Mac users: Check out this keyboard and mouse in Logitech’s Master Series

mac-users:-check-out-this-keyboard-and-mouse-in-logitech’s-master-series

Find out why Erik Eckel calls Logitech’s MX Keys and MX Master 3 an ideal companion pair for Mac users.

This mouse and keyboard by Logitech could be a game-changer for Mac users.

Image: Logitech

Like grilled cheese and tomato soup, Logitech’s MX Keys Mac keyboard and MX Master 3 mouse are a particularly good combination. By themselves, each is great. But combined, whoa. You’re onto something.

Just as is probably true for you, I spend the better part of each weekday using a keyboard and mouse. I learned long ago the importance of higher quality peripherals. Considering the thousands of hours a year spent typing, scrolling, and clicking, I’ve never encountered trouble justifying such investments. And don’t let any fancy financial types tell you computer components aren’t investments: These accessories take your investment and grow the initial outlay into greater profit and value via the labor you complete wielding these devices.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Every time your fingers strike a key or your hand embraces the curves and buttons of a mouse, you should feel tactile confidence and comfort. Compatibility issues should prove ancient history. You shouldn’t have to fret over short battery lives, and you assuredly should no longer be messing with wired cable connections for keyboards and mice.

Logitech’s Bluetooth peripherals for Macs tandem delivers on all fronts. 

The MX Keys for Mac keyboard

Let’s start with the MX Keys for Mac keyboard (Figure A).

Figure A

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac keyboard boasts wireless Bluetooth connectivity, backlit keys, and excellent battery life.

Image: Logitech

Let’s get one item out of the way: The standard Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is close to perfect. Apple’s flat, square keys respond firmly and accurately when pressed. Battery life, too, is excellent, and the Magic Keyboard connects easily to Macs. So, why do you even need the Logitech?

For one, the MX Keys for Mac is cheaper. Apple’s silver model is $129, and the price jumps to $149 for the Space Gray version. The Logitech alternative costs just $99.99.

SEE: Top 10 iPad tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Need another reason? If you’re among those who carefully curate their workspaces, Apple’s Space Gray Magic Keyboard, for which you pay the additional $20 surcharge, doesn’t match Space Gray MacBook Pros. The Apple keyboards are closer to black, while MacBook Pros are lighter and grayer, making them appear mismatched. The Logitech is almost a perfect color match, which those who take pride in their offices or prize design and appearance will appreciate.

The third factor, however, is the deal breaker. The Logitech keyboard is backlitThe Apple Magic Keyboard at, again, almost $150, is not. I work from a home office, as do so many of us now, and depending upon the day, I can’t read the keys on an Apple keyboard whenever the weather turns overcast.

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac (Figure B) definitively solved this problem. There’s no more hunting for special characters and functions, as the individual keys are literally glowing in the dark.

Figure B

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac keyboard’s backlit keys permit working in low-light environments.

Image: Erik Eckel

Other advantages of Logitech’s MX Keys for Mac include comfortable keys, which feature a sculpted design inviting to fingertips. The individual indentations naturally settle fingers into the ideal strike position, and the raised ridges on the F and J keys are more pronounced, too, making it easier to confirm your hand position on the home row without having to look down from your display. The 5 key on the integrated numeric keyboard boasts the same ridged bar, of course, which accountants and others routinely performing calculations will appreciate.

SEE: WWDC 2020: The biggest takeaways (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Thanks to a smartly engineered proximity sensor, the keyboard lights up when your fingers approach the keyboard, too, not after first errantly striking the wrong key because the keys weren’t lit. Careful energy programming, meanwhile, helps power the keyboard to months of use between charge cycles, which can be completed in two hours. Don’t worry, either, if you forget to charge the keyboard. It’s no big deal, as a quick three- or four-minute charge using the provided USB-C cable powers the keyboard an entire day.

The MX Master 3 for Mac mouse

The Logitech MX Master 3 for Mac mouse, like the Logitech keyboard, closely matches the finish of Apple’s Space Gray Macs and pairs elegantly with its MX Keys sibling (Figure C).

Figure C

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac keyboard and MX Master 3 mouse are ideal companions.

Image: Logitech

The Apple Magic Mouse 2, which costs $79 for silver and $99 in Space Gray and serves as the default for most users, is subject to perceiving various touches and inadvertent contact as specific intended gestures and is too small for my hand to remotely operate comfortably. The MX Master 3 is much larger and fits the hand in a much more natural way thanks to its contoured shape (Figure D).

Figure D

The Logitech MX Master 3 mouse features precision components that power superior performance versus lesser competitors.

Image: Logitech

Those factors alone justify choosing the Logitech mouse over Apple’s offering. But the MX Master 3 packs several additional significant advantages, too.

Just as properly toasting bread when making a grilled cheese and adding fresh ground black pepper to the accompanying tomato bisque creates a more savory experience, the functionality Logitech’s Logi Options software provides business users is compelling. For example, I program one of the mouse’s multiple individually customizable buttons to launch Mission Control, saving time and preserving ergonomic efficiency throughout the day every day.

SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)

Using Logi Options, you can also save and upload your mouse settings to your Logitech account, which permits backing up configurations and migrating settings to other computers, as well as set programmable functions for individual applications. The ability to set these individual application profiles is a game changer for those who regularly perform specific functions using Adobe and Microsoft applications, among others.

