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Logitech K480 retail package
Regular readers know I am pretty device agnostic and like to test out and use all the mobile platforms. If you switch between more than one device and prefer to enter text via a hardware keyboard, then Logitech's new K480 Multi-Device Keyboard may be just what you are looking for.
The keyboard is not made for just iPad usage and is not something you haul around with you. It is rather large and thick, with a slight angle down towards you, and is designed to be used at your desk. It has a hand dial on the left side that lets you switch between three connected Bluetooth devices while also having buttons designed for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android platforms.
The keyboard is larger than I thought it would be when I pulled it out of the retail package, particularly in the thickness of it at 20 mm (0.79 inches). It seems that the thickness is there to provide for a rather deep slot that serves as the stand for your devices. The highlight yellow slot, present on the black keyboard model, let me fit my iPad Mini in landscape next to an HTC One M8 in portrait. My Surface Pro 3 was too long to fit, but I believe iPad Airs work in the slot as well.
The keyboard is powered by two AAA batteries that reportedly last for up to two years with heavy usage, defined as 2 million keystrokes per year. It is nice not having to worry about charging up another device.
After opening it up and removing the battery protection slip, you press and hold either the 'i' or 'pc' button in the top right. The 'i' button is for connecting iOS and Mac OS devices while the 'pc" button lets you connect Windows, Chrome OS, and Android devices. Press and hold the button you choose for three seconds, a blue indicator light flashes, and then connect your device.
On the far left, opposite these Bluetooth pairing buttons, is the Easy-Switch dial with the numbers 1, 2, and 3. You pair up to three devices, rotating the dial as you set them up, and then you can easily swap between the devices just by rotating the dial.
I paired my Surface Pro 3 mounted in a Surface Dock (I typed up this post using the Logitech K480), Apple iPad Mini with Retina display, HTC One M8, and Moto X. All of them worked perfectly with each having some slightly different functionality with the keyboard.
There are Windows, Mac OS, and Android apps for advanced keyboard functionality that you can install and setup if you want, but they are not needed for most functions. Some keys have gray labels for iOS or Mac OS functions, while others have white labels on gray circles for Windows use.
I liked that an upper right button quickly captured screenshots on my Android phones and could see using this a lot for that function rather than funky double button presses. Volume can be controlled and you can perform some basic navigation with the four directional arrows. There is not trackpad so you will have to also tap on your screen or use a mouse for navigation. There are quite a few functions and shortcuts so you keyboard jockeys may enjoy discovering them all.
The keys have good travel, but are also not silent. There is ample spacing and I was able to nearly match my ergonomic desktop keyboard pace. I did have a left Shift button that kept sticking in the down position, but if I bought this then I would exchange it for one that was not sticking.
You can pick up the Logitech K480 for $49.99, which is pretty dang reasonable for a keyboard that can be used with a number of devices.
The K480 in black with yellow highlights