We’ve all seen a bunch of wireless keyboards and mice, but if you’re someone who uses an HTPC in their living room, then you’ll know that you need a special kind of keyboard for it. HTPC owners need something to use with their HTPC, that’s kept several feet away, next to their large television. Unfortunately, compact, lightweight and well performing keyboards and mice are hard to come by. Having to use two separate devices is also difficult, considering that a dedicated mouse requires a hard surface to place it on. Handheld remotes don’t offer a keyboard, so typing and doing actual work is also difficult. Logitech’s new K400 keyboard hopes to be just that special kind of keyboard.
Design and build quality
The long named Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 is compact and lightweight, just as any HTPC user would like. It’s well balanced, so there are few chances of the keyboard toppling over. The keys are very tightly placed together and the spread is definitely smaller than a desktop keyboard. The size and surface area of the keys is relatively large, so typing theoretically shouldn’t be a problem. The entire keyboard is made of plastic and it doesn’t have a very solid feel to itself. There is some flexing when you press down on it .
Average build, but attractive design
The keys are bevelled and have a very chunky feel. There are none of the clicky, light, very sensitive keys here. There’s is a decent amount of travel in the keys, but they’re not the easiest to work on, not when the keyboard is brand new. The back of the keyboard has no stands to help incline the keyboard, if you were to place it on a desk. There are four rubber pads, which help the keyboard grip to the surface.
The wireless keyboard-cum-trackpad Logitech K400 has close to the complete range of keys that you would find on a standard keyboard, except for the dedicated numeric keypad and the other Home, End array of navigational buttons. There’s of course a Function key, which coupled with other keys can help you use those functions as well. There are no status indicators to denote the status of the Caps Lock and Scroll Lock keys. The K400 is powered by two AA batteries, so charging or getting replacements is a non issue. There’s an on-off switch on one side, too and Logitech claims that you can go a year without recharging batteries. You can a tiny USB receiver as as well as a larger expansion adapter for it..
Good value for money, lacking in ergonomics a bit
On the extreme end, lies the touchpad - something similar to the ones you find on a notebook. The trackpad as such is roughly the same size as that on a standard 14 or 15-inch notebook. The two buttons, however are much larger - they’re made of plastic, but they have the right amount of resistance and tactile feel to them.
There are some controls essential to an HTPC controller, such as volume controls and a mute key. There’s also a Home button that should come handy, while browsing. While the trackpad is on the right and it supports basic clicks as well as gestures, using the left click button on it can be difficult. Logitech has placed a dedicated left click button on the left top side of the keyboard. This way, users can scroll on the trackpad using their right thumb and click using the right hand thumb.
At first try, the K400 is quite painful to use. The spacing of the key makes it very difficult to get used to. The keys being somewhat hard to press make the task even more difficult. The compact size means you need to squeeze your hands a bit together to type. The trackpad on the other hand is much better.
The cramped layout can be a hindrance at times
There is a jittery feel to it, but it’s very usable. If you’re planning on using the K400 for a lot of typing work, you might find it a little difficult to get used to, at first. Eventually however, you’ll get used to it.
Takes little space
There’s hardly any input lag in both the keys or the trackpad. The wireless performance is pretty impressive. There’s no delay and the keyboard works perfectly fine from a distance of roughly 15 feet or so. Minor obstructions are not a hassle.
Good solution for HTPC users
Despite our complaints about the layout and the feel of the keyboard, priced at Rs.2,995 in India, the Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 is a good product. There’s no need to depend on a dedicated mouse or keep rotating a trackball. This is the case if you’re using it as an HTPC keyboard and not a keyboard for mainstream productivity applications. On an HTPC, your typical usage would be sending a few emails every now and then, browsing the web - thus typing in website addresses and occasional chatting. At its price, it’s quite affordable and considering that you can find it in the market or online stores for roughly Rs.2,300 makes the deal even sweeter.