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I love some good leather.
I have a fascination with wallets that I think is relatively common among guys, or at least those who are in my most immediate circles. For me, a low profile minimalist wallet that carries more stuff than you think it should, without adding bulk, is the white whale of wallets. Recently, I switched to the insanely overpriced, but irritatingly awesome MagSafe wallet from Apple that attaches to the back of my iPhone 12 Pro Max, and it looks good whether matched against the navy silicone phone case or the dark leather case.
Another fascination that I have, and have always had, is with bags, briefcases and backpacks. When I was in high school and early in college, I always wanted a higher-end backpack but could never afford it. Then, on an unexpectedly memorable trip to K-Mart with my mom, I stumbled across my first decent leather bag that I still have almost 20 years later. Ever since that first bag, though, I’ve always been looking for the ideal bag for me, which of course changes from year to year, and allows me to keep enabling my habit.
Sadly, or perhaps not, keyboards and mice don’t come in leather…but I have a longstanding fixation on computer accessories. This is another obsession that is very functional, since the input methods used on your day-to-day computer are exceedingly important; they are, after all, the basis of your interaction with the virtual world. More specifically for me, it is Logitech that often comes through with the home runs on these devices, like they did on the MX Master 2S and the MX Anywhere 3 mice that I still use all the time.
There’s no such thing as a Logitech Laptop
Well, at least not yet there isn’t. Indeed, for third-party peripherals, Logitech often scratches the itch (so to speak), but when it comes to OEM hardware my favorite all around input methods tend to be Apple (more recently, after they fixed their keyboards) and Dell. So, naturally, when presented with an opportunity to check out the KM7120W wireless keyboard and mouse from Dell, I was excited.
I expected the KM7120W to compete with the likes of the Logitech MK850, an easy-to-recommend product for anyone looking for a decent wireless mouse and keyboard. Much to my surprise, the keyboard design was far more minimalist than I expected it to be, and I thought it a potential replacement for my Magic Keyboard. In terms of design language, this sits alongside the MX Keys which is in Logitech’s top-tier of products.
Some KEY observations (see what I did there?)
This is a full-sized keyboard, but with an asterisk: I’m not a fan of the condensed key configuration with the delete/home/end/insert and page up/page down keys. The arrow keys are also condensed, and it takes some getting used to. But in general, I struggle to understand why Dell made the decision to eliminate the space you’d normally see in a full-sized keyboard, just to save on some real estate.
Back on the design train, the keyboard is almost entirely plastic, and while it doesn’t have the same heft as, for instance, the Logitech Craft keyboard, it still has a solid, well-built and quality feel to it. I really like the three-tone gray color scheme being used as well.
When it comes to ergonomics, you really only have two configurations for the keyboard, and neither of them are totally flat. I tend to like a fully flat typing surface, but I found the default non-raised setting to be adequate. The legs themselves have an anti-slip surface even when folded down along the back of the keyboard, which is a nice use of the built-in design.
The typing experience is ideal for me—it’s almost a perfect combination of Dell laptops and Lenovo laptops, which if you’re familiar with those, you recognize that to be high praise to say the least.
I will name her Angelina
Dell did a really good job with this mouse. From a size perspective, it sits perfectly between the MX Master 2S and the MX Anywhere 3, making it what I’d call “medium.” It also is almost entirely plastic, and despite being slightly larger, the lighter weight materials would make it a decent travel mouse if you like something a bit more substantial when you’re on the road.
Dell may have missed the mark a bit with buttons: this mouse has only 5 (left/right click, traditional forward/back along the thumb, and scroll wheel click). They redeemed themselves, however, with some clever storage and battery access which is hidden under the top plate. The plate is held on by plastic clips which aren’t overly aggressive, along with a couple of magnets. Below the plate is storage for the included USB dongle, as well as the battery that powers it. Even the USB dongle is held in place with magnets—it’s pretty neat.
Both the mouse and the keyboard can be paired with up to 3 devices. Two of those devices are via bluetooth, and the third via the included USB dongle.
If you are the type to use a single keyboard with multiple devices, you know how annoying it can be to remember which device is assigned to which pairing spot on your peripheral. Dell partly addresses this by defaulting the first device assignment to whatever the dongle is plugged in to. It’s not immediately clear to me if it’s possible to assign a device by bluetooth to the first slot, but I wasn’t successful in doing so.
Dell also provides three AA batteries and claims 36 months of battery life from those batteries. Needless to say, I highly doubt that figure, but I guess only time will tell.
It all comes down to software
Possibly, one of Logitech’s biggest selling points is the Logitech Options software that allows for customization of their peripherals, so Dell has a big order to fill in that regard. Fortunately, there is a piece of software from Dell that allows for some such customizations with the KM7120W.
It’s worth noting that these devices are primarily intended for use with Windows computers, since the Dell Peripheral Management software is not available on macOS. So, while you may miss out on some nice customization options and fixing button assignments, this Dell wireless keyboard and mouse are fully compatible with Apple devices. I also imagine there are third-party tools which can create customizations if you look hard enough.
Customization in the software is straightforward and easy to understand, but the options are limited. I think Dell could one-up Logitech if they put some development effort into their software and fully open up customizations for all keys and buttons, instead of only a subset. At this time, only the keyboard’s function row and the mouse’s thumb and center click buttons can be customized.
These customizations go beyond system actions, and include key press combinations. One big let down, however, is that the software does not allow you to switch the scroll wheel direction, and while I may be in the minority on this one, the default scroll direction for up and down don’t make ergonomic sense (prove me wrong). Still, switching the scroll direction is still possibly through registry edits if you want to get that crazy.
Another challenger enters the ring
My love for Logitech peripherals is no mystery—not on this site, and not in my personal and work life. That said, Dell’s KM7120W which retails at $89.99 seems to be a decent competitor for a run-of-the-mill Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. I’d even give a slight design edge to Dell in this case.
There are definitely some areas where I’d like to see Dell grow with their offering: the use of even more premium materials, like some accent metals, would go a long way. Adding options for button and key customizations to their Peripheral Management software, along with releasing a Mac-compatible version, would also add relevance to the product and make it even more competitive.
The price, though, is right where I think it needs to be; for $90 you get a solid product with allegedly amazing battery life, an excellent minimalist design, and a reasonable amount of functionality.
This product was provided by Best Buy and Dell in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. The opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author and have not been reviewed or approved by any sponsors prior to posting.