Best keyboard/mouse combo for Apple users?

I’ve always had a problem finding the best mouse/keyboard combo for my Mac Pro desktop setup. I’ve been a religious Logitech MX1000 user at work on my Windows box but wanted something to complement my Apple setup.

My Mac Pro came bundled with the Mighty Mouse and Apple wired keyboard and this was “OK” for the interim but much as I love the scroll ball on the mighty mouse, I found the lack of additional programmable buttons an annoyance. Granted I could squeeze the Mighty Mouse and program that to anything I wanted but it still meant I could only set it to forward or backward. I also like to set an additional button (normally the scroll button) to Exposé’s Show All Windows.

The white and clear plastic Apple wired keyboard was fine for my requirements but to reduce some cable clutter I bought the wireless version, warning, the Apple Wireless Keyboard, not such a good move. I found that the bluetooth on my Mac Pro kept flaking when the computer went to sleep, sometimes I could get around things by disabling/re-enabling bluetooth but other times it plain wouldn’t accept that there was a bluetooth module in my Mac Pro and a restart was needed. By this time my Mighty Mouse was just as annoying, the scroll ball refused to work at the best of times and would work for about 24 hours if I gave it a good clean. Time for a complete change….

The obvious choice was the Logitech S530 Mac edition, which comes in an Apple-esque white plastic. I bought it from the Apple store and used it for about half a day before I’d grown to hate it. Since I didn’t have time to take it back to the store I gave it to my sister to use with her iMac. Don’t listen to any of the reviews of the Logitech S530 Mac edition on Amazon, the Apple shop, etc. Logitech have bundled together some very cheap and nasty hardware here and unless you are a very light computer user you’ll do well to avoid this combo.

I hadn’t given up on Logitech though, I brought a spare Logitech MX1000 Laser home from the office and with the latest Logitech Control Center installed worked away happily with the mouse I know and love. Apple had also just released the NEW Apple Wired and Wireless Keyboards. With an aluminium chassis this was the keyboard that Apple should have designed and shipped with the all aluminium Mac Pro and Apple 30″ Cinema Display in the first place. I opted against the wireless version after my experiences with the original wireless keyboard from Apple, plus it doesn’t have a numeric keypad which would drive me insane when working in spreadsheets. The new wired Apple aluminium keyboard is pretty much perfect for all my needs, I’d pay a little extra if they made a version with illuminated buttons like my Mac Book Air but the light coming off the screen is normally enough to see with no lights on.

I’ve been working all this year with the aluminium Apple wired Keyboard and MX1000 mouse. But recently the trusty Logitech MX1000 started playing up, registering single clicks as double clicks, after some testing with my laptop I diagnosed it to be a hardware issue with the primary button’s micro-switch so a replacement was needed. I’m still in the market for the perfect mouse to go with my setup but on another recent trip to my local COSTCO I saw the Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 5000 and since it was so cheap thought that was better than a double-clicking MX1000 until I source something better.

I had concerns about the MS Laser 5000 not working too well with OS X 10.5 but I’m happy to report it all works smoothly. I had a few problems initially but then I realised I hadn’t uninstalled the Logitech Control Centre (/Applications/Utilities/LCC Uninstaller). Once that was gone the only thing I could get working was the programmable Wheel Button. The Microsoft Mouse preference pane let me choose “Exposé – Show All Windows” but it just wouldn’t work. In the end I’ve set the wheel button preference to “Handled by Mac OS” and then set the Exposé preferences for Show All Windows to include Mouse Button 3 and were back in business.

The Microsoft Laser 5000 is by no means the best mouse I’ve used, it’s certainly better than Apple’s Mighty Mouse though but doesn’t have the great “feel” of the Logitech MX1000, although the MS Laser 5000 is great for both left and right handed users with the MX1000 wasn’t.

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