Over the course of a day, many of us flip back and forth between two, sometimes three, computing devices, moving from the keyboard on a desktop to the virtual keyboard on a mobile device, and back again. Wouldn’t it be much simpler if you could switch between and enter data on these gadgets from the same keyboard? A while back, Logitech released such a solution, the K380 Bluetooth Keyboard ($30), which let users flip between multiple devices with the touch of a button.
While a terrific idea, a shortcoming of the K380 is that it doesn’t provide a way to hold your smartphone or tablet upright as you type. Logitech corrected via a groove, or gutter, carved into the top section of its Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 ($30). Both the K380 and the K480 let you pair up to three devices and switch between them easily, but each has its limitations. The K480’s groove, for instance, is big enough to hold only one mobile device, and the keyboard itself has no number pad.
Those issues, as well as a few other shortcomings, have been addressed with Logitech’s premium device-swapping keyboard, the K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard. However, this new keyboard is $70 — more than its predecessors, as well as most competitors. Are its improvements worth the price?
Substantial and—as Desktop Keyboards Go—Attractive
At 15 inches wide, by 6.2 inches deep, and 0.3 inches tall, the K780’s size is about average for a desktop keyboard, but it’s a bit deeper (from top to bottom) and heavier than most other full-size keyboards. The additional depth and girth is due primarily to a soft, grippy, rubberlike groove that runs across the top of the deck.
What is unique about the K780 is that, instead of the traditional chiclet-style keys, its keys are oval and slightly concave, giving the K780 the aesthetic appearance of an old-style typewriter. The keys, the deck, and the underside are encased in dark gray plastic, and on the back there’s a compartment that holds two AAA batteries along with Logitech’s “Unifying” USB dongle, which supports up to seven of the company’s Bluetooth devices.
An advantage of the K380 and the K480 mentioned earlier is that they’re both small and light, making them somewhat portable, whereas the K780 isn’t as easy to carry around. Even more portable than the smaller Logitech models, though, is Microsoft’s Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard ($70), yet another wireless keyboard that lets you swap between multiple devices on the fly.
But the Microsoft iteration supports only two devices, whereas Logitech’s multi-device keyboards can be configured for up to three. The K780’s size also provides some advantages in comfort, as we’ll soon discuss.
You can pair the K780 with most Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, and ChromeBook devices. To do so, simply press one of the first three function keys to make the K780 discoverable, and then enter the passcode provided by the device with which you’re pairing. Once you’ve paired two or more devices, you can switch between them by pressing the corresponding function key.
You can pair the K780 with most Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, and ChromeBook devices.
The rubber gutter across the top is long enough to accommodate at least two mobile devices, such as, say, a smartphone and most tablets, even in landscape orientation, and the groove’s rubbery texture is grippy enough to hold most devices securely upright, and allow poking the touch screen without toppling them over. However, the groove itself is not wide enough to hold mobile devices encased in thick protectors. Logitech says that the gutter, which it calls a “smart device stand,” will hold devices up to 11.3 millimeters, which is about right. We couldn’t get it to accommodate anything thicker than about 7/8 of an inch.
As any multi-device keyboard should, the K780 configures itself according to the operating system (OS) it’s paired with. In Android, for instance, you get the Home, Back, and other relevant keys. In MacOS the Alt key becomes the Command key. In Windows, the Option key re-maps to the Start button, and so on. The keys are even labeled accordingly.
Overall, we found the K780 comfortable enough to type on, but the round, concaved keys take a little getting used to, which may slow you down at first. The keys have sufficient plunge and travel, and they deploy Logitech’s PerfectStroke key system, which is supposed to deliver silent typing. While it’s not completely silent, it’s quieter than most keyboards. The K780 has a slight front to back incline to make typing more comfortable, but there’s no built-in stand to increase that incline.
A few missing options — most likely left out to save battery life — are NUM lock and caps lock indicators, and the keys themselves are not backlit. If you’re not a proficient touch typist you might find using the K780 in dim or dark settings a bit difficult. However, Logitech does offer Windows and Mac software that displays NUM lock and caps lock status on your monitor.
Logitech warranties the K780 for one year under normal use. That’s typical for a keyboard.Our Take
The Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard is well-built, simple to configure and setup, easy to use, and comfortable to type on. Switching from device to device is simple, and the groove across the top can accommodate most mobile computing gadgets. It has a few missing features, such as the lack of NUM lock and caps lock status indicators, and we think it could benefit from a steeper incline. Still, it serves its purpose of allowing you to switch swiftly and efficiently between multiple devices.
Is there a better alternative?
Of the multi-device keyboards we’ve looked at, the Logitech K780 is the most complete solution. Kingston’s KP400 Switchable Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard is comparable in some ways, but it doesn’t have the groove across the top for holding mobile devices upright. Then, too, there’s Microsoft’s Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard, but not only does it not provide a way to hold up your mobile devices, it supports only two devices at once. It is, however, much more portable.
How long will it last?
The K780 seems durable and very well built and will most likely outlast most or all of your computing devices.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you’re looking for something more portable, either of its siblings, the K380 and the K480, as well as Microsoft’s Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard, are better choices. But the K780 is the most complete multi-device solution, especially for desktop users. The comfort and versatility it provides when compared to other keyboards in this category justifies the $70 price tag.