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  Look Ma (or mouse), No Wires!
We Round Up The Best Wireless Keyboards and Mice for PC or Mac

By Keith Benicek and Zack Bryce (wireless junkies)
August 2, 2004

It’s all the rage - Cell Phones, Cordless Phones, Stereo Speakers, Stereo Headphones, FRS Walkie-Talkies, RC Planes, PDA’s and Networks, are all doing their thing without wires. So isn’t about time that you cleaned up that rat’s nest of wires on your computers desktop?

Now most computers that you’ll likely see advertised in this Friday or Sunday sales ads won’t be configured with a wireless keyboard and mouse. Why? It’s probably economics. Most really good wireless keyboards and mice are expensive which ads to the system retail price. Cheap ones are exactly that and the companies don’t want the complaints.

If you custom order your Mac from the Apple Store, you can upgrade to Apple’s Bluetooth Pro Keyboard and Mouse for $99.US; Gateway’s online store offers their private labeled RF wireless keyboard and mouse for $79 and Dell offers a similar option. But these aren’t standard configuration.

It’s extremely likely that you are living in the keyboard and mouse dark ages at home or work, even though you probably routinely use other wireless devices daily. Maybe you’ve heard some awful horror stories about wireless I/O devices, or you can’t decide between buying the more traditional RF (radio frequency) or the new controversial Bluetooth technology for a keyboard and mouse.

While most wireless keyboards and mice in the past have anything from barely acceptable to plain garbage, there are a great many now that are irreplaceable from your desktop. The first perfected RF keyboard / mouse combo was Logitech’s “Cordless iTouch” Keyboard and Mouse released in 1999. It was PS-2 only and the mouse was a trackball and it was 100% reliable, I still use one on my PC audio/DV editing workstation.

But wireless productivity I/O (Input / Output) devices aren’t just a mouse or a keyboard now; there are some innovative products that include keypads, presentation helpers, and remotes for your music player, and there are versions oriented just for notebook computers too.

There are easily a dozen or more brands that you’ll easily recognize that are selling wireless keyboards, mice or other devices; some make their own products, most don’t as they’re job shopped to contractors in Taiwan, China or worse. We’ve looked at than 80% of them and picked the cream of the crop, some good ones and we also will give you a short list of ones to stay away from too.

Have your credit card or check book ready, search the internet for the best prices and get yourself into the desktop “enlightened wireless age”. It’s about time, ya know.

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Wireless Desktop Mice
Combo Desktop / Notebook Mice
Notebook Mice
Specialty Mice
Wireless Keyboards
Wireless Keyboard / Mouse Packages

A Mouse for every House –
There is more Mouse and Keyboard manufacturers and brands than you can shake a stick at. Nearly all them have stepped into the wireless mouse business as well, or not so well that is. You really have to be very careful what you’re buying and if there is a way to, you should always try before you buy.

When you can’t take a test drive or you’re looking for some advice on what’s hot, we’re hoping to give you some strong recommendations here.

As you have no doubt gathered if you’re a regular reader of our publication, we are deep into cross platform hardware for Windows, Mac and Linux systems. Amazingly, some mice and even a few keyboards are capable of being used on all three platforms.

We have eight mice here, out of a more than a dozen tested, that we have placed on our recommended list. Each one has a very unique personality of it’s own and some are designed for a specific mission on your desktop or your notebook bag.
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Tested and Recommended List
 (Ratings based on a total score, 1 to 5 scale)
                  Desktop Mice

Apple Computer
Apple Wireless Mouse M9269ZM/A – USD $69.00


Recommended  5
Mac OS X only
The one button Apple mouse is an institution and the popularization of the mouse all started back in the early 80’s with Apple Lisa computer. But it took the first Macintosh in 1984, to begin the mouse stampede.

If you ever want to start off on the wrong foot with a Mac user, start a debate on the merits of a one-button mouse versus one with three or more buttons. Dedicated Mac traditionalists have long contended that one hand on the keyboard for short cuts and one on the mouse was the way God and Apple intended it.

For the dyed in the wool one-button crowd, there is no better than an optical Apple Pro Mouse, unless it’s the Bluetooth Apple Wireless Mouse. Both are the best that Apple has ever produced for the Mac user since that awful USB “hockey puck” mouse from the late 90’s.

Even though the Wireless Mouse is only an unassuming elliptical shape, it feels perfect to the hand of every one of our review panel members.
Apple sells the D-Link USB Bluetooth adapter to make any Mac portable ready for the Apple Wireless Mouse
                               


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