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Logitech’s upgrade to the G11, the G110, is an excellent gaming keyboard with a number of features that will certainly make any gamer or desktop power user, take kindly to it and never look back.

The most notable feature is, as with all gaming-focused keyboards, the programmable keys that can be linked to just about any function, macro, script, or shortcut in both Windows applications and games. The keyboard comes with 12 “G” keys to the left side with three profiles (M1, M2, M3) that are easily programmed and allow for on-the-fly switching, effectively giving you 36 programmable keys. Each of the three profiles can be assigned a color from red to blue and anything in between (meaning lots of shades of purple are possible). While the backlight for the keys isn’t quite as bright as you would like, the color differences are noticeable if you stay to extreme ends of the spectrum. Progressively lighter shades of purple won’t do you much good here.

Another great feature is the “desktop/gaming mode” switch located above the first bank of Function Keys along the top. Clicking this over into “game” mode disables the Windows and Context Keys making inadvertent trips to the desktop a thing of the past when you really just wanted to hit CTRL to crouch behind a crate.

Along the top ridge are standard mini jacks for your gaming headset (microphone and headset) as well as mute buttons for each. Also available is a standard USB 2.0 jack, although this jack is non-powered. To the upper right corner are the standard media controls with a volume control wheel and a mute button, all work natively with Windows without any additional software.

To program all of the function keys you’ll need to install the provided Logitech software which allows for customized programming of each of the 36 “G” keys, for basic functionality you can enter in your own macro commands, or record a keystroke macro and make common functions easier to perform. For desktop power users you can even enter in blocks of text that make repetitive typing easier.

The keys themselves are very soft and quite, after being used to a slightly more rigid keyboard for typing, it takes some getting used to, but you adapt quickly depending on your need for tactical feedback. The extra size of the keyboard (due to the programmable keys) makes finding your “home” location a bit more difficult without looking and the nubs on the F and J keys are a little smaller than usual, so don’t be surprised if you somehow start on the wrong key and hit CAPS LOCK a bunch in the beginning, you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

In the end the G110 is a solid, thin, and versatile keyboard that allows for deep customization in a variety of applications, while profile importing is allowed, there isn’t a huge community actively hosting profiles to download, but even generic gaming profiles would get novices users on the right foot, maybe even game publishers releasing recommended profiles wouldn’t be such a bad thing. You can’t go wrong with the G110, coupled with a G9 Laser Mouse to frag some aliens this weekend.

Logitech’s Harmony line has always been one geared towards the living room aficionado on a budget. Not to say that the excellent line of universal remotes is cheap in any way, but as a quick, convenient, and extremely functional way of going against the big boys costing thousands of dollars, the line has always excelled. The Harmony One is the latest universal remote on the block from Logitech and we put it through the paces with entertainment setup, how did it fare?

The first thing you notice about the Harmony One is its construction. The remote features a glazed plastic case on top, rubberized on the bottom, along with the gold-plated charging connectors near the top of the unit on the underside. Back on the top side, an ergonomic hard button layout dominates about 80% of the real estate with the neatest advance taking up the other 20%, a customizable touch screen. No longer relegated to a LCD screen with buttons lining the sides, the Harmony One inherits features from its big brother the Harmony 1000 in a full screen representing advanced remote options and a colorful display which also doubles as a help guide should you need it.

Setting up the remote was a piece of cake. I downloaded the latest version of the software from Logitech’s website, installed the package and followed the on-screen instructions. Upon connecting the remote the computer detected the type of remote and its version automatically, performing any updates needed before we started programming.

Once you get into the meat of the software you’re faced with the semi-daunting task of tracking down all the makes and models of your stereo equipment, the database has tens of thousands of entries to emulate and just about everything is in there. I was setting up an HD cable box/DVR (Scientific Atlanta), LCD TV (Phillips), DVD Player (Sony), Receiver (Pioneer), Nintendo Wii, and PlayStation2. The cable box and DVD Player were using HDMI and the rest were using component cables for progressive scan input.

The Harmony software found entries for all my devices except for the TV, which I expected. As the TV was purchased from Costco I expected the model number to be different than the actual TV as some manufactures will modify an existing unit as a Costco exclusive model, after some programming I was able to find a suitable model to emulate my actual TV. This programming involved placing my TV remote in front of the Harmony One and pushing the buttons when asked for by the software, after examining the IR codes a list of suitable TVs popped up allowing me to choose the correct one, or in my case, the closest one I could.

After all the devices are accounted for, the next step is setting up activities. The remote software is smart enough to know which devices are used for which activities you perform every day, shutting off unneeded units, allowing you to specify which device controls your audio volume, etc. Each activity can be customized from the default set up and new activities can be added. For example, when sitting in front of your system, choosing “Watch a DVD” will power on the TV, Receiver, DVD Player, set the receiver to the correct output, and set the TV to the correct input. If a device is already on the remote will skip that instruction, and if you switch from your cable box to the DVD player, it will power down the box automatically. All in all switching activities is painless and takes about 10-15 seconds for all the signals to be sent, although you do have to keep the remote within IR range during this time so that all the instructions are sent and received.

