About This Review
I don’t review things because I like writing reviews. I review things because I am enthusiastic enough about a product that I want to tell everyone, so they can share in a great experience. This is the case with the Logitech K810 Bluetooth Keyboard.
This review of the Logitech K810 is based upon over a month of daily use. I purchased mine on October 23rd, 2013, looking for a keyboard to use with my Nexus 7 (2013 model). Like most folks, I dislike onscreen keyboards for doing any serious work, and I was looking for something that would let me touch type with speed and accuracy. I did my research and purchased this one, and to my surprise, I have found this keyboard to be so excellent that I use it on a daily basis in place of my laptop keyboard at work.
Choosing a Bluetooth Keyboard
Bluetooth keyboards come in many varieties, from wallet-sized thumb keyboards that you could slip in a back pocket, to full size keyboards intended for desktop input. Choosing which will suit you best is a matter of understanding your needs, and this can be trickier than you think. I highly advise anyone who is looking to make a purchase (of anything really) to challenge their assumptions by trying different products. I did this, and I learned a few things.
Portability vs. Usability
In my case, I started under the assumption that size was my primary concern. I wanted something small, something that wouldn’t take up a lot of space in my bag. I was planning to use it with a 7″ tablet, and so a keyboard that could integrate into the tablet case seemed ideal. Luckily, my coworker had just purchased one of these, and I tried it. Guess what… I hated it. It was barely better than typing with an onscreen keyboard. Why? Because the keys were so closely spaced that I couldn’t use regular touch typing. I still had to hunt and peck with two fingers. This drastically changed my thinking about what mattered to me in a keyboard. I wanted a good typing experience. And isn’t that what using a physical keyboard is all about? So I decided I needed something that approximated a full-size layout.
Folding vs. Fixed
My next consideration was if I could get a full-sized layout in a keyboard that folded or rolled into a more compact size. The answer of course is yes, but what were the trade offs, and what are the benefits? When you think about about it, the amount of volume a keyboard would take up in my bag would be roughly the same regardless, it is just the distribution of the space that would change. I could have a thick brick, or a thin flat plank, or a cylinder shape (if you count those horrible rollable jelly keyboards).
I also knew that I wanted to use this keyboard from the comfort of my couch at home. I would rest it across my thighs, or prop it on a pillow, or otherwise use it in non-flat conditions. So whatever I chose also had to allow for use away from a desk, on park benches, couches, or anywhere I felt like setting up shop.
Given the above considerations I chose a fixed layout. For one thing, I have a messenger bag I carry my stuff around in. A long, flat object is actually less bulky to carry around than a thick but shorter object. It rests flat across the back of my bag, and doesn’t meaningfully detract from the amount of usable space. The other reason is that folding keyboards did not work well on uneven surfaces. Try to put one across your legs, and it would just fold up as soon as you hit one of the center keys. Plus, folding ones actually added bulk, because they needed hinges and latches, and there was always unused airspace when folded. Ultimately, and perhaps non-intuitively, a fixed layout offered the least bulk in my bag, with the best usability.
Quality and Features
In short, what else does the keyboard offer, and how well does it do its job.
The K810 has several features that show considered thought went into the design of this item.
1) It can pair simultaneously with up to three devices, allowing you to switch between them with a keypress. This is much more convenient than repeated unpairing and pairing to switch between devices. Even though I very seldom use the “simultaneous” aspect of it, the fact that it remembers pairings is super convenient. I just turn it on within range of my paired device and start using it. It’s flawless.
2) Two words: illuminated keys. I mentioned above that one of my intended uses was to sit on my couch with the keyboard in the evenings and use it with my tablet. Sitting in the darkened family room, the ability to see my keys without a lamp is a huge benefit. The level of backlighting is adjustable, and it’s intelligent too. Move your hands away from the keyboard, and the backlight turns off. Wave your hand over the keyboard, and the keys light back up. I think this contributes to the excellent battery life, which I’ll get to in a minute.
3) Arrow keys! Placing a cursor on a touchscreen tablet can be imprecise. That’s why I really appreciate the inclusion of arrow keys on the bottom right hand side of the keyboard.
4) Special keys… a Windows key for PC’s in the usual position, and a Home button on F11 for Androids.
5) OMG the battery life! I received my keyboard October 25th, and charged it that day. Using it 8+ hours a day on weekdays, plus some extra in the evenings and on weekends, one charge lasted me until TODAY, December 5th. And that is just when the low battery warning started flashing. I could probably have gotten a few more days out of it. The Logitech K810 has an internal rechargeable battery (charges via micro usb cable) and between the smart backlight management and the overall efficiency, you will be amazed at how long a charge will last you.
6) Key feel. Typing on the K810 is a true pleasure. The keys feel precise, never mushy. Actuation isn’t quite “mechanical switch”, but definitely has a consistent feel and sound that you will get spoiled by. At work, I have abandoned my laptop’s keyboard in favor of the Logitech. In fact, compared to the keyboard on my 17″ Lenovo laptop, the key feel and key spacing is better on the Logitech.
The Logitech K810 is a best-of-breed bluetooth keyboard. It offers a full-size keyboard typing experience in a compact package, has backlighting for all your late night computing sessions, and packs along in backback or messenger bag with ease. Logitech should have thrown in a keyboard case for this flagship device, but this is a small omission in an otherwise excellent product. Battery life is astounding, with reports of 3-4 months with intermittent use seeming believable. I personally experienced over a month of battery life with daily (8+ hrs day) usage. If you are seeking a bluetooth keyboard for use with PC, Android, or other devices, the Logitech K810 is the best keyboard on the market.
Amazon Link – Logitech K810 (for PC and Android)
Amazon Link – Logitech K811 (for Mac and iPhone)