As for the mouse’s performance, it’s unsurpassed in my experience. The MX Master 3 can scroll 1,000 lines per second. Programmers and editors benefit from the speed. The machined steel electromagnetic ratchet also provides precision scrolling accompanied by a confidence-inspiring tactile clicking sensation. Just tap the top Wheel Mode Shift button to toggle between the settings.

Fortunately, battery life is just as good as its sibling keyboard. I go months between charges. When charging is required, like the MX Keys keyboard, the MX Master 3 ships with a USB-C cable. Just a couple minutes provides enough charge for an entire day, and two hours sets you up for another mammoth run. For $99.99, I can’t find a better mouse.

Mate these Logitech Master Series peripherals to your Mac, and I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the upgrade each offers over its Apple equivalents. And that’s saying something, as Apple’s keyboard is first rate and its mouse is widely used. Take the time you save using the Logitech components to make yourself a good grilled cheese with a side of soup. Comfort food’s almost always a safe bet, as are these Logitech tools.

http://www.techrepublic.com/

Apple Weekly Newsletter

Whether you want iPhone and Mac tips or the latest enterprise-specific Apple news, we’ve got you covered.
Delivered Tuesdays



Sign up today

Also see

Check Point helps Zoom resolve “Vanity URL” security problem

check-point-helps-zoom-resolve-“vanity-url”-security-problem

The loophole gave cybercriminals an opening through specialized Zoom URL links.

video conference

IMAGE: iStock/fizkes

Massively popular video conferencing platform Zoom has worked with cybersecurity company Check Point to resolve a glaring security issue centered on vanity URLs.

When told about the exploit by Check Point researchers, officials with Zoom put additional safeguards in place to protect users and the issue has now been fully addressed. 

With the vanity URL feature, organizations can create custom URLs on Zoom like “http://yourcompany.zoom.us/” and customized versions of Zoom invitation links. Check Point researchers Adi Ikan, Liri Porat, and Ori Hamama said in a study that they worked with Zoom to identify two ways cybercriminals could exploit the widely used feature. 

“Prior to Zoom’s fix, an attacker could have attempted to impersonate an organization’s Vanity URL link and send invitations which appeared to be legitimate to trick a victim,” the study said. 

“In addition, the attacker could have directed the victim to a sub-domain dedicated website, where the victim entered the relevant meeting ID and would not be made aware that the invitation did not come from the legitimate organization.”

SEE: Zero trust security: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

If exploited, a cybercriminal would have been able to manipulate ID meeting links by posing as an employee of a potential victim organization via Zoom, giving the hacker a vector for stealing credentials or sensitive information.

To start the exploitation, an attacker would have begun by introducing themselves as legitimate employees in a company, according to the Check Point report. The hacker could then send an invitation from an organization’s Vanity URL to relevant customers to gain credibility, and finally, the attacker could proceed to steal credentials and sensitive information, as well as commit other fraudulent actions.

Vanity URLs are required for configuration if you intend to turn on Single Sign On and organizations can also brand this vanity page to have customized logos. The vanity URL feature is only available for the business version of Zoom 

It is unclear if the issue was ever exploited by cybercriminals, but hackers easily could change the invitation URL to include a registered sub-domain of their choice. 

“In other words, if the original link was https://zoom.us/j/##########, the attacker could change it to https://.zoom.us/j/##########. Without particular cybersecurity training on how to recognize the appropriate URL, a user receiving this invitation may not recognize that the invitation was not genuine or issued from an actual or real organization,” the study said. 

“Some organizations have their own Zoom web interface for conferences. A hacker could target such an interface and attempt to redirect a user to enter a meeting ID into the malicious Vanity URL rather than the actual or genuine Zoom web interface.  As with the direct links attacks, without careful cybersecurity training, a victim of such attacks may not have been able to recognize the malicious URL and have fallen prey to the attack.”

The study included photos of the kinds of screens people would come across if the problem had been exploited. There are dozens of examples of what could be done with a problem like that and the report cites an example where an attacker could introduce themselves as “legitimate employees” in a company, sending an invitation from an organization’s Vanity URL to relevant customers in order to gain credibility. 

This alone could be used to steal the credentials and information of people who justifiably may not be able to tell the difference between real and fake links. 

Usage of Zoom has skyrocketed since countries around the world instituted quarantine measures as a way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The platform went from around 10 million daily users in December 2019 to more than 300 million by April 2020. 

The platform has faced widespread criticism for a number of failings as usage reached unprecedented levels. Check Point worked with Zoom earlier this year on another security issue, according to a blog post from the company. 

Officials with Zoom did not respond to requests for comment about the issue, but Ikan, the group manager at Check Point Research, said now that Zoom has become vital to millions of businesses, it was incumbent upon everyone to make sure it is safe. 

“Because Zoom has become one of the world’s leading communication channels for businesses, governments and consumers, it’s critical that threat actors are prevented  from exploiting Zoom for criminal purposes,” Ikan said in a statement. 

“Working together with Zoom’s security team, we have helped Zoom provide users globally with a safer, simpler and trusted communication experience so they can take full advantage of the service’s benefits.”

Cybersecurity Insider Newsletter

Strengthen your organization’s IT security defenses by keeping abreast of the latest cybersecurity news, solutions, and best practices.
Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays



Sign up today

Also see