There’s a special notice for gaming systems within the software, which was presented when setting up the Wii (or PlayStation3) to run, in that the Harmony One lacks the ability to send Bluetooth signals, making it unable to power on the Wii (or PS3) system. This isn’t a big deal considering you’re going to switch to the Wii remote anyway at this point if you want to do anything (sadly the Harmony One is not motion controlled).

The One does, however, detect when its been picked up, turning on the touch screen and the backlights on the hard buttons, which are etched with their labels allowing a bright, white glow to shine, easily visible in the darkest room. The auto-sleep saves battery power, after nearly two weeks of testing we haven’t even had to hook up the provided, glossy caddy which keeps the unit charged.

Granted you’re never going to be able to get rid of all your remotes, even though the Harmony One supports up to 15 different devices at a time. In the case of audio receivers there’s a huge amount of customization options that would impossible to pass off to any universal remote, and a lot of the specialized functions like customizing audio channels, input setup, etc. are always going to need the OEM remote, so don’t throw those originals away just yet.

In actual real-world use the Harmony One surprised us because of its ability to compensate for the missing hard buttons with the touch screen. The Scientific Atlanta cable box using coded keys to complete commands within the DVR menu, these buttons were automatically represented on the touch screen, of which can display up to six buttons at a time, along with the List Programs button and a few others which wouldn’t necessarily be standard on every device. Similar buttons appeared when using our Sony DVD player, including the Eject and Angle buttons being delegated to the screen.

The touch screen itself is sensitive enough to get the job done, however there were a few false positive clicks, either being too close to one of the other buttons (in which we actually hit the wrong command) or hitting a button and the cable box not responding. This happened few and far between in our testing so we’re identifying it as something either blocking the IR or the remote not pointed in the right direction. However, with some tweaking of the options on the remote you can increase or decrease the sensitivity of the screen to your liking.

The hard buttons are firm, needing a good deal of pressure to depress them, but not too much. They are a big change from the standard rubberized and soft buttons found on most OEM remotes, so some getting used to them is likely. The placement of the buttons was one of the most researched portions of the remote with the DVD/DVR navigation commands falling dead center under your thumbs resting place and the program control buttons like fast forward, play, stop, etc. all just a short throw away from your default grip.

The shape of the remote, as stated previously, has the user in mind with the ergonomics beautifully presented and the weight completely balanced between the seemingly heavier bottom and the lighter top. The remote is also solid, there doesn’t appear to be much, if any, hollow space on the inside giving the unit a great feel in your hands. Holding it in your hand the remote feels natural, with most of the commonly used buttons within range of your thumb, however the touch screen is not, requiring you to both look at the remote and move your hand to choose any of the functions.

The final advantage to the Harmony One, besides its MSRP of $249.99, is the on screen help guide which is basically a built in troubleshooter without the internet forums and the trolls within. If you are having trouble with a particular device, or you pointed the remote away from the setup while it was switching activities, the on-screen help guide will take you through some simple questions in order to weed out the problem. We only needed to use this once during our testing, but it solved the issue (the correct input was not selected) and haven’t had any other problems.

The Harmony One worked nearly flawlessly in our testing, excelling in every task that we through at it. The ease of customization via an intuitive software package, quick and easy USB support, and the ability to suit it to your needs without shelling out $1000 makes the Harmony One an easy pick and a high recommendation. If you aren’t ready for a full touch screen yet, or you’re on a budget after shelling out $10,000 on the entertainment system itself, the feature set of this remote makes it a steal at just under $250. 

The Logitech G9 may very well be the best gaming mouse on the market, simply said, its got a wealth of features, solid construction, and solid software to back up that claim. As the natural progression from the excellent G5 and cordless G7 the G9 is a great piece of technology and a must for any gamer, hardcore or casual.

The feature set of the G9 is its biggest drawing point. In previous reviews of gaming mice, we commented on the lack of weight cartridge and the great debate around it (some reviewers love them, some hate them) and while we won’t get into the flame war too heavily, we choose to side with the former in believing that a good, heavy mouse is the way to go over some of the lighter fare. The hidden cartridge has a spot for four weights which come in 4g and 7g varieties. Having used a G5 since its introduction matching the weight and grip shape was a must to feel comfortable.

The G9 also features removable grips, with two included in the retail package. The default is a wider grip, allowing for people with larger hands to rest their palm and fingers all the way around the device. It’s made of the same material as the recently reviewed IKARI Laser with a dry grip technology to wick moisture away from your hands during long gaming sessions. The second grip is made of a textured plastic, and is also smaller, but still provides a meaty grip and excellent finger placement.

The mouse has the standard five buttons (including the click wheel) with two placed near the thumb and the standard left and right buttons. Placed under the left button is a LED display (fully customizable in color via the SetPoint software) and allows you to adjust dpi settings on the fly without the use of any software.

