Logitech MX Keys review – an absolute unit of a keyboard

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There are two main camps when it comes to keyboards; those that are happy to type on anything and those that really want the best experience possible.

Logitech is clearly targeting the latter category of users with their latest keyboard – the MX Keys.

Overview

The MX Keys is a chiclet keyboard which will immediately divide people. Personally I prefer chiclet style keys with low travel over mechanical keyboards and their “clackiness”. I find that not having to fully depress a key much speeds up my typing noticeably and am a fan of the new Macbook Pro keyboard (okay not the fact that it constantly breaks but other than that).

Even though I can touch type, I still appreciate having a backlit keyboard when looking for those seldom used symbols and this is where my search began.

I quickly discovered that while there was a host of mechanical “gamer” keyboards with backlighting, when it comes to chiclet keyboards (especially wireless chiclet keyboards) there is not much selection at all.

Thankfully the MX Keys – while expensive – is an absolute powerhouse.

Impressions

If you have looked at the Logitech keyboard line the first thing that you will notice is the similarity to the Logitech Craft. The Craft of course is priced even higher and has a control knob built into the top of the keyboard – something that seems more of a gimmick in my day to day use, though I can see how it could be somewhat useful.

The colour scheme is dark grey and black which goes well with most setups and blends in nicely with the space grey Macbooks. In fact this is one of the nicest looking keyboards that I have seen.

MX Keys setup
The MX Keys blends in with most desk setups.

The one thing that I was unsure about before I bought it (yes I paid full retail price for this) was the concave nature of the keys. I thought they looked a bit gimmicky but after using the keyboard far a while now I can honestly say that they were a great choice.

The first thing that you are going to notice when you pick up this keyboard – even before you take it out of the box – is that this thing is HEAVY. It feels super solid and premium and is not going to be moving anywhere accidentally. This is a keyboard designed to stay on a desk and not be taken on the go.

This thing is big, like at least 2.5 bananas big.

It is also a full sized keyboard with a number pad – another hint that this is not meant for frequent travellers. In fact I could not even fit it into my Minaal Daily backpack and still zip it up so it is now house bound. I do have a smaller Microsoft folding keyboard that is also excellent (though has a strange keyboard layout that takes a long time to get used to).

Did I say that this is a full size, large, chiclet style keyboard. Not something you want to be moving frequently.


Style

The keys themselves are flat chiclet style – similar to a laptop but have a much more premium feel than even high end laptops. There is slightly more travel than my Macbook Pro 13 inch keyboard and the key press feels much softer and muted when you do hit the bottom.

I found that I type much faster on these low travel keyboards and this is no exception. It took me a day or so to get used to having slightly bigger and more spread out keys but once I was used to that I went back to my normal typing speed.

There is very little noise while typing which your office colleagues or partner may be thankful about.

Overall I like the style and the fact that it can blend into most colour schemes, which is good because you can only pick them up in one colour.

The MX Keys fits into most desk setups
The MX Keys fits into most desk setups.

Comfort

What the MX Keys loses in portability it more than makes up in comfort however. The concave button shape means that your fingers seem to glide to the center of each key and there is a soft but satisfying click everytime that you push a key down. The keys have a muted sound (much quieter than my Macbook keyboard) and have slightly less resistance when pushing them down.

The keys have a concave shape to them which makes a surprising amount of difference to typing comfort.

Overall this is a super comfortable keyboard, the keys themselves seem to be made out of a plastic that feels soft to the touch and warms up slightly after a few minutes of use (likely because the concave shape of the keys means more of your finger is in contact with the surface. This slight warmth makes the keyboard feel alive and welcoming.

Being a full size keyboard with a number pad is also refreshing, coming from predominantly typing on a laptop keyboard, it took a while for me to become accustomed to the slightly larger keys but now I love it and the included numpad makes entering in data into Excel a breeze.

I found the angle of the keyboard to be comfortable, however this is not adjustable so if you are not happy with what Logitech thinks is the perfect angle then you are out of luck or will need to resort to propping the keyboard up with something else. Being adjustable would be a nice added feature.

There is an optional wrist pad that retails for around £20, which seems fairly absurd for what it is. But they are clearly targeting people that are willing to spend money for comfort. My advice would be to look on Amazon for a third party wrist pad if required.

Cost

This is not a cheap keyboard by any stretch of the imagination. It has a premium build quality and has a premium price to match it. When you compare it to other similar keyboards such as Apple’s full size Magic keyboard – which is 1.5 times the price and does not have backlighting then it seems like a pretty good deal.

My thoughts are that, when you take into account the hundreds of hours that you are going spend typing on a keyboard then it is well worth the extra money to get something that is a joy to type on. That said, if you are happy with your current keyboard or have something fairly decent already then there is probably not much reason for you to fork out the cash for this – unless of course you are buying into the Logitech ecosystem and want to use their Flow software. The keyboard is extremely nice, but not a revolutionary jump above other high end keyboards.

