Logitech K380 keyboard puts 3 devices at your fingers

Logitech triple threat keyboard

Not one, not two, but three devices, all commanded by a single keyboard.

Three Bluetooth presets on one thoughtfully designed, battery operated, portable input device.

I’ve been using the Logitech K380 for a little while and I still can’t get my head around why someone would need to hook up a keyboard to three different devices at the same time. However, if you do, this keyboard is a no-brainer.

The triple Bluetooth functionality is the “gimmick” Logitech uses to draw attention to this particular tool for writers (or anybody with multiple gadgets yearning for input). To me it seems over the top, but it works flawlessly, connecting you with the touch of a button to any of three different devices, whether computers (Mac, Windows and Chrome OS) or mobile (iOS and Android).

Whether you need that kind of connectivity or not, the K380’s build quality, minimal heft and slightly angled, full-size keys will keep you coming back for more. Especially at a street price of about $30.

Logitech is a frontrunner in peripherals and the quality and value of the K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard makes it clear why.

Price: $39.99 $29.99

Advertisements

Logitech reboots a beloved mouse for Mac users.

The top of the Logitech MX Master mouse. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

To make its mouse of the future, Logitech looked to the past. The MX Master, a reboot of a classic Logitech mouse that brings back a long-lost feature while adding significant modern upgrades, is perfect for the port-deficient new MacBook.

The MX Master resurrects the nifty scroll wheel that was a killer feature of the MX Revolution, which Logitech released in 2006. The Revolution’s clever scroll wheel seemed to shift gears on the fly, going from slow to speedy and letting you zip through long webpages and documents. The feature helped turned the Revolution into a hit, but the scroll wheel went away in subsequent Logitech mice, causing fans to weep for their loss when their beloved mouse finally crapped out.

The MX Master brings back the innovative scroll wheel with a vengeance.

When Logitech’s Anatoly Polyanker stopped by Cult of Mac’s offices to show off the (then-secret) MX Master, I was shocked to see that the new mouse was based on the beloved MX Revolution. And Polyanker was shocked when I pulled a well-used MX Revolution out of my desk drawer, where it had been stashed ever since I lost the oversize USB dongle the mouse used to connect wirelessly to computers.

“We finally upgraded you,” he said as he handed me an MX Master to review. “And we apologize it took so long!”

After Logitech removed the SmartShift scroll wheel from the MX Revolution’s successor, the 2009 Performance MX, some users (including me) lamented the change. Prices for the vintage mouse stayed high on eBay, with sellers asking as much as $949 for a new one in an unopened original box.

Bringing it back — and meaningfully improving upon it — became the goal, said Polyanker, who is Logitech’s director of brand and product portfolio for pointing devices.

The MX Master’s speed-adaptive scroll wheel lets the device automatically switch between ratchet mode (for precise scrolling) and freespin mode (for blazing-fast movement through interminably long documents or webpages). However, it doesn’t tilt side-to-side like the MX Revolution’s did.

“We knew this feature would be loved,” said Polyanker, describing the MX Master’s redesigned scroll wheel, although he said removing the tilt capability raised the danger of rejection by people who pined for the original. The unique thumbwheel delivers the same functionality in an even better package.

MX Master’s other key upgrades

In addition to bringing back the smart scroll wheel, the new mouse also boasts a clever thumbwheel for horizontal scrolling, a variety of programmable buttons that let you set up Mac-specific functions, and painless pairing with up to three devices using either Bluetooth or the enclosed USB dongle.

The addition of Bluetooth makes great sense in an era when USB ports are becoming a thing of the past. Three buttons on the bottom of the mouse let you instantly switch from one computer to another once everything is set up.

If you’re using a PC without Bluetooth support, or simply feel the need to waste a USB port, the included Logitech Unifying receiver can connect up to six compatible Logitech devices. It works like a charm.

Logitech MX Master mouse. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

An Apple-inspired shine

The MX Master is Logitech’s attempt to give a classic piece of hardware a high-end upgrade in a package “super users” will love.

“Over the last two years, things are being transformed,” Polyanker said. “I think Apple had a lot to do with this.”