An interesting addition is the wheel which has two modes. The standard (configured via a button on the underside of the mouse) provides the standard clicking resistance when scrolling through web pages or changing weapons. “Unlocking” the wheel removes all friction allowing it to freely spin on its bearing to the point where you can rev it up and let it sit, continuing to spin for a good 10-15 seconds after you let go. This only adds to the bevy of personal customization options available on the G9.

The gaming grade laser, up to 3200 dpi, is smooth at any setting providing excellent feedback. In our testing with games like Portal, Audiosurf, and World of Warcraft the mouse performed highly in all regards and the customizable macros only add to the infatuation we’ve already developed for the unit. Desktop applications too benefited from the smooth laser (as opposed to optical) in testing with software like Fireworks creating lines and making smooth movements with freehand tools was impressive.

The only qualms with the unit are small, and easily correctable due to the replaceable grips. The thumb buttons seem a bit too close together, and the back button is sometimes hard to get to depending on how you grip your mouse. The included grips themselves may not satisfy all games, we found the “precision” grip (the textured plastic one) to be a better fit rather than the dry grip coated “wide load” grip.

The Logitech SetPoint software is also very intuitive and easy to use. Booting it up shows you all available devices on your system, clicking on the device offers you half a dozen pages of customizable options all focused on tuning the mouse to your needs.

Hands down the G9 is the best gaming mouse on the market today and a benchmark for all other manufactures to catch. With touches like a weight cartridge, replaceable grips, unlockable wheel, braided cable, etc. the feature set alone pays for the price of the device. Performance is top notch and customization is key, all points which make fragging so much easier.


In an age where the living room is fast becoming an all digital hub and music and movies are more apt to be released via direct distribution rather than physical media consumers have only a few choices when attempting to bring these formats into the living room. Previously you had the ability to create a “media PC” capable of viewing and recording TV shows, playing streaming music, and watching DVDs, but this is both a costly endeavor and can be bulky if not constructed and cooled correctly. But there is hope in the form of Slim Devices Squeezebox V3, an audio-dedicated streaming device that brings all your audio files into the living room is a small, sleek package.

The device, slightly smaller than a DVD case on its side and about three times a thick comes in two varieties, wired LAN and wireless, and two colors black and white, and is the easiest and cheapest way to play your iTunes or favorite internet radio station throughout the house. Featuring standard outputs for composite audio, digital coax, digital optical, and headphones, the ultra portable device is easy to carry from room to room, or add to your burgeoning media center.

Initial setup of the provided software went well the first time, but not perfect. After downloading the server software and installing it, it simply wouldn’t start up. One stop to the support forums indicated that this is a problem on some initial installations and a simple reinstall booted up the web-based server (compatible with both IE and Firefox) and the wireless connection to my Squeezebox. The server software has the ability to read your entire iTunes library (sans DRM-protected files) including cover art and playlists, this is an added bonus as files never hard to find.

While not large by any means, the server software does take up about 60MB of memory while running, which doesn’t put a damper in any system running 1GB or more of RAM, or dedicated to only streaming your music. On the CPU cycle side, while running and streaming music the program only used between 02-05% which is comparable, if not slightly lower than Apple’s iTunes or Nullsoft’s Winamp.

The Squeezebox itself was easy to install, even on my protected wireless network. Through half-a-dozen set up steps you’ll enter the type of encryption, the key needed, and the IP address of the computer running the server software. Auto-detection of the Squeezebox on the server side then allows you to begin constructing a custom playlist, using one you’ve already created, or choose from a vast selection of internet radio stations. Even if your favorite station isn’t included, you need to only enter the URL or IP of the stream and the software begins playing almost immediately.

Offering a favorites option gives you one touch access (from the Squeezebox via the provided remote) to build a list of your favorite tunes. Finding music to add to that list is easy as well allowing you to search via artist, album, year, or even cover art.

The styling of the product is in line with the new wave of slick, silver devices focusing on creating a versatile conversation piece. While playing, music information is displayed via a two row display, with the bottom row about twice the height of the top. The background works as a graphic equalizer display and can be customized from a number of different options, as can the display allowing you to choose the tags on the music file (such as artist, track number, etc.) that you want to see.

Adding to an already complete package is the remote which allows all of us to embrace our American heritage of sitting on the couch and manipulating things with one finger. The remote provides access to nearly all the Squeezebox’s functions without having to get up and bother with the server software. Even the little things like alarm clock settings which wake you up to a specified song bring a smile to your face when you think of the possibilities.

There’s such a plethora of options associated with the Squeezebox it’s nearly impossible to go through them all in a timely, entertaining manner. Let it be know that those looking to bring their digital music collection into the living room without the budget or technical know how of building a media PC, the Squeezebox offers a user-friendly, beautiful looking alternative that is a must purchase for anyone looking to stay on top of the technological curve.

This little streaming box that could is a definite recommendation for anyone.