Yep, bought Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch K811 Keyboard from Amazon for $76 dollars.
It’s not that cheap given that many mechanical keyboards are selling at around $100 bucks.
Feature-wise, there are a few pluses:
- It can pair up to 3 devices
- Backlit (from 0 to 4)
- Built-in battery
This is a keyboard. Typing comfort is definitely the most important feature among all. Let’s check the detail…
Typing on k811 generally feels very much like typing on Macbook Pro Retina (MBPr).
Keys have a slightly concave surface. The keys have slightly deeper travel than my Macbook Pro Retina (2012). Key presses feel crisp and bouncy. It feels much more responsive than Apple’s Bluetooth Keyboard.
You can rest your finger comfortably on this keyboard. You won’t have to worry about accidentally pressing any keys while your fingers naturally rest on the keys. I have no problem using it the whole day coding.
Logitech coined a gimmicky name for the concave key design – Logitech Incurve keys. In my personal experience, I find it really help. I have other membrane keyboards with similar key travel. With this concave key cap, my finger tips do feel less “slippery” when pressing keys.
I still prefer the MBPr keyboard for the “soft” landing feeling when you press the keys. K811 gives you satisfying key presses but you don’t get the say “soft” landing feeling at the MBPr keyboard. For this reason, typing on K811 is noticeably louder than the MBPr keyboard. However, it’s not that much louder than Apple’s Bluetooth Keyboard. It basically means this is still a pretty quite keyboard for use in quiet office or sleeping room.
If you are a Macbook Air user, this keyboard is a big upgrade from you MBA keyboard. It gives you much better tactile feedback.
However, if you are a MBPr user, you may have mix feeling with this keyboard. It’s definitely a solid product. But there maybe a few details about the keys that you don’t quite like.
Comparing to Apple’s Bluetooth Keyboard, most Amazon reviews say it’s much better than Apple’s one. I, myself, find that only half true. Apple’s Bluetooth Keyboard is definitely solid. I am still 50% of my time with it. Typing comfort with Apple’s Bluetooth Keyboard is less satisfying than Logitech K811. But there are other pluses in Apple’s board which, from my perspective, makes it hard to have a clear winner. I will go over the build quality and Mac specific features below.
Mac specific keys
This a Mac layout keyboard. This means the top function keys are mapped to Mission Control, screen brightness, volume and playback keys.
Logitech shifted the keys a little bit so that the first 3 F keys serve as switching 3 different devices. I find this pretty handy. I connect the keyboard to my iPad, personal MBPr and work MBPr. Whichever notebook is docked to my desk, I can easily connect to them which re-pairing.
Driver and software issue
This is the worst part of this product. This is also my usual problem with Logitech products. They don’t seem to be able to make great driver and software for their hardware.
Mission Control is put in F4. However, it doesn’t work right out-of-the-box. You need to either install the driver or make some manual changes. For some reason, “Mission Control” key in K811 isn’t really the Mission Control key. It’s programmed to be “^ + <arrow up>”. You have to either manually change system keyboard shortcuts to map “^ + <arrow up>” to Mission Control. You also need to map “CMD + Mission Control key” manually if you want that to “show desktop”. You can find the detail in Logitech’s FAQ here.
This is not ideal. Imagine, you are not a geek like me who tries to figure out why you need to install the K811 drive to get “Mission Control” key work.
The situation get worse when you install the driver. True, you get the “All Application Windows” mode working. But the driver doesn’t support CMD + Mission Control key and Ctrl + Mission Control key. With the drive, you still have to make the keyboard shortcuts changes.
In my case, I run into another problem. With the driver installed, I cannot use OS X built-in Chinese handwriting input method via the Apple Magic Trackpad. Uninstalled the driver, things revert back to normal.
So, yeah, I am running this keyboard without the driver. This is actually cool! But, as a user, I shouldn’t have to go through all these problems just to know, at the end of it, I actually do NOT need to install any freaking driver!!
Product Design and Build Quality
I don’t think this keyboard is that well built compare to Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. K811 surely is sturdy. It’s not “Apple Bluetooth Keyboard” study though. Apple’s one is built from a rigid aluminum frame on top of the white plastic base. K811 is largely plastic. The aluminum surface is mainly a cosmetic layer that serves very little functional purpose in terms of overall rigidity of the product.
I also have problem with the backlit-ed Logitech logo in the top center of the keyboard. It would be awesome if the top face of the keyboard is brand-less.
Overall, I like this board. It’s not good enough to fully replace my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard nor the built-in MBPr keyboard. So, to me, it’s not a no-brainer recommendation to everyone.
This keyboard is definitely not cheap. Together with the driver/manual configuration hiccups, it’s a 50/50 to me. I feel good owning and using this board. But I will not recommend it to everyone of my friend.
Bottom-line is… if you need a bluetooth keyboard that connect to multiple devices and you don’t care about the price, this is a solid buy.
If you are a little price sensitive, you may want to consider Logitech’s K750.
If you are simply looking for a decent keyboard for your desk, you may want to physically compare it (K811) with Apple’s Bluetooth Keyboard.