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Logitech MX Mechanical review: A masterful keyboard in all switches and sizes

The MX Mechanical exemplifies Logitech's legacy in keyboard engineering, fusing the productivity chops of the Master Series with the mechanics of the G-line.
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Written by June Wan, Tech Editor on
Pros
  • Sturdy aluminum case
  • All three switch options are premium and high quality
  • Plenty of configurations for different users
  • Multi-device and OS compatibility
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Keycaps are not the most oil-resistant
  • Only two tilt levels
  • Minimal design may leave more to be desired

Logitech has built a legacy that's hard to match when it comes to computing peripherals. The MX Master Series, for one, is highly regarded for its productivity-enhancing keyboards and mice. While Logitech's G-line, for gaming, offers a slew of quality gear that has earned rankings on ZDNet's best lists

Today, Logitech is bringing a new entrant to its MX Master Series; a mechanical keyboard that promises the productivity chops of its predecessors and the tactile mechanics that professional users have longed for. The MX Mechanical, available in full size ($169) and Mini ($149), is primed to round out Logitech's small but mighty ecosystem of Master peripherals. And by borrowing some design cues from the brand's G-line, Logitech is flexing its own multiverse of madness along the way.

Specifications

Logitech MX Mechanical

Logitech MX Mechanical Mini

Dimensions

26.10 x 433.85 x 131.55 mm

26.10 x 312.60 x 131.55 mm

Weight

828 g

612 g

Keyboard size

104 keys

84 keys

Key switch

Tactile Quiet (Brown), Linear (Red), Clicky (Blue)

Tactile Quiet (Brown), Linear (Red), Clicky (Blue)

Keyboard material

Aluminum

Aluminum

Connection

Bluetooth or Logi Bolt USB for up to three devices

Bluetooth or Logi Bolt USB for up to three devices

Color

Graphite

Graphite


Design

As I mentioned before, the Logitech MX Mechanical comes in two sizes: a full size and a Mini (75%). The former, like other full-sized keyboards, offers a 104-key layout with the number pad and all. Naturally, its 828-gram footprint is heavier than the Mini (84 keys at 612 g) and requires a greater commitment of desk space. Putting the size difference aside, though, you're looking at two very similar boards. I like that because Logitech is fielding the same aluminum frame of matte-treated keycaps no matter your preference. And that combination, from my two weeks of use, has made for an exceptionally premium typing experience. 

logitech-mxmechanical-sizes.jpg

Besides the additional number pad, the Logitech MX Mechanical (top) and MX Mechanical Mini (bottom) are identical in build quality.

June Wan/ZDNet

Unlike the previous MX keyboard, which sported scissor-switch keys, the MX Mechanical is built on a foundation of low-profile keycaps and your choice of Kailh Choc V2 switches (Tactile Quiet, Linear, and Clicky). This is where the expertise of Logitech's G-line comes to play, with key switches that deliver, in my opinion, some of the best sounds and feedback out of any pre-assembled keyboard. 

Here's a breakdown of the three options, as well as a sound test:

  • Tactile Quiet (Brown): Silent presses with a reactive key reset, ideal for users who seek tactile feedback but not the noise.
  • Linear (Red): For smooth keystrokes with the fastest actuation point among the three. 
  • Clicky (Blue): Additively satisfying clicks that produce audible feedback from top to bottom.

Personally, I went with the linear setup, favoring the improved responsiveness and thumping sound effects. No matter which of the three you choose, though, Logitech will be charging $149 and $169 for the Mini and full size, respectively. (Note that the key switches are not hot-swappable, so the layout that you decide on is final.) 

Also: ZDNet's guide to mechanical keyboards

Logitech made it clear that the MX Mechanical is for professional users and not gamers -- and I'm absolutely on board with that. By spending more time unifying the build quality of the keyboard, and less on how users can customize the hardware, the MX Mechanical feels sturdy and durable to type on for hours. 

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The MX Mechanical Mini with its two-toned keycaps. 

June Wan/ZDNet

Even though the keyboard only comes in a Graphite colorway, it does have some splash of style with the matte-textured, two-toned keycaps. No matter the size configuration, the center typing keys are greyed out, while secondary keys like the number pad and arrows are dressed in a darker shade. Together, the MX Mechanical portrays a minimal and industrial aesthetic that should play well with any office setup. 

My only real issue with these keycaps is their susceptibility to finger oil. Like with any matte-treated keyboard, typing for long periods of time can leave a sheen, especially on commonly-used keys like the space bar. The layering can be cleaned off with a wet wipe, but for a $149 keyboard, I wish Logitech would've used a more resistant coating.

