REVIEW: Logitech MX Keys Wireless Illuminated Keyboard

Logitech has always been at the forefront in developing excellent keyboards for the Mac, and their newest, the MX Keys Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is no exception.  For $99.99 you get a lot of features.  

Although this keyboard is multi-platform, it has several Mac/Windows keys that perform functions specific for that particular platform.  For example, check out the Cmd/Alt or Opt/Start keys.

The MX Keys keyboard is heavier than its Apple competitor, the Magic Keyboard With Numeric Keypad. The Apple one weighs .5 lbs. while the Logitech weighs 1.8 lbs.  The difference is that it has a metal plate under the keys that make the keyboard more stable on your desktop.  

The most unique feature of the MX Keys is its illuminated backlit keyboard.  When fingers are close to the keyboard, it immediately illuminates.  When your fingers go off the keyboard, the keys automatically go off.

Like many of Logitech’s recent keyboards, the MX Key can be paired with up to 3 devices at the same time, making it easier to switch between them.  Just press one of Logitech’s Easy-Switch keys on the top row of the keyboard.

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REVIEW: Color vs. Monochrome Laser Printers

As a longtime user of color laser printers, I was beginning to have second thoughts about whether to buy another color laser or to seriously consider a monochrome model.  Both platforms have pros and cons worthy of consideration.

Color Laser Printers

If you are looking for attractive colorful printouts, a color laser printer may be right for you.  These printers feature 4 separate toner cartridges that work together to produce a full-color image.  Although inkjets do a better job of  printing photos, color lasers produce excellent, sharp images especially when text is involved.  And unlike inkjets, color laser toner cartridges do not dry out so you don’t need to worry about ink expiration dates.

Unfortunately, there are many more negatives when considering a color laser printer.  The prime consideration is cost.  Color laser printers typically cost about double what a monochrome model would sell for.  They start out around $200 and go well over $1000.  A monochrome model could start just under $100 and go to about $500.

When considering cost, your biggest expense is in maintaining 4 separate toner cartridges (black, magenta, cyan and yellow).  Many color cartridges cost around $70-100, so a complete set will cost about $300-400.  Although most color lasers include a set of starter cartridges good for 200-300 pages, a full set will produce 1500-2500 pages depending on whether you purchase a standard or high-yield toner cartridges.

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REVIEW: Logitech MX Vertical Mouse

If you’re thinking that all mice are pretty much the same, think again.  Logitech has introduced the MX Vertical mouse with much of the same features as other flagship mice, but is radically different in design.

Instead of operating in a typically horizontal plain, the MX Vertical operates as its name implies, vertically.  You next question would be why would this be an improvement.  The primary benefit is that it virtually eliminates carpel tunnel syndrome that occurs when your hand is in a horizontal position for an extended period.  Using the MX Vertical mouse with its 57º angle, you are in a solid handshake mode that puts your hand in a more comfortable position for extended periods. Persons with hand medical issues would find a 10% reduction in muscular strain.


The MX Vertical mouse’s position is not its only benefit.  It is loaded with many features common to premium mice. For starters, this mouse offers 3 connectivity options: (1) Bluetooth, (2) RF receiver dongle (included), and (3) wired connectivity with included cable.  The rechargeable battery will stay operational for 4 months on a full charge. Additionally, from a 1-minute charge you will get 3 hours of use.  This mouse offers an LED that lets you know when to recharge .

Control 3 Devices

Like many of Logitech’s other products, this mouse offers what Logitech calls an Easy-Switch that can pair up to 3 devices and seamlessly switch between them.

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REVIEW: Macally Solar Powered Slim Wireless RF Keyboard for Mac

One of the more popular Mac keyboards is the Logitech K750 solar powered keyboard.  It features a solar powered panel that uses light instead of batteries to power the keyboard itself.  Now Macally has introduced their own version known as the Macally Ultra Slim Wireless RF Keyboard for Mac(RFSOLARKEYA).  

