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What: Logitech K830 backlit keyboard.

Price: $129.95.

Tech Talk verdict: For couch potatoes without cats.

Ah, technology. I was in the living room working on my laptop the other day when it went completely berserk. I got a screenful of Zs and nothing I could do would stop them. I tried hitting the scroll lock, I started a new file, I checked for a key locked down by lunch grit, I even re-booted. The Zs just kept on coming in their thousands. I eventually discovered the cat curled up on the wireless keyboard in the study.

Even so I wouldn’t be without my wireless keyboard (the cat, now she’s debatable…) It adds a layer of convenience and ease to using a laptop on the desk that’s a game changer for comfort and convenience. Get one with the accompanying wireless mouse and it will change your whole attitude to using laptops.

The only trouble is that it’s black, just like the vast bulk of keyboards, which makes it very hard to use in low light. If you’re using your computer and someone in the same room is immersed in a movie they’ll hardly thank you for turning a light on. Apple makes some neat white keyboards that are a bit easier to navigate in low light, but not much.

Logi 1That’s why I like the idea of Logitech’s new wireless keyboard with backlit keys. This is a good idea.

Touch any key and the backlighting goes on, each key shining at you in the dark. Stop using it for five seconds and the backlighting goes off. And the level of backlighting is regulated by ambient light – in brighter light the keys are brighter, in lower light they dim down so as to be visible but not obtrusive.

Now obviously backlighting uses a bit of power which is probably why Logitech has powered this with a rechargeable battery rather than conventional replaceable batteries. So the keyboard comes with a micro USB cable to plug into the computer for charging – and it can be used while charging is underway.

To save power it has an on/off switch and there’s a battery indicator light. That five-second thing is also a battery saver and is not adjustable (I think five seconds is too short, I’d like to be able to adjust that). A charge takes about three hours and keeps it running for around 20 hours.

The other thing I like is the large in-built touchpad complete with a left click button. This eliminates the need for a mouse. You may prefer a mouse, but Logitech has designed this keyboard specifically for couch potatoes who have plugged their computer into the television and would rather curl up on the couch with a keyboard than a laptop. A mouse in such a situation would add complication and would get lost between the cushions anyway.

The operating range is suitably generous at 10 metres, and it operates with Windows 7 and 8.

Published June 2014

 

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