Home Reviews Review: Logitech Advanced MK545
Logitech Advanced MK545 Logitech Advanced MK545

Does Logitech's keyboard/mouse combo deserve a place on your desk?

The Logitech Advanced MK545 package comprises the company's K545 keyboard and the M510 mouse.

While aimed at Windows users, we successfully tested this keyboard/mouse combo with a Mac. While there is a Mac version of the Logitech Options software, the K545 keyboard isn't supported – but that's no big deal because all you really need to do is swap the Alt (Command) and Windows (Option) in the Keyboard system preference.

The sound buttons (volume up, down and mute) worked as expected. The play/pause button launches iTunes, and then works as labelled in conjunction with the skip forward and backward buttons. However, the calculator and home keys had no apparent use on a Mac, while the lock key generated the ¬ character.

The keyboard has a reasonably good feel for a model that we assume has dome switches. Our impression is that the keycaps are relatively hard wearing, as after six weeks of use all of the legends were still as new. The only sign of wear was a slight polishing of one end of the space bar. That's a very different story to a Microsoft keyboard we purchased earlier this year, which started to lose legends after just a week.

If you don't like a flat keyboard, a pair of hinged legs provide an increased rake – we prefer this approach to the removable feet used by some manufacturers, as there are no loose parts to mislay.

The shape of the M510 mouse is quite comfortable, though we still prefer the more rounded surface under the fingers as found on Microsoft's and some other companies' designs. Although the body is symmetrical, the thumb buttons are only on the left-hand side and so it is really only suitable for use in the right hand.

The scroll wheel has a good action — not too much resistance, but with a slight clickiness that we find more satisfactory than a free-rolling wheel — and it tilts for horizontal scrolling.

We do recommend installing the Logitech Options software to adjust the mouse settings, as we found that a one-notch adjustment in the standard Mouse system preference went from a little too slow to slightly twitchy. With Logitech's software it wasn't hard to find the 'just right' setting.

Both the keyboard and mouse are fitted with power switches, presumably to help conserve the AA batteries (which are included). Logitech claims 36 months battery life for the keyboard and 24 months for the mouse. Even though the keyboard goes to sleep to save power when inactive, it leaps back to life as soon as you start typing again and even the first keystroke registers on the computer.

As usual for non-Bluetooth wireless peripherals, they both connect to the same (tiny) USB transceiver, and in a piece of thoughtful design there's a space to store the transceiver inside the keyboard's battery compartment.

The RRP is $99.95, but it's not hard to find it for less – we've seen prices as low as $75. That's still not a cheap keyboard/mouse combo, but it seems durabile and is relatively comfortable to use.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

 

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