Although Logitech’s solar keyboard connects via RF only, Macally instead has offered both RF and Bluetooth connectivity in separate keyboards.  The RF one sells for $69.99.  However, if you prefer the alternative Macally also makes this same keyboard with Bluetooth for $89.99.  Frankly I prefer the RF keyboard since it is more stable and less likely to lock up.

This RF keyboard is priced at $10 more than the Logitech K750. But what do you get for that extra charge?

One of the biggest omissions of the Logitech keyboard was the inclusion of a Caps Lock light, presumably due to wanting to keep power consumption to a minimum. Macally has corrected that issue by providing such a light. There are other benefits as well.  This keyboard is slightly heavier making it more stable on your desktop.

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REVIEW: Brother MFC-J995DW Multifunction

Printer manufacturers hope you will buy their printer at a low price and not worry about the cost of cartridges.  Epson started to change that with its series of WorkForce printers that rely on liquid-fillable storage tanks at a price point of over $400.

Brother has now taken that strategy by selling liquid-filled cartridges that are not refillable, but last one to two years. The result is their series of INKvestment multifunction printers than run $199.99 to $349.99 depending on how long you want the cartridges to last. Otherwise, both models have the same features but different ink levels.

This review covers the Brother MFC-J995DW that includes one-year of ink in the box.  Although list price is $199.99, discounts can be found as little as $170.  When you factor in what you pay in ink cartridges over a year, this printer may seem like a bargain.

This wireless printer does it all: print, scan copy and fax with your option of a document scanner or a flatbed.  It does all of these tasks effortlessly.

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WiFi Connectivity Experience

A few years ago, I received a Ring video doorbell as a Christmas gift. If you’re not familiar with one of these they are a great simple device that replaces the exterior doorbell on your house. Most exterior doorbells are really just a simple switch, but these devices include a wide-angle video camera, speaker and microphone for two-way conversation with anyone who rings the bell. I have the earlier version 1 which includes a 720p HD camera, but the newer models incorporate a 1080p camera for better resolution. The device couples with your home’s WiFi network, so that you can connect with it on your iPhone. In addition to iOS, Ring supplies application software for Android, Windows and Mac so there should be no problem with compatibility. 

In my case, the problem came with my regular WiFi signal not being sufficiently strong to work with the doorbell mounted on the outside of the house near the front door while my WiFi router is in my basement office. Fortunately, I had an old Linksys WRT160 router which I had replaced a few years ago with a Netgear WNDR4000. The Netgear was a significant improvement to the older Linksys which did not support the 5GHz speed. The doorbell only uses the 2.4GHz band so I created a separate network for the doorbell and the living room where the signal from the Netgear was weak.

First Netgear Router

The WNDR4000 was fine with my computer located in the same room as the router, but my wife who has her computer on the third floor would often have poor connectivity on the 5GHz band and occasionally even on the 2.4GHz band. Neither router supported the newer 801.11ac protocol, but we rarely need to transfer large files between computers on different floors. Another drawback with this setup is it left us with 5 networks broadcasting their availability; two from the Netgear WNDR4000 (one for the 2.4 band and one for the 5GHz band), one from the Linksys, one from the Comcast cable modem and one for the xfinitywifi network which Comcast foists on all its subscribers for anyone to use when they visit your home. The main reason for not using the WiFi network on the cable modem is that the bandwidth is substantially inferior. Throughput with the cable modem network in barely 25% of what the bandwidth is when connecting through the Netgear router.

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REVIEW: Macally Ultra Slim Wireless RF Keyboard for Mac

Apple introduced a wireless keyboard with the numeric keypad over a year ago.  Although it is a perfectly fine Mac keyboard, one has to question why one needs to pay $130 when there are other competitors out there.  Logitech, for example, has offered a solar-powered full-size keyboard for $60.

