27
Nov
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I'd like to think that I'm pretty picky about keyboards - after all, I do type thousands of words every single day. I've tried many, many different brands and keyboard models, and it's one of the key features that can make or break any laptop that I'd even consider buying. Thus, when I heard about Logitech's K810 cross-platform Bluetooth keyboard (Logitech, $99), I knew I had to give it a shot.

For those who may not be up to speed with the latest keyboard offerings, the K810 is a full-size backlit Bluetooth keyboard that works with Windows, Android, and iOS. While cross-compatibility isn't a first for a wireless keyboard, the K810 is unique in its ability to pair with three different devices at the same time. Toggling through each one is simple, thanks to the dedicated keys at the top of the keyboard. In theory, this should make text input across several devices insanely easy - just pair the keyboard with your PC, Android phone, and tablet, and away you go. After that, you can type a document on your computer, quickly switch over and respond to a text message on your phone, and then jump over to your tablet to respond to an email. I'm not sure why you'd use your tablet just to reply to an email when you're already sitting at your computer, but for the sake of my example, that's what you did. Deal with it.

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I'm happy to confirm that, in reality, this works exactly as it should. The entire process of switching back and forth is nearly seamless - though it does take roughly 2-3 seconds the keyboard to reconnect each time. Then again, I would expect nothing less, because that's just how Bluetooth works.

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Aside from the K810's ability to pair with three devices and switch between them at the touch of a button, it also features a fully adjustable backlight. And it's absolutely amazing. The backlight automatically goes off after a certain period of inactivity, too, so it's not draining the battery when you're not actually using the keyboard.

Speaking of, Logitech claims this little guy will get 10 days of battery life with two hours of usage and maximum key brightness each day. If you turn the backlight off, though, it should be able to go for one full year between charges. I've been using the K810 basically all day every day since I received it (paired with my laptop and Nexus 7) at minimum key brightness, and have only had to charge it once in about two weeks so far. Considering I never turn it off (there's a power switch on the right side) unless it's in my backpack, that's not too bad. My biggest complaint about the battery, though, is that there's no way to tell how much charge the keyboard has left. When you turn it on there's a green light to let you know it's OK, and that light turns red when it's time to juice up. Otherwise, there's nothing - no indicator on the keyboard, app, or other dedicated software to output the remaining battery. When I inquired about this, I was told Logitech "can't comment on future products." So, whether or not we'll ever see a way to check the battery level is a crapshoot. I guess it's not a huge deal - the K810 charges over USB, so you can always use it while it's charging. It just becomes wired for a bit.

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While that may be a downside, it's only one of the few that I've found with this keyboard. The typing experience is absolutely amazing - it's on par with some of the best keyboards I've ever used. The key travel is short enough to make the experience fast, but still long enough that the action is tangible. The keys are quiet and smooth - simply put, this keyboard is a joy to type on. In fact, I enjoy typing on it so much that I actually found myself wanting to type more than I already do. And that's saying something.

Of course, it's not perfect in that aspect, either. It's actually missing one of the features I use the most on any keyboard: media player controls. Whether I'm working on my laptop with an external keyboard (which I do while at my standing desk) or my Nexus 7, I usually have music playing in the background. If a song comes up that I don't want to hear, I hate having to navigate away from whatever I'm working on just to change the track; thus, I usually rely on built-in controls on my keyboards. Unfortunately, the K810 is missing forward and back. It does, however, have a play/pause button, as well as volume up, down, and mute buttons, so it's not a complete loss.

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Another tremendous advantage of the K810 is its outstanding build quality. Unlike other portable keyboards I've used, the K810 feels like a real keyboard. And by that, I mean it doesn't feel cheap and flimsy. It's solid and well made - like something you'd find on someone's desk, not in their backpack. Make no mistake, though - it's definitely small and light enough to toss in your bag and take everywhere you go, and you'll definitely want to do so if you type a lot on your phone or tablet. At the same time, it's also stout enough to use as a primary keyboard on your PC if you choose (unless, of course, you require a numberpad).

