Logitech doesn’t really need much of an introduction, and they’ve been doing all kinds of Bluetooth keyboards, especially since smartphones and tablets took off. When the K480 arrived, it caught my interest. A multi-device Bluetooth keyboard that’s easy to use, and not very expensive? I picked one up a few months back, and here’s what I think.
The K480 is a plastic-clad, wireless Bluetooth keyboard that comes in two colours: Black with awful puke-green highlights, or white with a tasteful grey trim. You can tell what I went with.
The keyboard itself is decently built, though there is some creaking if you apply a fair amount of pressure on it, like picking it up and twisting it. The keys themselves rattle a bit when you run your fingers over them, but are pretty solid otherwise. Key labels and letterings are stickers of the very-hard-to-peel-off kind on the keys, not printed or etched on. Overall it’s above average for a keyboard of this class.
Going over the controls, let’s start with the most basic one: The power switch. It is located on the bottom, and forcing open the somewhat hard to pry battery cover reveals a slot for two AAA batteries. While the keyboard comes with a pair of disposables, I tossed them aside in favour for a pair of Eneloops. It’s been quite a few months now and the batteries are going strong, after an average use of about 1-2 hours daily.
On the top of keyboard are the the control dial for switching device pairings, and the Bluetooth discovery initiation buttons: One for Apple devices, one for everything else. This is what makes the keyboard so handy: You can use it with a number of devices at any time, and switch between them easily.
The keyboard has a proper function row (which is not always so in this day and age), which double up as shortcut keys for iOS, Android, and general media use. The keyboard layout shows both Mac and Windows control keys.
The multi-device feature of the K480 is pretty handy, and I have set it up to use with my Galaxy Note, a cheapie Asus Fonepad, and my desktop as well. I have actually used it with the desktop quite a bit, as having a fairly silent keyboard to use is handy when bird is asleep in my room (birds are light sleepers), and also when I want to just lean back and use a keyboard on the lap.
The built-in slot accommodates a variety of devices, and like in Logitech’s press images, can fit a 7″ tablet and a 5.7″ smartphone easily. Using two devices like that is like some form of super multi-tasking. Long-time KVM users will know what I am talking about. Unfortunately there was not enough space to fit the 7″ tablet horizontally.
The K480 is membrane keyboard, and it’s one of the better ones. There is a bit more play than I would like on the downward action, but there is a firm actuation point when the key is activated, so touch typists will at least know when to go on to the next key. It’s not a bad feel in all, and I will happily type short-form articles and notes with it.
Now, the downsides, and they’re both related to the physical aspects. When I saw the keyboard, I thought it would be a great travelling companion for use with the tablet and smartphone. Well, check out what the weighing scale says:
At 812g, it’s about the weight of a Surface Pro 3. Taking this and my Asus Fonepad gives a weight of about 1.1kg, the weight of many light notebooks. So ultimately, this really is more of a indoor, one-location kind of keyboard, since if you are going to carry that weight, you either bring out a compuier with more power, or an alternative keyboard that’s lighter. I suppose the weight is what it is, so the keyboard won’t flip up when two devices are slotted in it, but it does mean it’s really not compelling as a portable device.
The other thing is that since this isn’t the thinnest of devices, I realise that it does need a wrist rest. However since it also isn’t that thick either, most wrist rests are just too high. I’ve made do with using a thin book to prop my wrists up to the right height when I’m using this at a desk.
The Logitech K480 Bluetooth Keyboard has a couple of great tricks up its sleeve, and is a decent keyboard to use. The low price of it helps (~US35 for me), and if you are looking for something to make your tablet and smartphone handle text input better, it’s a great device. Just be sure you won’t be taking it out much.