Cherry Marlin 

No I am not going to tell you about my girlfriend. The Cherry Marlin is wireless cordless desktop (keyboard and mouse) set, that I can honestly say took less than two minutes to setup.
cherry evolution marlin kbd mouse

Open box, remove items from plastic bags. Plug the charger into the mouse and a USB port, plug the receiver into a USB port and that's it. No linking required, most keyboard mouse sets need you to get the devices to pair but none of that here. There is a CD (to get the most from them) but as they come out of the box the mouse works (until charged, via the USB lead) and so does the keyboard. So as far as ease of use goes that could not be easier.

The rechargeable mouse is not small at 13x8x4cm (maximum dimensions) and is also naturally a little heavier than some as the charger mechanism is inside the rodent.

The keyboard is rather different it is very slim and quite capable of being used flat for those who prefer it. For those who were brought up on manual typewriters - oh that's me - who prefer some rake that also is possible. It is 45.5x21.5x1cm and that latter width figure is the maximum at the built in wrist support at the front of the keyboard.

Whereas most keyboards seem to have extra keys like multimedia controls at the rear of the keyboard behind the function keys these five keys along with volume reduction/increase keys are at the front just beyond the wrist rest, I found these useful as you can really butt the rear of the keyboard with only 1cm from the rear of the function keys to the back of the keyboard.

This is a 109 key keyboard (excluding the push bars for the audio controls. The other four keys not always found are those above the keypad for calculator, mail, home and sleep. One thing some may miss is lights for num lock, scroll lock and caps lock. The keyboard is powered by two 'AAA' batteries (supplied).

Apart from the standard left and right buttons together with the now obligatory scroll wheel in between there are three buttons inset into the left side of the mouse. The furthest forward one is on/off to save battery power when not in use, the other two (by default) take you back and forward through web pages.

I found the added weight of the mouse - 160 grams - together with the increased hump of it's back a little hard to adjust to. It means that the mouse is further into the palm and less on the fingers.

I was somewhat puzzled as the mouse is described as 'right handed' well I am naturally left handed but find no difficulty in using a mouse with either hand. Holding it in either hand is no problem and moving it around the desktop likewise. I suppose you are putting extra strain on your little finger when operating it left handed as the indentation that holds the three buttons is operated from that side. I suspect you are unlikely to turn it on/off when on the desktop as I always found operating the slider easiest when it was off the desk. As for control of the other buttons on the left side these require no great pressure so my little finger can operate them as easily as a thumb.

I understand that the number of people being left handed is in fact growing as children are no longer discouraged from writing left handed at school so I find it strange to market it as 'right handed' when it really can be used by either hand.

I liked the simple lines of keyboard the added hump of the mouse I am unsure about.

Doing my Internet searches found the Cherry Marlin keyboard/mouse set at a best price of £44.99 including free delivery from the first link below.

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Comment by clemenzina, 30 Apr 2008 16:21

Without wishing to waste Gadget Speak's resources and readers' time with irrelevant comments...

Being a conventionally trained touch typist, I always had problems with Windows' default setting of using the Caps Lock key to unlock as well as to lock the caps.  Since discovering that, during installation or afterwards in Control Panel, the setting can be changed to 'old-fashioned typewriter mode' - ie the Shift key unlocks caps - it's not so bad.  But old habits die hard, and I still check the light frequently, especially when entering passwords.

Thanks for the info, Pete, re the amount of power eaten up by those lights!

Comment by petew, 30 Apr 2008 9:38

I don't think lack of lights is that unusual on wireless keyboards. They can be a significant drain on battery power - the difference between batteries that last a few weeks against a few months.

The Microsoft wireless keyboard I reviewed a while back didn't have lights on the keyboard. Instead the lights were on the USB dongle which if you wanted you could position where you could see them. The drivers would also flash up status changes to caps-lock etc on the screen.

When you're used to the lights it mainly takes a little getting used to. It's one of the lesser annoyances with some keyboards!

Comment by clemenzina, 29 Apr 2008 17:19

Thanks for the useful review, Paul.

The lack of lights, particularly for Caps Lock, would rule out this keyboard for me.  I am surprised and disappointed at Cherry's choice.

As for mouse-handedness - I use a right-handed 3-button mouse left-handed on my left side and have no problem whatsoever with it, though I don't fancy my baby finger's chances of contributing much on this Cherry.  I too am surprised they would appear to restrict the market for the Marlin in this day and age.

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