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Gear Review: Logitech K380 Multi-Device Keyboard

One keyboard to rule them all

May 9th, 2017 | by Z. Gonzales

Owning multiple devices is becoming quite common these days. It’s not unusual to see people own a laptop, a desktop, a smartphone or a tablet all at the same time. Having said this, multi-device peripherals are also on the rise.

Leading the race in the multi-device peripherals market is Logitech with their keyboards and mice. The Swiss company has been making keyboards that are able to connect to multiple devices since 2014 with its K480.

Whats in the boxAlthough this device was incredibly useful, it was also very bulky. So, I think that’s the time that Logitech decided to create a Bluetooth multi-device keyboard that’s lighter and more portable. Enter the K480’s smaller sibling – the Logitech K380.

While it is definitely more compact than the K480, does it automatically follow that it’s better? Here’s my long-term review to help you out if in case you’re thinking of picking up this keyboard for yourself.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

The packaging for the Logitech K380 is pretty simple. It has a simple box in that signature Logitech teal color. After opening the box, you’ll find the K380 keyboard covered in plastic, the usual paperwork and a yellow piece of plastic that serve as a quick start guide.

Box 2The keyboard also comes with two AAA batteries that are pre-installed and you simply pull a flap of plastic to let the metal contacts touch with the batteries.

 

DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

When it comes to design and construction, I have to give it to Logitech for making the K380 as a simple but stylish keyboard. The keys are circular in shape and are of the membrane-type variety.

The layout of the keys is quite similar to what you’ll find in a typical laptop but the function keys serve different functions based on the operating system of the device that is currently connected. Additionally, the F1, F2 and F3 keys are colored differently as these keys are the ones you’ll use when switching between devices.

Keyboard 1A power switch is located on the left side of the device alongside a small LED indicator for power. The three function keys mentioned above also have their small LED indicators to signal to the user which device the keyboard is currently connected to.

As the keyboard can connect to multiple devices and different operating systems, some of the keys serve multiple purposes. For instance, the Command Key for Mac shares the same space as the Alt key for Windows devices.

back sideAt the bottom of the device, you’ll find four rubber feet to keep the device from slipping when on top of a slippery surface. The battery compartment is also located at the back. By the way, the K380 is powered by two AA batteries. The batteries that Logitech has included are non-rechargeable but they did say that the keyboard can use them for around 2 years.

 

ERGONOMICS

Ergonomics plays a major role when it comes to keyboard use. This is especially true for certain types of users such as journalists and bloggers who spend large amounts of their time using the keyboard for their work.

In the case of the K380, there are things that make the keyboard a joy to use but there are also some things that I think can be improved upon. For starters, there’s no way for you to adjust the keyboard height in contrast to other Bluetooth keyboards with foldable feet at the back. A foam wrist rest could solve this issue.

Left profileMoreover, Mac users might have some difficulty with using the keyboard as there seem to be some issues with the Bluetooth connection with some versions (specifically the newer versions) of Mac-based products. I was using a Mac that is using Mac OS Yosemite before and had no issues with the device. Unfortunately, this changed after updating to OS Sierra where I encountered lag when it comes to connecting to the laptop.

batteriesOn a positive note, I really like how the keys feel when pressed. I’m a huge fan of chiclet-style keys and the Logitech’s claim on battery life seems to hold true. I’ve been using the K380 for over a year now and so far, I haven’t had the need to replace the batteries yet. Lastly, I really like how quiet the keyboard is. Compared to the K480’s clackety keys, the K380 barely makes a sound when its keys are pressed.

I also like the shortcut keys at the top which works whether I’m using a Mac, my Android phone, a Windows device or an iOS device. If you want to customize these shortcut keys even further, you can download Logitech’s Options software so you can manually remap some of the function keys.

 

FINAL WORDS

When all things are said, the Logitech K380 is such a joy to use. Its slim and compact profile make it a great a choice for travelers who want to be productive even while on the go. At the same time, the keyboard’s weighted design also make it a good desktop keyboard.

Furthermore, the keyboard’s keys are really comfortable and the shortcut keys really make the device helpful no matter what device and operating system you are using; and although it does lack a height adjustment mechanism for ergonomics, I think the battery life more than makes up for this.

Lastly, the battery life is quite impressive. Logitech has done a great job on making the keyboard very power efficient that shipping the K380 with non-rechargeable batteries is forgivable. With the price tag of around less than PHP2,000 (around US$40), the Logitech K380 is well worth the money.

 

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