Apple’s enduring emphasis on elegance and functionality has elevated design in the eyes of both businesses and consumers. The trend among PC and peripherals manufacturers is to use thinner, lighter materials and wrap powerfully functional products in high-end finishes.

Logitech hasn’t copped Apple’s subtle brushed stainless steel for the MX Master, but the new mouse does utilize nicer materials. Lightly textured black rubber on the mouse’s body gives it a warmer feel, while the island keys are rated at 10 million clicks rather than the 5 million of the previous device’s. An iridescent bronze finish on the plastic base gives the mouse a distinctive look.

A crazy polygonal pattern covers the rubber surface on the area underneath the thumb, covering a programmable Gesture button that lets Mac users switch between functions like App Expose and Mission Control as well as other desirable functions. Logitech’s Options software lets users pick and choose between functions to make the mouse do what they need.

With mice, just as with shoes, comfort is a highly personal matter. But Logitech spent long hours crafting a device that would feel good to users who put in long hours with mouse in hand.

“Comfort is No. 1 criteria for consumers,” Polyanker said, and when you’re designing for comfort, “every millimeter matters.”

Logitech’s next-generation Darkfield Laser Tracking saves power while enabling the mouse to track beautifully, even on glass.

The MX Master’s rechargeable battery lasts up to 40 days, Polyanker said, with a handy fast-charging feature that lets you suck up an hour’s worth of juice in just a minute. It doesn’t use an outdated charging stand like the MX Revolution did, but there is one potential bummer for Mac users: The MX Master charges with a micro-USB port rather than a Lightning cable.

The MX Master will be available in stores in early April for $99.99 retail.

The underside of the Logitech MX Master mouse. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-On Keyboard for iPad Air 2.

IMG_4055.PNG

Given that software keyboards are still buggy as hell, I’ve really had the chance to put the Logitech Ultrathin to use full time, and the conclusion in my iPad Ultrathin review still holds true for me.

The battery has never died on me, and I only remember having charged it once in the last eight weeks. The rubber feet are still sticking nicely to the bottom of the case, which is a good sign of overall durability. There’s really no downside to using this particular case with my Air 2, even though it’s technically designed for the original iPad Air. Most of all, the keys are still a delight to use. They’re springy, responsive, and very comfortable in continued use.

The only thing I still want changed at this point would be a sort of auto-wake switch in the form of a pressure sensor or a magnet. Credit really goes to Belkin for inclusion of that feature in many of their keyboard cases, and it has me hooked. Undocking the iPad from the keyboard and having Bluetooth automatically disconnect just feels like magic. It’s a great piece of smart design that makes the keyboard work for me, instead of forcing me to conform to the keyboard. If Logitech could add that feature to the next version of the Ultrathin, I think this would be a real 10/10 design.

Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-On Keyboard for iPad Air 2.

A hands-on look at Logitechs Keys-To-Go keyboard for iPad.

Logitech Keys-To-Go Bluetooth Keyboard
So you want a keyboard to use occasionally with your iPad, but you don’t want a keyboard case. Up to this point, that meant that you usually had to buy an Apple Wireless Keyboard (US$51) or something similar to drop into your iPad bag. Logitech, which just happens to make some of the best iPad keyboard cases on the market, has just released the new Keys-To-Go ultra-portable keyboard for iPad($69.99).

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 9.53 x 5.39 x 0.24 inches (242 x 137 x 6 mm)
  • Weight: 6.35 ounces (180 grams)
  • Rechargeable battery with life of three months

Design

The Keys-To-Go keyboard follows the tried-and-true design cues of Logitech’s popular FabricSkin keyboard case. In that respect, it means that the keyboard is covered with the spill-resistant FabricSkin material and that it comes in three different colors – red, teal and basic black.

Logitech points out that Keys-To-Go works with any iOS device, including iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. If you use another favorite iPad case that doesn’t already have a built-in keyboard, or if you like using your iPhone 6 Plus as a “phablet”, Keys-To-Go is designed for you.

