REVIEW: Logitech MX Keys Wireless Illuminated Keyboard

Logitech has always been at the forefront in developing excellent keyboards for the Mac, and their newest, the MX Keys Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is no exception.  For $99.99 you get a lot of features.  

Although this keyboard is multi-platform, it has several Mac/Windows keys that perform functions specific for that particular platform.  For example, check out the Cmd/Alt or Opt/Start keys.

The MX Keys keyboard is heavier than its Apple competitor, the Magic Keyboard With Numeric Keypad. The Apple one weighs .5 lbs. while the Logitech weighs 1.8 lbs.  The difference is that it has a metal plate under the keys that make the keyboard more stable on your desktop.  

The most unique feature of the MX Keys is its illuminated backlit keyboard.  When fingers are close to the keyboard, it immediately illuminates.  When your fingers go off the keyboard, the keys automatically go off.

Like many of Logitech’s recent keyboards, the MX Key can be paired with up to 3 devices at the same time, making it easier to switch between them.  Just press one of Logitech’s Easy-Switch keys on the top row of the keyboard.

Connectivity

Dipped Keys

Connectivity is a primary concern with keyboard users.  To satisfy all of them, Logitech offers two options.  The first is their proprietary receiver.  Just plug it in and your Mac/PC and download Logitech’s Logi Options Software.  This receiver will automatically find your keyboard and flawlessly operate up to 6 Logitech devices.  If USB space is a concern, this dongle will save USB slots.

The second connectivity option is Bluetooth.  Although not as stable as the RF receiver, Bluetooth will enable the keyboard once pairing has occurred.  Using Bluetooth allows the keyboard to work with other devices such as an iPad.

Power

If power is one of your concerns, the MX Keys offers a rechargeable battery that can last up to 10 days with illumination turned on or up to 5 months with the illumination turned off.  In the upper right corner of the MX Keys is an LED light that turns green when power is good or red when the keyboard needs to be charged.  

This is performed with the included USB-C cable.  When the cable is attached for charging, the keyboard continues operating.

Dimensions

Size: Height: .8” (h) x 16.9” (w) x 5.2” (d)

Weight: 1.8 lbs.

Evaluation

The MX Keys has one of the best tactile feels of any keyboard due to its spherically-shaped keys with their round edges to match your fingertips.  Combine this with the increased key travel making this keyboard a perfect cross between flat scissor keys and larger tactile keyboards.  You can actually feel the difference by comparing this keyboard with Apple’s Magic keyboard.

Logitech did not stop with the tactile feel of the keys.  Instead they added illuminated keys, device switching and connectivity options.  For a company like Apple to make a keyboard without some of these features, is dubious.  One wonders why Apple’s keyboard with a number keypad sells for $30 more than the MX Keys!

This is not to say that the MX Keys is a perfect keyboard.  Although most of the keys work flawlessly with Macs, where is the Eject key?  Of course, this can be programmed into one of the F keys, but why wasn’t it considered as a standalone key? 

My other complaint is its low-profile design.  The height of the MX Keys is 5/8”.  Compare this to Apple’s keyboard with a height of 3/8”.  Much of this is personal preference.  I would have liked a keyboard with closer to a 30º angle.

If you’re looking for a comfortable keyboard loaded with features, check out the MX Keys. This Logitech keyboard makes Apple’s Magic Keyboard look bloated.  You may not want to spend $100 on a keyboard, but its features make it well worth it.

Supplement

Due to the popularity of the MX Keys keyboard, Logitech has announced that they will offer that same keyboard specifically for Mac users, re-named as the MX Keys for Mac starting August 1.

The Mac version is so similar to the PC/Mac version, one wonders why Logitech bothered.  The have changed the cmd/alt keys to Command and the Opt/start key to Options.  They have changed the color to Space Gray to keep in line with other Mac devices. They have also added some other specific Mac function keys as well.  

The price is the same as the last version, $99.99.  

If you currently own the MX Keys keyboard, it would not pay to buy the new keyboard.  However, if you are on the fence on a new keyboard, the MX Keys for Mac  should be definitely on your list!

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