Overall, I think the K810 may actually be the best keyboard I've ever used, or at least a very close second. It's difficult to really put into words how much I like it compared to all the other keyboards I own, especially considering I can't say I've ever typed on one that made me want to just keep typing. That's not to say it doesn't have downsides, but there's no such thing as a "perfect" product, anyway. Still, all the makings of a great keyboard are here: a smooth typing experience, adjustable backlighting, ultra-portability, the ability to easily switch between multiple OSes/devices, and solid battery life. The fact that it doesn't have a battery monitor or media controls is easily overlooked (for me anyway), but it would be hard to find anything negative about it if they decide to add that to an upcoming model.

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So with that, I give you the links to buy one for yourself.

Logitech ($99.99), Amazon ($104)

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://twitter.com/GitMuny Ciroc Obama

    This thing looks great I just might have to make a late modification to my xmas list.

  • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

    Re: remaining battery display.

    Did you install Setpoint? For all Logitech devices that I have, that is required to display the remaining charge on the computer.

    Also I think iOS can display natively remaining charge of bluetooth devices, at least it does with the Jambox and I think other A2DP and headset devices. Android usually requires an app.

    • mgamerz

      Since its an hid device it may not work over bluetooth cause of the spec. It works fine with their proprietary wireless though. Not sure if the spec allows it.

      • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

        Works with the old Dinovo BT keyboard/mouse here, and IIRC also worked with the V470 I used to use a long time ago. Also, the Dinovo mini.

    • Lucas Laws

      My Logitech Illuminated K800 has an indicator on the keyboard. Sure its only 3 lights, but it is better than Green/Red.

  • scuttlefield

    Hmmm...maybe it's time to think about replacing my Zagg keyboard. You don't know how often I've gone to type something into my phone using it only to forget that it's paired with my tablet. Plus, backlight FTW!

  • Al McDowall

    "I'm not sure why you'd use your tablet just to reply to an email when
    you're already sitting at your computer, but for the sake of my example,
    that's what you did. Deal with it."

    Cameron, I dig your style dude.......

    As a side note, any recommendation for a BT Keyboard with touch pad that will work with an Android tablet? If this one had a touchpad, I think I'd get it straight away (based on your glowing review) but no such luck.

    Am I in the minority thinking that a touchpad is kind of necessary for a keyboard paired with a mobile device?

    • http://twitter.com/chris_penner Chris Penner

      Here's why: Email on the tablet, PC is an HTPC in the livingroom.

    • Aftershock

      Im absolutely with you on that one. A track pad is essential if you plan on using this to control a PC as well. Carrying a separate mouse or track pad defeats the purpose. I've searched high and low for a track-pad enabled keyboard with a built in back-light but can't find one.

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      Motorola has keyboards with a slide-out trackpad, and another with a trackpoint-style joystick thing. I tend to prefer the trackpoint one, but often find myself just using the device's touchscreen anyway, but it's not impossible to navigate with just the pointer. -- no backlights, but otherwise they're great.

      • Al McDowall

        Thanks Mr E, I'll have a look at the Motorolas :o)

  • JG

    Neat-o... I'll def' have to look into it some more... Sounds like it could be a neat keyboard to have. Though I'd really like to have seen it come with a mouse as well that'll switch from device to device along with the keyboard.

  • esper256

    Thanks for the review, maybe I'll get one!

  • xraytedjim

    Looks great but I would like to see a model with a 10 key numerical keyboard maybe for an extra $10.

    • Billy Kent

      i agree, it can't be a "full-size keyboard" without the 10key.

  • DeadSOL

    Looks excellent! Thanks for the review! :D

  • http://profiles.google.com/nemolivier Olivier Guéry

    As usual those non-orthogonal keyboard make me sad. Please all keyboard manufacturer, have a look at TypeMatrix keyboard, stop making new keyboard with silly old key placement.

  • aatifsumar

    " it does take roughly 2-3 seconds the keyboard to reconnect each time. Then again, I would expect nothing less, because that's just how Bluetooth works."
    Disagree. Use the Plantronics Voyager Legend. Pairs with upto 5 devices simultaneously. When you turn any of the paired devices' bluetooth on, it connects immediately. In less than one second. So it can be done.

  • Jesus Urrabieta

    Just a petty in doesn't have some kind of mouse control. I need that I my external keyboard.

    If fact right now I use this: http://www.logitech.com/en-us/keyboards/keyboards/wireless-touch-keyboard-k400

    But that one can't connect to android or ios as the analyzed one.

    I guess there is no perfect fit for me. yet...

