LOGITECH K830 TV
£90 • From www.currys.co.uk
This trackpad-equipped keyboard is great for smart TVs and media PCs, but not much else
THIS KEYBOARD SOMEWHAT stretches the definition of portable: at 367mm wide and 16.5mm deep, it barely fits in a satchel.
There’s a good reason for that, though, one you’ve probably already noticed: the laptop-style trackpad and left/right click buttons, mounted to the right of the keys. This is a design inherited from Logitech’s old TK820, which had the same, unusual raison d’être as the K830 TV does: to stay in your living room and act as a controller for a home media PC or smart TV.
The trackpad and mouse buttons, then, are an integral feature rather than a tertiary gimmick; when you’re sitting on a sofa, you really don’t want to be handling a physical mouse, even if it is a wireless model.
Despite this media focus, though, it can be used with mobile Android devices as well. The K830 TV can connect to devices via Bluetooth 4.0, in addition to the bundled 2.4GHz USB receiver, so we were quickly set up and tapping away on a phone. The trackpad also saves the fuss of having to
reach out and select things with the touchscreen, as finger contact produces an onscreen cursor. This made apps such as Microsoft Word even easier to navigate.
The trackpad itself is smaller than it was on the TK820, but still more than usable. It’s smooth and responsive, performing multitouch gestures promptly and reliably. The mouse buttons also have enough of a tactile response that you can feel them register in the darkened room, as is often the case with home cinemas.
Speaking of the dark, the K830 TV is fully backlit. An ambient light sensor is included, to automatically switch between three brightness levels depending on how dark the room is, though in our experience this didn’t work very well, often leaving the lighting off completely. Luckily, there’s a manual toggle built into the F1 key, so you can set the brightness yourself.
The catch is that engaging the backlight will utterly destroy battery life: according to Logitech, the rechargeable battery will last for one year on a single charge, assuming two hours’ use per day and the backlight being left off. With it switched on, however, this plummets to just 10 days of similar use.
It’s clear that Logitech has given plenty of thought to what makes a good living room keyboard, and there are even more bells and whistles in the form of full media controls and, smartly, a USB extension cable for the receiver, so it can be placed further away from the TV or PC to prevent interference.
It is a shame, though, that the occasional Netflix search query or account login are the only things it can really do, as it’s not suited for extended typing sessions at all. The keys are cramped – an occupational hazard for portable keyboards, but an annoyance nonetheless – and have a sluggish, mushy action.
Without a low price to make up for this, the K830 TV is stuck in its niche as a home theatre keyboard you might break out only on occasion. It fills this role well, to be sure, but never feels like an essential purchase.