Owners of iMacs, Mac minis, and Mac Pros don't have to look at the glowing keyboards of their MacBook-owning buddies with envy anymore. The folks at Logitech have introduced the new k810 Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard (US$99.99) so you can continue banging away at the keyboard in the dark. Let's take a look at this new piece of hardware.
The first thing you'll notice is that this keyboard is really targeted at users of Windows 8 and Windows RT. Unlike most Mac- and iOS-friendly keyboards on the market, the friendly command key has been replaced with the harsh reality of a Windows key. If you can overlook that slap in the face, you'll find a keyboard with some pretty interesting features.
First, let's take a look at the design. Unlike Apple's light aluminum Wireless Keyboard ($69), the k810 features dark anodized aluminum and black plastic construction with black key tops. There's an easy-to-reach power button on the right side of the keyboard and a "connect" button on the bottom for placing the accessory into a pairable state.
While the regular F-keys are still located across the top row of the keyboard, the first three are are also used for a unique function -- providing the k810 with access to three different devices. With most Bluetooth keyboards, a single computer or tablet is paired at any time, but the k810 provides easy switching between three different devices. For example, the keyboard can be paired with a Mac, an iPad, and an iPhone, and switching to any of the devices is as easy has pressing a single button.
As the name implies, the k810 Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard has backlit keys. The Logitech logo at the top of the keyboard also glows in a not-too-subtle reminder that the keyboard is powered up. Charging of the keyboard is done through a standard USB to micro-USB cable that is included.
Size-wise, the k810 is almost identical in size to Apple's Wireless Keyboard. It weighs in at 18 ounces, and is quite portable.
There are some features on the k810 that are incredibly cool. In order to make battery life as long as possible (Logitech doesn't supply estimated life figures...), there's a proximity sensor built into the keyboard. If you take your hands away from it for about 15 seconds, the backlighting dims and then disappears. When your hands get near the keyboard, the backlight turns on again. It's magic!
The k810 has a very good feel to it. The keys aren't as "stiff" as those on the Apple Keyboard, which actually makes for smoother typing. The placement of most of the keys is identical; the main exception is in the bottom row where fn, control, option/alt, and command are replaced with control, fn, "Windows" and alt. In the top row -- where the function (fn) keys reside -- the buttons do not correspond to the functions that most Mac and iOS users expect.
That was my biggest problem with this keyboard; it's obviously not made for Mac users. The Windows key will act as a command key, though, although it's not in the location that most Mac users will expect it.
The ability for the k810 to be paired with three different devices and switch between them with the push of one of those top row buttons is unique and very useful. I used it with my iMac, iPhone, and iPad, and linking to any one of the devices was as simple as pushing the first, second or third function key. A blue "radio" icon appears above the function key when pushed, and then it flashes until the device and keyboard are linked.
Anyone who has up to three devices they'd like to use with a Bluetooth keyboard should find the Logitech k810 to be a winner. It's reasonably priced, it's backlit, and the easy-switching function for multiple devices is incredibly smart. Best of all, it has a great feel to it and will be a compact wireless keyboard that most heavy keyboard users will love.
- Easy-switching of Bluetooth pairing between up to three devices
- Backlighting with proximity sensor for longer battery life
- Excellent keyboard feel and feedback
- Nice looks, although not "matched" to most Apple products
- Rechargeable internal battery
- Keyboard arrangement is different to what Mac users are used to
- More expensive that Apple's Wireless Keyboard (unless you take the cost of rechargeable batteries into account)
Who is it for?
- Anyone -- Mac or PC user -- who wants to have a lightweight, portable backlit keyboard that can be used with up to two other Bluetooth devices (iPhone and iPad, for example) with the touch of a function key.
It's the keyboard that's so nice we want to give it away to a TUAW reader! Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before November 13, 2012 Eastern Standard Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected and will receive a Logitech k810 Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.