There’s a lot to like about Logitech’s K480 Bluetooth keyboard. It switches quickly and smoothly between computer, tablet and phone. You can use it to jump from one operating system to another without your hands ever leaving the keyboard. It does all this at the twist of a dial.
If you own a mix of hardware from different brands and running different operating systems, it makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, you can do better than if every digital device in your home is just Android or Apple.
In testing I found the keyboard works well with almost everything. I tried it with an iPad, iPhone, Android phone, Android tablet, Macintosh and a Windows PC.
It didn’t work out of the box with my Windows Phone or Blackberry and I didn’t spend long trying to force the issue.
The K480 looks like a keyboard. Not a regular keyboard: It’s smaller and squarer than most. The design has a faint whiff of Fisher-Price about it. By that I mean it fat and chunky with rounded corners and rounded typewriter keys.
There’s a groove set above the keys which acts as a stand for tablets and phones.
A dial set in the right of the case just above the escape key has three settings, marked 1, 2 and 3. You use this switch the keyboard control between devices. You have to remember which number is which, but that’s no big deal. Flicking the dial moves keyboard control seamlessly between the three pre-set options.
This isn’t the greatest-ever keyboard. Logitech makes a number of better ones. If you type all day it’s not for you. There isn’t even a full set of PC keys. But you wouldn’t buy this as a typist’s keyboard, it’s all about the device switching.
I can touch type on almost anything, including the sometimes maligned 2015 Apple MacBook keyboard. Although I could, at a pinch, touch type on the K480, it’s action didn’t feel as good or flow as well as, say, the excellent Logitech Ultra-thin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air.
Practical, not portable
The other downside is the keyboard barely scrapes a pass mark for portability. At about 800g it weighs more than my iPad. It’s a little too thick and long to slip in a bag with a tablet. Again, you’d choose this if you think device switching trumps mobility.
One odd feature is the K480 needs two AAA batteries. Logitech says the batteries will last for two years. I’ve no idea how true that is, but after two months the batteries in my keyboard are going strong. On the whole I prefer rechargeable devices, but buying two AAA batteries every couple of years is no hardship.
Conclusion: The Logitech K480 Bluetooth keyboard is a smart answer to a specific problem. It does what it sets out to do with style and it’s affordable. You can buy it for less than NZ$100.