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      Check out the Motorola keyboards -- they have one with a slide-out trackpad, and another with a trackpoint-style nipple (teehee). I actually have both. I tend to prefer the trackpoint one. In any case, it's often easier to just use the touchscreen if you can, and a lot of apps are made for touch anyway too.

  • http://twitter.com/MysteryMannnnn Mystery Man

    Hate separated keys. I'll stick with my logitech wired illuminated keyboard

  • Maher Salti

    The big downside on bluetooth is the connection is not secure, so there can easily be a man in the middle and track all actions on the keyboard. I would have been more happy to see a wifi keyboard instead.

  • Franky

    "... the K810 is unique in its ability to pair with three different devices at the same time."
    So finally a BT-keyboard can do what every BT-keyboard should have been capable of right since the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth....

    Seriously, it's beyond ridiculous that the vast majority of Bluetooth-keyboards can only be paired with one device at a time. So some credits to Logitech for finally getting that idea, and about a bazillion anti-creds for every manufacturer (including Logitech) for not coming up with this feature sooner. I honestly hope this starts a trend.

  • Jesse Walker

    Hopefully its not built as cheap as the other K series. I dropped $140 on the wireless K800 and its been the first keyboard Ive EVER OWNED to have keys break off of it. I currently missing right shift and Enter. Buyer beware. Logitech may look sweet - built cheap!

    • a22matic

      My K series wireless keyboard wasn't cheap, and doesn't feel cheap. I've been using it as my main keyboard at work since the summer, and it's been a beast. None of my keys have broken, and I've had zero operating issues. Great keyboard, and I'm going to purchase one for home. Maybe you got a defective product, or you could just be too heavy handed with it.

  • carbonated_turtle

    I just recently looked into bluetooth keyboards for the first time, and I was pretty surprised by the prices. We're not talking about new technology here, so how the hell do they justify charging $100 for 35 cents of plastic and 25 cents in labour?

    • tony

      Probably because you are way off on the costs there.

      • carbonated_turtle

        I may have exaggerated a little, but if I want a full sized bluetooth keyboard, not a mini one, it's going to cost at least 60 bucks plus tax. Again, a little ridiculous for the amount of plastic and labour involved.

  • Jens Knutson

    @Cameron: very helpful review -- thanks.

    Got a question though: I have the Logitech "Keyboard for Android 3.0+ Devices", and it powers off the BT radio after like 5 minutes without any input (or that's what it feels like anyway), meaning every time I come back to it, it's powered off and I have to wait 3-5 seconds for the damned thing to reconnect.

    Does this keyboard do the same thing? If so, what's the timeout and how long is the reconnect time? (I assume the latter would probably be around 3 seconds, as with switching devices, but maybe it's faster with the same device?)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      I haven't noticed a timeout period at all, but I don't normally connect the keyboard to my tablet and leave it that way. Give me a few to test that out and I'll get back to you with what I find out.

  • flosserelli

    Thanks, but I'll keep my Ducky Shine II. It's not cheap, but it's worth every damn penny.

  • mesername

    So, this sounds like a really useful option, but what about the fact that there isn't a touchpad (or a mouse) that also switches among the devices? Did you test this out with multiple devices that have touchpads or mice? Thoughts on that process?

  • Jamie Francis

    Hi there. Can you answer me a killer question please? Is there an adapter either included or available separately that allows use with PCs without internal Bluetooth? If so I can use in work and reply to texts and emails etc on my phone...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Yeah. You can find Bluetooth dongles pretty cheap on Amazon and eBay.

  • vettedude95

    Do they make a Unified version of this?

  • rdunseith

    I just received mine and I am loving it. Also the built in sensor that turns the backlight it a really nice touch. And it work like you would expect.

  • Raphael Jolivet

    It seems nice.
    However, as a developer I really need the home/end/delete/page-up/page-down.I don't see them. Do I miss something ?
    The missing keypad is not a problem.

    • Sailesh

      Not directly present, but a combination of Ctrl, fn and arrow keys take care of home, end, page up and page down. Delete is a separate key on its own.

  • Joser Cavada

    i have a sony xperia s tab wondering if the k810 has a resent apps tab or function key? anybody know?

  • didibus

    Does it have a Home, Back and Multitask button for Android?

  • http://bestwirelessmouse.biz/ BWMR

    Logitech series id top one I used, especially best wireless mouse G700S and Illuminated Keyboard K810

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