- — 09 October, 2011 22:00
|Name||Wireless touch keyboard: Logitech K400|
|At a glance:||Designed with PC-TV connectivity in mind,Too much travel for a non-desk based keyboard,Touchpad smooth to use,Fun to troll people with|
|Summary:||A handy tool if you ever like to use your TV as a monitor.|
The Logitech K400 is a small, lightweight wireless keyboard with a mouse touchpad on its right-hand side, so the whole computer can be controlled wirelessly without an extensive knowledge of keyboard shortcuts.
It's a lot like a laptop keyboard, really, in that a full-sized keyboard has been compacted into a smaller version to allow space for the touchpad. It winds up being about the size of a netbook keyboard, but it's well laid-out, so much easier to type on than most netbooks. It also has a couple of extra keys to make life easier - volume controls, a button to toggle the touchpad on and off, and a button that returns you to your browser's home page when web browsing.
The way we see it, there are two good uses for a wireless keyboard and mouse in one package. Personally, my favourite use is plugging the wireless adapter into other people's computers so I can mess with their PC while they're trying to use it. Are they trying to check Facebook? Maybe they'd like to switch to that Wikipedia tab instead. Trying to type a status update? Let's make it a little more crude than they'd initially planned. Since the wireless adapter is tiny, they might not even notice it's plugged in.
Childish antics aside, the real purpose of this device is to control a PC that's hooked up to a TV from the comfort of your couch. If you've got a PC connected to your TV, via HDMI or VGA, you can control both the mouse and the keys with the K400. The touchpad isn't bad, either - it's not very big, but smoother to use than the larger touchpad on my laptop. But since you're going to be using this keyboard primarily on your lap or on a couch, there are a couple of little nitpicky things we didn't like.
The keys on the keyboard are set in a hollow, rather than the raised buttons of an island keyboard, and thus have quite a lot of travel. Ordinarily that's something we'd really appreciate - we like a nice tactile response here at PC World. However, because it's on your lap the keyboard is already moving a little and having to press the keys down quite hard becomes a chore. I had the same difficulty when pushing down the buttons underneath the touchpad, and would have to hold the keyboard still in one hand while I used the right-click and left-click buttons with the other. In this particular case, having lots of travel was a bad thing.
However, if you're controlling your TV-attached PC with this keyboard, you're probably going to be watching video rather than using the device for long stretches, so you might not mind these minor annoyances. Besides, there are always going to be issues when using a keyboard on your lap, so in the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal. Using the K400 is certainly more convenient than getting up and using your PC to set up your video on demand, so if you watch a lot of video on your big screen, it's a great gadget to have in your arsenal. And at only $100, the price seems right.