The keyboard is very complete and uses a standard layout for iOS devices. There are separate rows for numbers and functions – the functions include a home screen key, a home key double-click, Spotlight, keys for switching between keyboards, opening the virtual keyboard when the Keys-To-Go is in use, and various play/pause/rewind and volume keys. There’s also a key for putting Bluetooth into discoverable mode (useful if you’re switching devices that are using the keyboard) and another to test the battery level. Lastly, there are arrow keys, perfect for navigating around spreadsheets or word processing documents quickly.

Functionality

My first thought when I saw the bright teal FabricSkin covering on the Keys-To-Go was that this was probably the best keyboard I could personally use.

It’s hard to believe just how thin the Keys-To-Go is (see edge-on view below), but it’s even harder to believe how good the keyboard feel is. There’s a surprising amount of throw to the mechanical keys that gives just the right amount of feedback for fast touch typers.

Edge view of Logitech Keys-To-Go Bluetooth Keyboard

FabricSkin has a slightly rubbery feel to it, which is great because when you’re typing on the keyboard on a slick surface, the keyboard stays in one place.

At 6.4 ounces, Keys-To-Go is just slightly heavier than a naked iPhone 6 Plus (6.07 ounces). The two devices together weigh just 12.47 ounces, which is a really lightweight pocketable (if you have a SCOTTeVEST) laptop!

Pairing is very quick and easy. The device is obviously made for primary use with iOS devices, as it shows up immediately in Bluetooth settings when turned on. When pairing with a Mac, the keyboard shows up with a hexadecimal identifier instead of a name, but still works perfectly.

Conclusion

Logitech has been making iPad keyboards for years now, and with the introduction of the Keys-To-Go keyboard, they now have a keyboard that works with any iOS device or Mac — in fact, the majority of this review was written using Keys-To-Go paired with my iMac. Keys-To-Go is a transportable, lightweight, and rugged keyboard that has a good feel and makes an excellent all-around primary or spare keyboard. I would like to see Logitech put the pricing of the Keys-To-Go keyboard more in line with the K480 Multi-Device Keyboard that sells for just $49.99.

Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker is a handful of fun.

Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker

TUAW reviews its share of Bluetooth speakers big and small, and today’s review comes courtesy of accessory megacorp Logitech. That company has been doing some amazing things for iPhone and iPad users, and it has recently introduced the X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker (US$49.99), a tiny short cylinder of sound that comes in a rainbow of fun color combos. Let’s take a look:

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 3.38 inch diameter x 1.44 inch thick (8.59 x 3.66 cm)
  • Weight: 5.7 ounces (161.6 grams)
  • Recharging cable: USB to micro-USB (included)
  • Battery life: Five hours
  • Available colors: Green, Grey, Orange, Red, Yellow

Design Highlights

My initial impressions of the X100 were positive. It’s hand-sized, colorful (my “orange” model is actually a dark blue with a bright orange speaker grille and highlights), and immediately intuitive to understand. Around the side of the short cylinder are three plainly marked buttons for volume control (+ and -) and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth button is used to pair the X100 with your device or answer an incoming phone call, and also serves as a pause button while playing music. There’s also a power button that is marked only by the universal power symbol.

Buttons on Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker

The exterior of the speaker is primarily a soft-feel polyurethane, so you can be assured that the X100 will live through drops and bumps. There’s only one LED on the entire speaker — a tiny blue one located behind the speaker grill that alerts you that the speaker is turned on. In case you need to connect the speaker to a non-Bluetooth device, there’s also an AUX input located next to the micro-USB port.

An opening at the top of the speaker leaves room for the included cord or a self-supplied carabiner, making it easy to hand the X100 from a belt loop or backpack.

Functionality Highilights

As usual, testing the speaker meant that I needed to test sound reproduction for music and phone calls, as well as ease of pairing and using the speaker. The controls on the X100 are really simple. I pressed the power button and voila! — the power came on. The first time, it also went into what I assumed was Bluetooth pairing mode, since the blue LED was flashing.

A quick trip to Settings on my iPhone acknowledged that the X100 needed to be paired, and with a quick tap that was completed. The X100 makes the usual bleeps and bloops to tell you when it is powering up and down and has connected to your iOS or OS X device.

