Review: Three-way typing with the Logitech K780 wireless keyboard
Keyboards are a dime-a-dozen these days – figuratively speaking, of course. Given affordable pricing and the ample range of features to choose from, one could easily spend several hours narrowing down on the perfect typing tool. But if you're looking for a unit that ditches wires, plays nice with mobile devices, and can reduce your desktop clutter, the latest K780 keyboard from Logitech may be the one for you. We recently had the chance to get hands and fingers on, to put it to the test.
Design & comfort
The Logitech K780 multi-device wireless keyboard shares a similar look, feel, and functionality with several of Logitech's other keyboards, most notably the K380. In fact, the K780 could be considered the full desktop version of the K380, given the near-identical design that also extends to a number pad. But one other major difference is that the Logitech K780 sports a triangle-shaped ridge behind the top row of keys. Just as with the Logitech K480 keyboard, the K780 lets users prop up smartphones and tablets for easier viewing while typing.
Given the K780 keyboard's 15-in (38-cm) length, there's sufficient room to rest a large-screen smartphone (e.g. Samsung's Galaxy Note series, Apple's iPhone Plus series) and an 8-in tablet – both in landscape orientation – within this integrated device cradle. Unlike the K480 keyboard, the K780 leaves open ends that can accommodate larger and/or more devices by allowing them freedom to slide and stick out at the sides. The cradle's off-white surface material is smooth with a slightly-rubberized feel to it, which gives that proper bit of friction to keep things in place.
Although the groove is deep and wide enough to keep tall portrait-oriented tablets (up to 12 in) steady and secure, expect to have your devices naked for best results. Some protective cases are slim enough to fit within, although – depending on how thin – it tilts the viewing angle forward. Anything larger just won't work, or won't work as well as Logitech intends. But if your desktop is a safe place, strip away and enjoy the easy freedom of typing and toggling keyboard input across your multiple screens.
As with other Logitech keyboards released in the past few years, the K780 features dual-connectivity and can pair with up to three devices at a time. The included 2.4-GHz USB receiver, which can be found tucked away inside the battery compartment (a pair of AAAs are included), offers plug-and-play operation with desktops/laptops. Smartphones and tablets simply connect via Bluetooth. A trio of white, numbered keys at the top of the K780 allow for near-instantaneous pairing and switching between devices. What's delightfully convenient about the Logitech K780 is its mix-and-match compatibility with Windows, Android, Mac OS, and iOS systems. Those who want added configuration over default keys/commands can do so with the Logitech Options 2.1 software.
Despite the Logitech K780 keyboard's low profile and svelte curves, it's heavier than you'd expect, which is a good thing. Along with five silicone feet, the 30-oz (875-g) weight keeps the keyboard firmly in place while typing; it takes a deliberate nudge in order to move it around on surfaces. The island-style keys sit securely (no rattle) within the frame, offering supple resistance and bounce at each press. You'll still hear familiar clicking as fingers flow through words and sentences, but the noise output is far more subdued compared to keyboards equipped with mechanical keys.
All of the K780's keys are ever-so-slightly convex (e.g. ctrl, fn, alt, spacebar, arrow keys, f-keys) or concave (most everything else), which gives a comfortable feel and sensation while typing, versus generically-flat keys. Although the spacing between keys is ideal – better than the Logitech K810/811 – not everyone will take to the circular style. It's personal preference, but we rather favor the "rounded-square" keys of the K480 keyboard.
While the Logitech K780 keyboard provides nearly the full array of keys and commands (e.g. number pad, media controls, shortcuts, etc.) that one would expect for a desktop keyboard, some will undoubtedly notice absent or different aspects. Pay attention to the caps and num lock (especially if you wish to avoid frustration while entering in passwords), since there are no LEDs to indicate when they're active. There are also no buttons for scroll lock or print screen. The F5 key performs a right-click (or menu options for mobile apps) instead of the common browser page refresh. And while we find typing on the K780's flat profile fitting to our preferred ergonomics, some may also miss the option to adjust heights via kickstand legs.
To some, the ability to work at a desktop computer and instantly toggle keyboard input between it and two additional mobile devices – conveniently perched on said keyboard – will feel like living the dream. Not only can the Logitech K780 reduce clutter by replacing separate smartphone/tablet stands, but devices are always within easy reach of fingertips. Answering a text message starts with only a few taps (screen unlock, switch keyboard input, open message) followed by typing, which is significantly faster and more efficient than thumbs or even apps like SwiftKey or Swype.
When pairing with the included USB receiver, the Logitech K780 is ready for input right as your finger is about to lift off the function key. For mobile devices and Bluetooth, it takes a split second as the connection is being established (device-side). One thing to note about tablets/smartphones is that not all apps recognize and/or know what to do differently when a Bluetooth hardware keyboard has been connected. So you can sometimes expect the on-screen touch keyboard to activate (oftentimes obscuring) even as you're typing with the K780.
If this is a pet peeve, apps like External Keyboard Helper Pro (available for Android on Google Play) will be the best US$2 ever spent. And it will also eliminate nearly every instance of double-spacebar entry on mobile devices (again, device-side), which can be a common encounter while typing on a connected Bluetooth keyboard.
Logitech certainly understands the keyboard game, and the K780 is a smooth unit to work with. Fingers don't need to press down too hard or far to register strokes (easy on fatigue), and the keys are able to handle 112+ wpm continual typing without any skips/misses, delays, or doubling-up.
Times when a key may not be recognized is when a finger (purposely) presses lightly and slowly at an edge instead of dead center. But type normally and everything will be fine. Even if a tablet/smartphone happens to be paired with other Bluetooth devices (such as a wireless mouse or speaker), the Logitech K780 maintains a steady, quirk-free connection almost completely to the standard 33 ft (10 m) – it should be more than enough for the nature and intent of the keyboard.
If your typing style is casual, deliberate, and/or moderate (maybe around 65 wpm), the Logitech K780 keyboard emits only the clean sounds of muted clicks. However, those who craft phrases with flying fingers (70+ wpm) may end up observing a weak squeak sound underscoring the depression of some keys – the spacebar in particular. In a busy home or office environment, this squeaking is mostly obscured by white noise and mental focus. But those who find themselves typing away in periods of serene silence may start to wonder if there is a way to carefully apply some keyboard lubricant (yes, this is a thing).
After three weeks of using the Logitech K780 keyboard all day, every day, it's hard to miss or want anything else. The overall typing experience is fast, fluid, and impressively functional across a trio of connected devices. It features most all the keys/commands one would expect for a full-size keyboard, regardless of operating system. The unit as a whole feels solidly-constructed, and the built-in device cradle is actually more convenient than one would think from just reading about it. Use it for a few hours, and you may find yourself permanently shelving all other tablet/smartphone docks or stands.
Logitech claims that the K780 can last up to two years of daily office typing with the included AAA batteries. Although impossible to validate after only three weeks of use, it shouldn't be that big a deal for anyone to swap in fresh batteries every six or so months anyway. If you happen to be a word-warrior, you can anticipate the most-used letters to have markings gradually wear away over time (over a year or so), as often is the case.
The one feature we would have loved to have seen in the K780 keyboard is backlit keys. Logitech knows about proper glow for typing in dimly-lit environments, such as with the wireless K830 living-room keyboard, the wired K740 desktop keyboard, or multi-device Bluetooth K810 mobile keyboard. Illumination aside, the Logitech K780 can satisfy almost all of your three-way desktop typing demands, and is available for US$80.
Product page: Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless keyboard