Keeping to the productivity theme, the MX Mechanical features monochromatic backlighting that can be adjusted within seven levels (via function keys or the LogiOptions+ software). At its brightest, all the keys are visibly lit during the daytime. At night, I found the third and fourth levels to do the best at illumination. 

Speaking of, the MX Mechanical is built with Logitech's smart illumination technology, giving the LEDs reactive functionality. Basically, when you lift your hand away from the keyboard, the backlighting will turn off. And when it senses your hand above the keys again, the lighting turns on. It's a smart way to save battery life.

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The Logitech MX Mechanical can only be raised by 8 degrees.

June Wan/ZDNet

One of my complaints with the older MX Keys was that they only had one tilt angle, which was too low for some. Logitech isn't making the keyboard that much more flexible with the MX Mechanical, but there is an 8-degree tilt stand on the back (see image above). When I asked Logitech why it settled with just 8 degrees, I was told that it was the most optimal typing angle based on user research and testing.

Also: Dygma Raise keyboard review: Elevating the laws of ergonomics

Software

Both MX Mechanical keyboards can pair to Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Linux via Bluetooth or Logitech's proprietary Logi Bolt USB receiver. The latter is a piece of connection tech that we've seen on newer Logitech hardware, including the recent Lift Vertical and M650 mouse and serves as a centralized dongle to sync with other mice and keyboards. This is particularly useful if you're already vested in the Logitech ecosystem, as you only need one USB receiver to connect multiple peripherals to a computer. 

The MX Mechanical can pair with up to three devices simultaneously and navigate around via the Easy-Switch hardware buttons as a standalone keyboard. It's as easy as tapping between the numbered profile keys on the board. But while I found the pairing process very intuitive, it would sometimes take an extra second or two for my MacBook or Android tablet to detect the keyboard and register its inputs. If you typically work off one device, then this is a non-issue. But if you bounce between any combination of desktop, tablet, laptop, and phone, then the delay is noticeable. 

Ultimately, you'll want to tap into Logitech's LogiOptions+ program to get the best software experience with the MX Mechanical. Once the device is added, the program lets you map key functions, adjust between six backlighting effects, assign Easy-Switch keys, and download firmware updates. Most importantly, you can unbind the Emoji menu function key to something that's...more practical.

logitech-optionsplus-emoji.png
June Wan/ZDNet

Battery

Logitech claims that both MX Mechanical sizes will last between 15 days and 40 weeks (10 months) depending on whether you have backlighting turned on or off. That's a very substantial difference and one that makes keeping the lighting off totally worth it. My full-sized MX Mechanical review unit is still rated for 98% battery from my two weeks of use. (I've always found the added brightness distracting, so keeping the backlight off was a no-brainer.) On the side, I've also been testing the MX Mechanical Mini with the "Waves" lighting effect, and its battery has drained to 27% at the time of this writing. Both instances validate Logitech's endurance claims. 

When the keyboard does need a top-up, though, it can be charged via USB-C. Logitech says that 15 minutes plugged in provides one day of use.

Bottom line 

In the MX Mechanical, Logitech adds another thoughtfully-designed peripheral to its Master Series portfolio. It's rare to find a non-gaming keyboard these days that offer as much sizing and key switch options as this, making it easy to recommend for professional and casual users alike. For how much hardware you're getting with these keyboards, though, you'll have to pay up to reap the benefits. Starting at $149 for the Mini, the MX Mechanical is already $50 more than its slim-key predecessor, the MX Keys Mini

Alternatives to consider 

If low-profile switches are your thing, but you want a keyboard with a little more spring to its step, then the Logitech G915 is a worthy alternative to the MX Mechanical. In fact, the two are very similar in that the G915 is also offered in full-size and TKL options, with three key switch types to choose from. 

Using the MX Mechanical reminded me a lot of the Keychron K1, another low-profile keyboard that focuses more on performance than flashy looks. It's about $50 less than the MX Mechanical Mini but offers a similar typing experience and keys that are actually swappable. At its price point, the built quality does take a hit, though. 

If it's your first time shopping for a Master Series keyboard, then the Logitech MX Keys is also worth considering. Feature-wise, it matches the MX Mechanical in virtually every aspect, including multi-device pairing and LogiOptions+ compatibility. The main difference is that the MX Keys use scissor-switch keys, similar to traditional laptop keyboards, so keystrokes have a shorter travel distance and produce significantly less sound.

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