Another competitor is Macally that has been selling Mac keyboards for many years now.  Its latest keyboard is the Macally Ultra Slim Wireless RF Keyboard for Mac(RFACEKEYA).  It is priced at $69.99, but typically sells for $10 less than that.

What makes this keyboard unique is that it has a full-size aluminum keyboard with a numeric keypad that uses a 2.4 GHz RF receiver dongle (like Logitech’s) instead of opting for Bluetooth.  Anyone familiar with Bluetooth knows that this platform can be tricky and can often require re-pairing.  The RF connection is more stable with fewer interruptions.

This Macally keyboard uses scissor switch keycaps making for a comfortable typing experience.  Its ultra-slim shape saves space on your desktop or drawer. Continue reading…

REVIEW: Macally Quick Switch Bluetooth® Keyboard (ACEBTKEY)

If you’ve been looking for a keyboard that is comparable to Apple’s own devices, Logitech would seem to be a likely contender. Their keyboards offer Bluetooth® connections but also solar panels, illuminated keys and can control tablets and phones, just to name a few.

Very few Mac owners would consider Macally keyboards, yet they, like Logitech, have kept up with technology.  The latest example is the Macally Quick Switch Bluetooth® Keyboard(ACEBTKEY) that even tops Apple and Logitech’s keyboards.

Although most of these keyboards feature specific media controls designed for Macs, they will work with PCs as well.  This Macally keyboard does just that.  Their “Quick Switch” feature refers to the ability to use Bluetooth® on many devices.  In fact, this keyboard can handle up to 3 different devices including Macs, PCs, tablets (iPads) and smartphones (iOS and Android).

This keyboard is ultra slim with only 15mm (0.59”) in thickness.  This amazing since it has 110 keys including 20 shortcut keys, presets and a numerical pad.  The thin keycaps with its fast scissor flexors will be appreciated by most typists. Continue reading…

REVIEW: Apple Magic Keyboard vs. Matias & Kanex

In 2016 Apple introduced its Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad.  Previously if you wanted an Apple wireless keyboard, you would have received one with your iMac or you could purchase one for $99.  The catch is that no number keypad was included.  This just changed in June, 2017.

Before this new Apple keyboard was introduced, both Matias and Kanex had released full wireless keyboards with a numeric keypad  for less money.  This review is an attempt to compare these three keyboards.  All three are extended keyboards with numeric keypads and aluminum bodies.

Apple Magic Keyboard with Number Pad

I’m not sure just what is “magical” about this keyboard.  It is a full-size Bluetooth keyboard complete with a lightning cable for recharging.  Although there is very little height to the keys, they work capably.  Just install the included cable between the keyboard and your Mac for a full charge which should last about 40 days.  While your keyboard is charging, you will still have full functionality as a wired keyboard. Continue reading…

REVIEW: Canon imageCLASS LBP612Cdw

Color laser printers have left their mark giving users crisp printouts at lower per-page prices. One of the newer examples is Canon Color imageCLASS 612Cdw.

This printer is designed for the home or office user that wants crisp laser printing at a lower cost per page than what inkjets offer. Although this laser printer is listed at $279.99, some retailers are selling it for around $185.

It is built like a tank weighing in at 34.1 pounds.


  • Wireless Printing lets you print directly from your iPhone, Mac or PC, iPad or other mobile device without a router
  • 5-line LCD display (monochrome)
  • Automatic Duplex Printing lets you save paper by printing on both sides
  • Multiple Connectivity lets you connect by Ethernet LAN, or wireless.
  • Recommended Monthly Volume: 30,000 pages.

The quality of the printouts was excellent for a laser printer. If you have to have deep and rich color printouts, use a quality inkjet printer. These printers are made for color gradations that lasers cannot match. But they have come close in recent years as the Canon LBP612Cdw can attest.

This printer has a rated speed of 19ppm for black or 11ppm for color or 11-ppm for any two-sided printing

Printing a single-page Word document took 12 seconds after warm up. Ten copies of a single page took 40 second to print. Continue reading…