Review: Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard for Mac, iPad and iPhone
Back in November of 2012, we reviewed Logitech's K810 Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard. While that keyboard is amazingly good, it is designed for primary use with Windows machines. In keeping with Logitech's recent trend to embrace the Apple community, the new Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard (US$99.99) brings all there is to love about the K810 to an Apple-friendly format. Let's take a look, and then TUAW readers have a chance to enter a giveaway for this stellar input device.
At a glance, the Easy-Switch Keyboard resembles the keyboards on the most recent MacBooks more than it does Apple's $69 Bluetooth Keyboard. With black keys on a sleek aluminum board, the Logitech product could easily be mistaken for a keyboard ripped from a new MacBook Pro. The resemblance doesn't end there; like the MacBook keyboards, the Easy-Switch Keyboard is backlit, whereas Apple's Bluetooth Keyboard is not.
Unlike the K810 we reviewed last year, the Easy-Switch Keyboard is definitely made for Apple products. The command, option, and control keys are in their familiar positions, and many of the function keys replicate their Apple keyboard equivalents.
What's funny about the Logitech keyboard is that it actually looks more like the perfect keyboard to accompany an iMac than Apple's keyboard does, since there's a small black "bezel" at the top of the Logitech keyboard.
The most important attribute of any keyboard is how it feels. Over the past five years or so, I've become very fond of the quiet and reliable Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. It has a good level of tactile feedback for my high-speed touch typing, and it's quiet -- none of that infernal clacking that some of my fellow bloggers (I'm looking at you, Erica Sadun!) seem to like.
The Logitech Easy-Switch keyboard is equally good in terms of silence and feedback. The key spacing is identical to that on the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, so if you're familiar with that keyboard you can move to Logitech's product with no concerns. In fact, I think I prefer the slightly more dished keys of the Easy-Switch to Apple's Bluetooth Keyboard.
Apple's current keyboard uses two AA batteries -- I chose to purchase one of their rechargeable battery sets and recharger. Usually OS X gives an early warning when the batteries are about to lose charge, so I can make sure I've got another pair all ready to go. On occasion, I've been surprised and haven't had a set charged up, meaning that I am without a keyboard or have to use non-rechargeable batteries temporarily. Not so with the Logitech keyboard. It has a built-in rechargeable battery pack, so there's no need to replace batteries. If it happens to run out of juice, you can plug it into a USB port on your Mac to recharge it and continue to use it.
Frankly, Logitech does backlit keyboards better than Apple. When you're typing away on the Easy-Switch Keyboard in a dim or dark room, the keys are backlit to an appropriate level so that you can see the keys. Stop typing for about 15 seconds, and the backlight fades away to save power. Move your hands back near the keyboard, and the backlight appears again. There's no need to touch the keyboard to get the backlight back -- handy if it's really dark.
The other big deal about this keyboard is the Easy-Switch capability, which is conveniently implemented as the F1, F2, and F3 buttons. Easy-Switch lets you pair the keyboard with up to three devices -- say an iPad, iPhone, and a Mac -- and then use it with just a tap on one of the buttons. There's no re-pairing required. In my tests with the keyboard, it paired quickly every time with every device.
I give the Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard a big double thumbs-up with frosting on top. Seriously, the keyboard's backlighting, feel, and ability to switch instantly between devices makes it a winner in my book.
- Design matches iMac perfectly
- Backlighting is useful in low-light conditions, the auto-off feature saves battery charge, and the proximity sensor automatically turns the backlight back on when your hands near the keys
- Ability to pair with and switch between three different devices, either OS X or iOS
- Built-in rechargeable battery can be recharged during use through USB cable
- Good feel to the keyboard, and solid feedback from the keys
- None to speak of
Who is it for?
- Anyone with a Mac who needs a backlit keyboard that can be used with multiple devices
You've read about it, now have a chance to win it. 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 January 20, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected and will receive a Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard for Mac, iPad and iPhone valued at US$99.99
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.
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