Top View: Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker

What I don’t understand is how a pint-sized non-stereo speaker like the X100 can outperform some competitors costing four times as much. It has amazing sound reproduction capabilities and surprising volume. It’s not the greatest in the speakerphone category, but I have yet to be impressed with speakerphone quality with any Bluetooth speaker.

If there’s any negative I can find with the X100, it’s the battery life. Most other speakers have battery life measured in the eight to ten hour range; the X100 can run for about give hours before needing a recharge.

Conclusion

Logitech continues its run of useful high quality accessories for iOS devices with the X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker. Rugged, playfully designed, small, light and loud, the X100 also hits the market at a reasonable price.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air review.

Aside from Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air, they also offer a thinner and lighter option in the form of the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. For anyone who has ever used a Smart Cover before, you’ll already know exactly how to use it right out of the box. The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is one of the thinnest offerings I’ve seen in terms of keyboard cases, but does that come at the cost of usability? Let’s find out!

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover has been a favorite of mine all the way back to the 3rd generation iPad, so I was excited to get my hands on the newest model. As far as keyboard layout is concerned, Logitech doesn’t disappoint. The keyboard is very easy to type on and contains all the shortcut keys many of us have come to expect. While there isn’t a dedicated row of iOS specified keys like there is on some of the other offerings, there is a Fn key that works just as well. There is, however, a dedicated Home button key. Shortcut keys include lock, Siri, pause/play/skip tracks, volume, international keyboards, cut/copy/paste, and more. The international keyboards button is directly to the right of the space bar so it’s easy to access if you need to quickly toggle between keyboards.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air review

Where design is concerned, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is one of the lightest and thinnest offerings currently available for the iPad Air and if you’re concern is not adding any unnecessary bulk, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover lives up to that standard, just as it did with its predecessors. Just be willing to compromise protection since it offers almost none. If your iPad Air happens to take a tumble, the likely scenario would be that the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover would simply break away and both would crash to the ground. If you happen to drop it face down, it may save the screen from breaking but that’s about all you should expect.

In terms of everyday usage, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is rated at about 3 months battery life is you use it for around 2 to 3 hours each day. Much the same as many other keyboard cases since 3 months seems about standard. This particular model comes in both black and white as well so you can match it to the color iPad Air you purchased.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air review

Part of the reason I have loved the Ultrathin Keyboard Covers is that they are so easy to remove and replace. Part of the enjoyment of the iPad Air is that it’s so lightweight. That means when I’m laying in bed or reading a book on it and don’t need the keyboard, I don’t want it there. With some folio style cases, it can be a production to remove the iPad. With the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, I just snap it apart and then replace it when I’m ready to type. The convenience may be worth the compromise in protection for a lot of people.

The good

  • Slim design adds little to no extra weight considering the cover houses a full keyboard
  • Hinge is strong and stays in place
  • Keyboard layout is one of the best I’ve ever used
  • Easy to snap off and snap back on in less than a second
  • Access to all ports and connections without removing the cover

The bad

  • Gap on the side when closed could be bothersome to some folks
  • Minimal protection, none at all for the back of the iPad Air
  • No dedicated row of function keys, Fn button instead, not a deal breaker though given the small size of the keyboard

The bottom line

Logitech makes some of the best keyboard cases available today and the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is every bit as good as its predecessor. For those looking to maintain the lightness and slim design of the iPad Air, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is one of the absolute best options out there.

$99 – Buy Now

Logitech announces updated keyboard cases for iPad Air.

Logitechs announces updated cases for iPad Air

Logitech has announced new versions of its popular iPad cases, with these new models specifically made for the iPad Air. The FabricSkin Keyboard Folio, Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, Ultrathin Keyboard Folio, and Folio Protective Case have will all be compatible with Apple’s new 9.7-inch tablet.

The Folio Protective Case provides basic protection for your iPad, and will be available for $49.99. The Ultrathin Folio Keyboard and Ultrathin Keyboard Cover will both be available for $99.99. Finally, the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio will be available to users for $149.99.

All four cases are expected to be available in the U.S., Europe, and select Asian countries at some point in November.