteries. Logitech claims that one set will last 15 months. We've been using the keyboard for around a month now, and our test alkaline batteries are still giving out just over 1.5V.
One thing to note is that there is no way of easily extracting the batteries from the Wave's battery compartment. As they do fit in very snugly, you may find that the use of a screwdriver comes in handy when levering the first battery out.
You can monitor battery charge from Logitech's SetPoint software, though this only gives a rough idea of the battery level, and no indication of expected life. If the batteries need to be replaced, and you're not using SetPoint, there's an illuminated icon under the cursor keys that will give you a few days warning. You can also use the battery test function on the F11 key to test your batteries.
You don't need to use the bundled SetPoint software, but without it you won't get access to many of the Wave's features. Logitech's signed a deal with Yahoo!, so the SetPoint installer will attempt to install various Yahoo! tools on your machine - though it is possible to complete an install with adding any shovelware.
The bundled LX8 mouse is, well, a mouse. Unlike many modern mice it's an ambidextrous device, so if you're used to a handed ergonomic mouse you'll find the feel rather odd. A cushioned thumb grip keeps you comfortable. We did find the plastic mouse wheel unresponsive - but that may have been due to switching to the LX8 from a MX Revolution, with its weighted easy spin mouse wheel. Still, all in all, this is a reasonable mouse that boasts six months battery life, and our only quibbles result from comparing it with a higher-end device.