The other things that I did not like was that the wrist support was extra, I am not a fan of wrist supports in general but I still think that at this price point Logitech could easily have included it in the box with the keyboard instead of trying to squeeze a few more £££ from their customers.

Features

Multidevice

Besides the strange but effective key shape there are a number of other features that make this chiclet keyboard a joy to use. The first are the multi device buttons – being able to switch between devices at the push of a button is fantastic, I am used to being able to switch between 2 devices on my Microsoft folding keyboard but having 3 devices has made all the difference.

Dedicated quick connect keys make switching between up to 3 devices a breeze.

My devices consist primarily of my mobile phone – the Note 9, which I use in Dex mode occasionally; my Macbook Pro – which is my daily driver and generally stays on the desk; and my GPD Pocket 2 which I seem to have a particular soft spot for and take with me whenever I am on the go but may need a full Windows. The fact that I can connect all of these with a single USB C cable which provides power and connects to the display and at the push of a button connect up the keyboard to them has been game changing and makes me far more likely to squeeze in a few minutes of work where as before I could not be bothered to put the keyboard into pairing mode, search for it and have to enter in the pairing key only to have to re-pair it to a different device the following day.

Backlighting

The next stand out feature that this keyboard has is backlighting. There are very few keyboards that offer a super thin chiclet style wireless keyboard and manage to include backlighting. Even the supposed king of design and thinness, Apple, has not managed to do this. The main drawback with backlighting is that the battery life suffers and this keyboard is no exception. With backlighting turned off the keyboard can go without a charge for well over a month, but with it turned on that shortens to around a week. Logitech have done some clever design work by including a proximity sensor in the keyboard that will automatically turn off the backlighting when it detects that your hands are no longer on the keyboard, however even with this useful feature you will be charging the keyboard regularly if you make use of the backlighting.

I am able to touch type fairly well so don’t often keep the backlight on, even when it is dark. However there are instances where I am looking for a seldom used character and being able to see the keys clearly is great. I don’t think backlighting is essential for a keyboard but it is one of those things that you will be glad to have when you occasionally need it.

Logitech Flow

This is not unique to this keyboard in particular and is more an enabling software rather than a feature. It also requires a compatible Logitech mouse but if you have both then it turns into a powerful productivity tool.

Logitech Flow essentially allows you to use your mouse and keyboard with multiple devices at the same time. Think of it like having extended monitors except that they are actually completely different computers. Not only can you use the mouse and keyboard to control both devices but you can actually copy and paste files between them as well. This is a blessing for anyone that uses more than one computer. In my case I have my Macbook Pro that I generally leave plugged in, and my GDP Pocket 2 which I travel with. Even though all my documents get synced up to Onedrive and are accessible from anywhere, being able to use Flow to move documents between devices quickly is fantastic. As I mentioned before though, this does also require a compatible Logitech mouse. Is it worth buying a mouse specifically so that you can use Flow? Probably not. But Logitech also make what is, in my opinion, the best mouse on the market at the moment – the MX Master 3. So if you are looking for a high end mouse you may well find yourself getting a Logitech one anyway.

Media Keys

This keyboard is marketed as a productivity keyboard and does not disappoint. Besides all the standard media keys, volume, and display brightness there are also keys for mission control, desktop (hides all windows) and widgets. These can of course be accessed using shortcuts but it is much more convenient having a dedicated buttons to do so.

The other interesting keys that is has are ones for Screenshot, Locking the computer and launching a Calculator. The first two I make use of often while admittedly I don’t use the calculator button enough for it to be useful. Thankfully Logitech also allow you to remap these keys within their app to something more useful, though the calculator key literally has a small picture of a calculator on it so that could be somewhat confusing for other users if remapped.

Windows/Mac/Linux compatibility

Another interesting point about this keyboard is that was designed with Windows and MacOS in mind. One look at the familiar cmd button and Mac users will be right at home, however next to it is a start button for Windows users. Where the device really shines though is that it does not feel like I am using a Mac or Windows keyboard. Rather if I am using the keyboard with my Windows laptop then it feels like a Windows keyboard, while when it is connected to my Mac it feels like a Mac keyboard. This is something that probably goes unnoticed by a lot of people but Logitech have clearly spend a lot of time getting the balance and design right.

Charging

While the keyboard is wireless, it can also be used while it is plugged in and charging. It makes use of USB C – as do most recent peripherals and it is nice to finally have a common standard for almost everything (I’m looking at you Apple). The battery lasts forever without the backlight on (I got over a month of use on a single charge before I decided to plug it in).

With the backlight turned on, this is shortened drastically to around a week however. I found that I don’t need the backlight 90% of the time so keep it off and can turn it on with the push of a button if required.

Conclusion

So is this keyboard for everyone? Definitely not, and Logitech’s pricing reflects that. There is also no way to adjust the keyboard height which seems a bit of an oversight and of course the wrist rest is an extra cost if you want it.

However if you spend hours at the computer typing then this keyboard can be quite justifiable to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. I certainly have not regretted buying it.

Indeed when you compare it to the other high end offerings such as Apple’s Magic keyboard, you are getting far more bang for your buck.