Thursday , 20 September 2018
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Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard

The $79.99 Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard is a keyboard for our modern, multi-device age. Rare is the time that we’re ever at our laptops or desktops without a smartphone next to us (and a tablet, perhaps, as well). The K780 aims to make you more efficient by letting you seamlessly switch among three devices from one keyboard. It achieves this goal in spades—at least with respect to typing. 

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard

Mobile devices have had many discrete-keyboard options available, beyond their native onscreen keyboards. We’ve seen no lack of Bluetooth tablet keyboards and keyboard cases, usually designed for one or another Android tablet or iPad model. Some smartphones also have physical keyboard accessories, though these are much less common.

However, you generally have to first go through the steps of pairing the device with a keyboard, a cumbersome process regardless of the mobile OS. It usually entails going into Bluetooth settings, selecting the keyboard to pair to, and then being able to use the keyboard with just that one device. Want to use the same keyboard with both your phone and your tablet in the same session? Nope, sorry, out of luck. Want to add in your laptop as well? Forget about it.

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Keyboard Left Side)

That’s a problem the K780 aims to solve. And it does, although we found ourselves wanting it to do even more. Let’s read on to find out why.

Design Features

The Logitech K780 is well-designed. For one, it’s stylish and attractive, with a matte-black finish that has just enough texture to be appealing, but not enough to be a dust magnet or a distraction…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Low Angle)

The underside has a slightly rubbery feel, but again, we didn’t find it attracted particulate dust, like many devices with rubberized surfaces tend to.

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Underside)

A plastic “backsplash” support runs behind the keyboard, and it is equally sturdy. It’s meant to act as a stand for your smartphone or tablet. It’s sloped at a gentle angle, with a groove in front of it that’s just deep enough that, together with the low-riding, purposefully weighted keyboard, you can safely stand a device (or devices) at a comfortable viewing angle. The splash is white, with a subtle, speckled design that adds to the overall aesthetic.

The rectangular keyboard portion is very sturdy, with round, concave keys that don’t have any give or flex. (That’s a common problem on many portable keyboards; not so here.) The primary keys are circular, while the other keys are ovals of varying sizes…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Keys)

The oval keys include the function keys in the top row. They are small, and the inverted-T cluster of arrow/directional keys is smaller still…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Arrows)

In contrast, as you can see above, the Enter, Shift, and Backspace keys at the right are all different, but they are generously sized, and larger than their companion keys at left (Tab, Caps Lock, and Shift). Measuring 0.8x15x6.5 inches (HWD), the K780 is clearly designed to sit on a table, and not intended to be part of your mobile-gear kit in your carry-on that goes through the TSA scanner. It may be meant for use with mobile devices, but it’s a decidedly desktop-bound, non-mobile keyboard.

The keyboard has three keys in the upper left that enable you to change which device the keyboard controls. They’re labeled clearly as “1,” “2,” and “3,” and they are white—which means they stand out well, even when you’re in the typing/efficiency zone…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Switcher Keys)

These white keys are also the first three function keys, but in their case, the F1/F2/F3 commands are their secondary functions. That’s actually the case with the other function keys, too. F4’s primary use is home, F5’s is menu, and F6’s is back—all very useful for navigating on an Android device. Other function keys handle volume, playback controls, search, and delete.

The keyboard also works with Macs, and Mac-minded commands are in grey, where appropriate. Some keys, such as Start and Alt, have different commands depending on the operating system. (Alt works as the CMD key when macOS is detected.) The K780 uses its own OS-adaptive technology to trigger the appropriate response when you press one of these…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (OS Keys)

Bonus: The K780 has a dedicated 10-key number pad—useful for calculations, if that’s part of what you do. Here, the zero, plus, and Enter keys are the ones that are generously oversized…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Numpad)

The K780 works via Bluetooth if you’re connecting it to a tablet or a smartphone, across Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, iOS, and Android. For using the keyboard with desktop or laptop computers that don’t have Bluetooth, Logitech includes its own Unifying receiver, a tiny USB dongle that’s stored beneath the battery-cover door on the bottom of the keyboard. (The keyboard itself is powered by a pair of AAA batteries.) Alas, we found that this cover was unusually tricky to get back in place properly. Also, the dongle came out easily, but it was harder to get it, too, back in place just right. By contrast, the Logitech Silent Mouse nailed both of these design points. (We have a review of that similarly new mouse forthcoming.) 

Setup, Usability Conclusions

Setting up the K780 was straightforward. The box has a quick-start guide on the cardboard that supports the keyboard: It’s simple and obvious. You yank out a flexible tab between the pre-installed batteries on the bottom of the keyboard to get things rolling…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Tab)

We next connected the USB Unifying receiver to our computer, and powered on the keyboard. The power switch is a little nub on the right edge…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Power Switch)

And boom, we were paired. After that, we connected other devices via Bluetooth, with no issues apart from the tedious settings-menu hunting.

As noted earlier, we found the keys on the K780 felt solid. Given how thin the keyboard is, they were highly responsive, too, and reasonably conducive to touch-typing. The keyboard certainly made typing easier on mobile devices, though we had to get used to the location and placement of the mobile-specific navigation keys in the function row. Somehow, we suspect those might have been more intuitive had they been placed lower on the keyboard, in the same way that they are typically at the bottom of a smartphone or tablet screen. That they’re there at all is good, though, especially since the K780 lacks an integrated pointing device.

The mouse we were using with our PC was fine, but it didn’t work with the mobile devices, too. If you’re looking for a mouse that can work with multiple devices and switch among them on the fly, much like the K780 keyboard, the Logitech MX Master is worth considering. It can switch among three devices, though it’s expensive, and you have to press buttons on the underside of the mouse to switch cursor control between different devices.

For the mobile devices, we saved time typing using the keyboard, but we also found we lost efficiency when being forced to navigate with our fingers on those devices between typing jags—say, to hit onscreen buttons or menus. We almost wished we had a touch pad that could snap into place, in front of the keyboard—just to make that type of navigation a little smoother and more efficient.

We had no issues with the devices we stood in the mobile cradle “groove.” The cradle is deep enough to support most recent devices, even with a typical protective case on the phone or tablet, though some Otterbox-style rugged cases and folio-style tablet or phone cases proved too thick. We used a 9.7-inch Apple iPad Air, and the keyboard was stable with the tablet tucked into the groove in both portrait in landscape modes. We also tried a Huawei phablet with a ruggedized Moko case on it, and it was a tight but secure fit…

Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Smartphone)

If you’re a heavy user of mobile devices while at your desk, or when you’re using your laptop in a fixed location, the Logitech K780 should prove to be a great accessory. It will make it easier to do anything text-related on your phone or tablet while you work on a larger device, even if you’ll still poke at or pick up your phone now and then to physically navigate around it.


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