Logitech Pop Keys review: Reliable wireless mechanical keyboard with a divisive style

Enlarge / Logitech’s Pop Keys mechanical wi-fi keyboard.

Andrew Cunningham

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Mechanical keyboards could be intimidating for newcomers. The sheer variety of choices—keyboard dimension, the kind and the producer of the switches, the model and materials of the keycaps, amongst others—could make it onerous to know the place to start out. And but, when you do begin utilizing a mechanical keyboard, there’s quite a bit to like, from the superb key journey and typing really feel to the satisfying clackity-clack of the switches to the customizability of the keycaps.

As we talked about in our evaluation of the Razer Pro Type Ultra, good wi-fi mechanical keyboards are nonetheless onerous to return by. That’s doubly true when you’re on the lookout for one from a extra established firm that may present US-based technical and guarantee help and well-maintained, truly helpful software program. Which is why I’m glad to see Logitech increasing its mechanical keyboard choices with the $100 Pop Keys Bluetooth keyboard.

The Pop Keys is unquestionably not for everybody. Its high-contrast, high-saturation colour palette, rounded typewriter-style keycaps, and devoted emoji keys will immediately flip off individuals who simply desire a keyboard-looking keyboard. Its keycap high quality leaves a bit to be desired, too. However as a starter mechanical keyboard, or as a mechanical different for different Logitech Bluetooth keyboards just like the budget-minded K380 or the MX Keys Mini, it’s an aesthetically placing possibility with dependable connectivity and an honest really feel.

Typing really feel

The Pop keyboard is paying homage to Logitech’s cheap, simple K380, one other round-keyed multi-device Bluetooth keyboard. The K380’s scissor switches are on par with a decent-not-great laptop computer keyboard; it’s not as agency as Apple’s Magic Keyboards, nevertheless it’s additionally a 3rd of the value. And that’s the attraction of the K380—it’s respectable, it’s rock-solid dependable, a pair of AAA batteries can final for years, and it costs $30.

The Pop Keys takes that fundamental template and provides TTC Brown mechanical switches (Logitech doesn’t specify which form of switches it makes use of, nevertheless it’s printed on the switches while you look). As with the Razer Professional Sort Extremely, one of many stuff you quit while you go together with a extra mass-market mechanical keyboard is the power to select which swap you favor. I do assume Browns are a stable alternative for lots of people, they usually’re what I personally use on the MagicForce Smart 2 and Varmilo VA87M—they’re tactile switches with a extra refined bump that helps cut back noise, and I discover that they ship a pleasant clicky mechanical really feel and sound with out being obnoxiously loud about it.

The Pop Keys is a lot like a mechanical version of the Logitech K380 keyboard (though it does cost three times as much).
Enlarge / The Pop Keys is quite a bit like a mechanical model of the Logitech K380 keyboard (although it does price 3 times as a lot).

Andrew Cunningham

Specs at a look: Logitech Pop Keys
Switches TTC brown
Keycaps ABS plastic
Connectivity Choices Bluetooth 5.1, or USB-A Logi Bolt dongle
Backlighting None
Programmability Emoji keys and most perform keys, by way of software program
Dimension 12.65×5.45×1.39 inches (321.2×138.5×35.4mm)
Weight 1.7 lbs (779 g) with two AAA batteries
Guarantee 1 yr
Worth (MSRP) $100
Different perks Bluetooth pairing with as much as three gadgets, included Logi Bolt dongle

That stated, in comparison with each the Gateron and Cherry MX Brown switches within the different mechanical keyboards I exploit usually, the bump within the Pop Keys’ TTC Brown switches is very refined, to the purpose the place I questioned if it truly used linear switches the primary time I used it. Now that I’ve been working with it for just a few days, I can positively really feel that tactile bump, and it’s doing its job—I don’t have to backside out the keys to get presses to register. However when you had been anxious about disliking the keyboard as a result of Brown switches don’t have sufficient of a bump for you, the Pop Keys could disappoint.

Logitech’s keycap alternative additionally leaves one thing to be desired. I’m not speaking a lot concerning the rounded form of the keys—although this does take some getting used to, and even after just a few days of typing I nonetheless discover myself making extra errors than I do on a typical keyboard—and extra because of the ABS plastic used for the keycaps. The evenly textured ABS plastic is extra vulnerable to sporting down and turning into shiny, easy, and slippery over time in comparison with extra sturdy PBT keycaps, and Logitech has additionally printed the legends onto the keys moderately than molding them into the plastic. The printed legends on my K380’s keycaps haven’t worn off after just a few years of intermittent use, however I’d be extra anxious about them for a keyboard I used to be utilizing all day on daily basis.

Good software program, dependable pairing

The Logi Options app offers software programmability for the emoji keys and most of the function row.
Enlarge / The Logi Choices app affords software program programmability for the emoji keys and a lot of the perform row.

Andrew Cunningham

Just like the K380, the Pop Keys could be paired to as much as three completely different gadgets by way of Bluetooth, and the keycap legends cowl each Home windows and macOS/iOS/iPadOS layouts. If Bluetooth isn’t responsive sufficient for you, or when you simply wish to join the keyboard to a fourth system, Logitech does embody one in every of its Logi Bolt USB wireless dongles within the field, so you possibly can join as much as six suitable Logitech keyboards and mice utilizing a lower-latency wi-fi connection. The Bolt dongle can even pair the Pop Keys with a fourth laptop, if the three Bluetooth connections aren’t sufficient for you.

I’ve by no means had an issue with Bluetooth reliability in a Logitech keyboard, and the stable low-latency connection is one factor that units the Pop Keys other than different $100-and-under wi-fi mechanical keyboards I’ve used. I expertise random disconnects on a number of computer systems whereas utilizing the Magicforce Smart 2, so although that keyboard is a bit cheaper and feels higher to kind on total than the Pop Keys, I successfully find yourself treating it as a wired keyboard more often than not.

Logitech’s software program can also be fairly good, as keyboard software program goes—higher than the barebones or nonexistent software program for no-name keyboard imports but additionally extra streamlined than Razer’s bloated do-everything Synapse package. The Pop Keys keyboard isn’t programmable by way of {hardware} DIP switches or firmware customization, so it is advisable to depend on the software program for any and all keyboard customization, together with associating the proper emoji characters with the emoji keycaps.

When you’ve got completely no use for devoted emoji keycaps, the excellent news is that these 4 buttons (often devoted to some mixture of the web page up/down, finish, insert, dwelling, or print display screen buttons on a typical 75 p.c keyboard) could be programmed to do absolutely anything, together with functioning as different emoji. I do want Logitech had included some keycaps for these keys’ conventional features alongside the extra emoji keycaps in order that individuals who need these buttons to do regular issues might achieve this with out messing up the look of the keyboard. However in the end, having keys whose legends don’t match their features is a shortcoming you possibly can reside with when you’re proud of the remainder of the selections that Logitech made right here.

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