The not-so-ugly diNovo Edge keyboard

The not-so-ugly diNovo Edge keyboard
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October 4, 2006 If there were a technology beauty contest, the keyboard would be a shoe-in for last place, being the epitome of organisationally dyslexic, high-tech-by-accident unsightliness. But in the world of the keyboard, Logitech’s new diNovo Edge keyboard is indeed a beauty, though we’re gonna stop way short of Logitech’s PR copywriter’s description of it being a “minimalist work of high-technology art.” Reflecting the growing importance and visibility of the PC in today’s home, the rechargeable diNovo Edge has some compelling features such as an integrated touch-sensitive navigation and scroll panel, and includes embedded Bluetooth wireless technology (and it aint as ugly as a normal one).

The new keyboard has a high-gloss finish, is laser cut from a single, semi-translucent piece of black Plexiglas and set into a brushed-aluminum frame. Its minimalist style is further evident in the limited number of buttons and the dynamic, backlighted icons embedded within the keyboard, which are invisible when not illuminated. Considering the keyboard’s many innovations and advanced technology, it also seems impossibly thin at only 3⁄4-inches (19.05 mm) thick.

Logitech’s first-generation diNovo keyboard design, introduced in 2003, reflected the growing minimalist tastes among consumers – with sharp angles and an ultra-slim profile that complemented flat-panel monitors. The new diNovo Edge keyboard takes the approach even further by reducing the number of seams and buttons on the keyboard, offering touch-sensitive technology and controls that are flush with the keyboard surface, and using dynamic soft-orange backlighting behind the single Plexiglas panel.

The semi-translucent surface enables the dynamic backlighting of icons embedded within the keyboard, which are invisible without illumination. Pressing the function key illuminates icons for secondary F-key functions, including media controls and application-launch keys. After the function key is released, the icons above the F-keys disappear and the keyboard’s top panel returns to its pristine black state.

The keyboard rests completely flat, with a low profile, on a desk or coffee table, or on a lap. Several studies have shown that lower-profile keyboards reduce wrist extension and thereby reduce the risk of hand and forearm discomfort.

The navigation features of the diNovo Edge keyboard are carefully designed to deliver premium performance, whether with a PC in the office or in the living room – using Windows XP, Windows XP Media Center Edition, or the upcoming Windows Vista operating system. For example, the keyboard has a special start key that launches the Vista start menu, and an F-key search button provides one-touch access to Vista’s search feature.

The keyboard includes the first-of-its-kind touch-sensitive TouchDisc, which enables people to scroll and navigate a graphical user interface without having to reach for a mouse – perfect for leaning back from the desk, for making a small adjustment when working at the desk, or for using a media PC in the living room. Moving a finger up and down or across the disc moves the cursor on the computer screen, and moving the finger in a circular motion around the perimeter of the TouchDisc enables people to scroll horizontally and vertically through documents.

Located above the TouchDisc, the keyboard’s touch-sensitive volume slider makes it easy to quickly adjust the computer’s volume. And on the left-hand side of the keyboard, three zoom buttons – zoom in, zoom out, and 100 percent view – enable people to navigate and edit digital photos with ease. A pointer button, used with the TouchDisc, enables two-hand navigation.

With the diNovo Edge, each keystroke feels fluid and stable with Logitech’s PerfectStroke key system, featuring precision micro-scissor mechanisms that distribute force evenly across key surfaces. On many keyboards, when pressure is applied to a key’s edge, the key sticks and requires more force to engage. On the diNovo Edge, whether one pushes the center of the key or one of the key’s edges, the keystroke feels the same. Logitech also has carefully calibrated the tension and travel required for keystrokes, optimizing each specification to deliver the best performance.

With Bluetooth wireless technology, the diNovo Edge can connect directly, without the included USB micro-receiver, to PCs that have built-in Bluetooth technology. For computers without built-in Bluetooth technology, people need only plug in the micro-receiver to a USB port to connect the keyboard to the PC; the keyboard and receiver are pre-paired during manufacturing so that they automatically connect when plugged in.

Bluetooth wireless technology provides the keyboard with a longer range (up to 10 meters, or 33 feet) than for many cordless keyboards – important for use in the living room.

The rechargeable diNovo Edge comes with a stand that serves as both a recharging station and a display base; when inserted in the stand, the keyboard rests perpendicular to the desk, showing off its slim design and freeing up valuable desk space. A two-hour charge yields up to two months of battery life.

The Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard is expected to be available in the U.S. and Europe beginning in November. Its suggested retail price is US$199.99.

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