Review: Logitech K800

Our score: 5/5
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October 8, 2010 3:22 PM
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Published: October 6, 2010 11:00 PM
By Vincent Alzieu
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
Logitech has taken its Illuminated keyboard back to the drawing board, adding a detachable USB cable (that also recharges the batteries) and redesigning the keys to make the brand new K800. While the Illuminated had keys with sharper, squarer edges and a futuristic-looking font, the K800 has a more neutral look to it. The keys have rounded edges and the font is much more ordinary. Which do we prefer? It's a matter of personal taste really. We think the Illuminated looks more masculine and geeky, whereas the K800 looks like it's been designed to please as many users as possible. At least, that was the general feeling when we passed it around our offices (which, by the way, are mixed!).


The 'L' key of the K800 with 4 adjustable backlight levels


The 'L' key of the Illuminated

For Logitech, it seems that chopping off the cable from the Illuminated and changing the keys a bit just wasn't enough, so you'll also now find:
  • A battery level indicator showing the charge level.
  • An ON-OFF button.
  • A hand proximity sensor. As soon as the keyboard detects your hands approaching, the backlighting is automatically activated to light up the keys. It works quite well too. We found it to be fast and practical, particularly when playing games (or working for that matter) in low light, as it stops you having to fumble around to find the right key to activate the backlighting. Here's a quick video that shows how it works:

The backlighting in action

Nice and Quiet!

We were big fans of the Illuminated's quiet keys. The good news is that the K800 keys are just as quiet, if not a bit quieter. Typing sounds a little deeper and, as in most keyboards, only the Space bar makes a little more noise.
 

Keyboard noise: K800, Illuminated, Zeboard

 

A Couple of Design Features Missing

  • More freedom to angle the keyboard. When 'flat' the K800 is tilted forwards slightly, and can be inclined more using its rear feet. Microsoft usually also includes a reverse tilt to angle its keyboards backwards, which can apparently be more comfortable. Here, that's not an option, as the K800 can only be angled forwards—even when it's 'flat'. (Note that the Illuminated couldn't be angled at all).
  • When carrying the keyboard around under your arm, for example, it'd be good to have some kind of integrated storage for the USB cable. Unfortunately, you'll have to carry it separately in your pocket.
  • The Caps Lock key has a little green light that shows when it's activated. However, we can't understand why there's no such light on the Num Lock key. In fact, there's no visual sign to show you whether this option is active or not, which isn't particularly helpful when typing out passwords


Good for Games?

A keyboard that's wireless and backlit will certainly appeal to gamers. For typical use by most people in regular, casual games, this keyboard will be great.

However, hardcore gamers who spend every waking hour hammering out repeated actions and simultaneous commands won't find the Logitech K800 the best choice. It lacks the kind of functions for easily creating macros that are found in the likes of the Logitech G19. Similarly, if your handling tends to be a little aggressive, the sturdy keys of the G19 will probably be more suitable. The K800 is a keyboard for gentler fingers, with a short keystroke (approx. 90 ms deep—like on the Illuminated—instead of 120 ms on keyboards with larger keys) that feels soft and smooth. There doesn't seem to be any input delay either, compared with standard wired keyboards.

5/5 Logitech K800 DigitalVersus 2010-10-07 00:00:00

Pros

  • Proximity detection is practical and effective
  • Keystrokes are soft, gentle and quiet
  • Can be used wired or wireless, battery-level indicator
  • Nice design
  • A truly unique product (as yet)

Cons

  • No light on the Num Lock key
  • Expensive
  • Can't be angled freely enough

Conclusion

This keyboard is undoubtedly the best in its field ... it's also the only product in its field for the time being. So if you're looking for a wireless backlit keyboard then you simply don't have a choice, the K800 is the product for you. The good news is that it happens to be excellent!

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