Canon PIXMA MX850i, Logitech MX5500, Paragon Partition Manager 8.5

Paragon Partition Manager 8.5
Price: $39.95 (US)

Partitioning is a bit out of the league of the average consumer computer user, but it’s a skill that might become more useful if you have any interest in creating bootable recovery areas of your disk in case of start-up file corruption, backups or using and running more than one operating system.

If so, partitioning can be a very fiddly manual process, but Partition Manager makes it much easier, giving you a full graphical representation of your disk. The things you’ll do with a newly partitioned drive are going to be complicated enough, so the one-click control to create, delete, merge or copy partitions are welcome. Basic functions like a disk defragmenter only add to the value. 3/5

Canon Pixma MX850
Price: $449

The PIXMA MX850 is a step up from the usual multifunction centre and has a price to match. First, there’s a document feeder, something not a lot of units in this size and class have that makes a handy addition if you’re scanning or copying a large number of pages.

We didn’t detect any difference in print speed from comparable models and it’s the fax component that accounts for the extra price — you can get away with a simple copy/scan/print unit for much less nowadays, so weigh up whether fax is an essential option for you in this PDF/email day and age.

The PIXMA MX850 is solid and well built, changing the six individual ink cartridges is easy but the instructions to set up networked printing over a LAN were woeful, so be prepared to spend some time on hold to Canon customer service to get that sorted out. 3/5

Logitech MX 5500
Price: $249.95

It’s a big asking price, but the latest wireless keyboard and mouse combo from Logitech puts more control than ever at your disposal.

One of the keyboard’s best features is actually an unintended consequence. In a world where small is better, the large surface area and widely-spaced action areas make it very comfortable to use even without shortcuts for media controls, photo gallery, calculator, browser, email, Windows Media Centre and more to be found around the surface. The small LCD monitor gives you a running report on the time, date, weather and can even tell you when you have new email (Windows only).

The mouse is a futuristic-looking but comfortable device with even more shortcut keys and controls around its body, and if you do a lot of multitasking it’ll certainly raise your productivity — if you don’t consider $250 for a keyboard and mouse excessive. 3/5

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