I spend all day writing and switching between a variety of devices to do it. Naturally, keyboards are a big thing for me; I have a lot of them and I’m always looking for something better. Logitech sent me a K811 Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard that’s designed to be the keyboard for someone who switches between various Macs and iOS devices. After trying it out for a month I can say this is very nearly the perfect computer keyboard for anyone in this situation.
I use a full-sized keyboard with mechanical switches for most of my writing (a Das Model S), but for everything else, my go-to for the past few years has been an Apple wireless keyboard.
The Logitech K811 tops the Apple version in almost every way, especially if you use the keyboard with multiple Macs and/or iOS devices. It’s virtually the same size as the Apple version and its keys have roughly the same travel. Like Apple’s they are chiclet style but the Logitech’s are slightly smaller and more rounded — they have a subtle concave curve that helps with typing accuracy. It’s also Bluetooth, so you can pair it with just about anything and it includes OS X shortcut keys.
However, besides matching the Apple version, the Logitech K811 offers these additional features:
• Backlit keys with motion detector, auto adjustment based on room lighting (as well as manual adjustment)
• Built-in rechargeable battery (I haven’t had to recharge it yet)
• Easy switch pairing with three different devices lets you move the keyboard between them at the push of a button instead of having to re-pair the Bluetooth connection each time
Any one of these extras makes the K811 worth the switch in my mind. Lack of backlighting (such a useful feature) is one of my pet peeves with Apple’s keyboards and not having to worry about swapping out batteries is a win. The ability to toggle between Mac and iOS devices (including Apple TV) means you can have a single wireless keyboard to share between them — without having to jump through hoops. This keyboard is small enough to tuck in a bag with your iPad and go.
I said “very nearly perfect.” What keeps the K811 from nailing it?
For much of the day, I take advantage of an Apple feature called Target Display Mode to use a 27-inch iMac as an external display for a MacBook Air. Toggling between seeing the iMac’s display and the MBA’s requires a key command that only Apple keyboards support (COMMAND-F2). The issue has been raised in Logitech’s support forums (as well as with other third party keyboard manufacturers), but there’s currently no solution other than to use an original Apple keyboard.
Which is a bummer for me.
But for 90 percent of Mac and iOS users looking for a alternative to Apple’s own wireless keyboard, this won’t be an issue. In which case, I suspect you’ll find the Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard K811 is a worthwhile upgrade.
The Logitech K811 is currently $79.12 on Amazon.
Disclosure: Logitech supplied a K811 keyboard for this review.