Technology

Logitech Pop Keys keyboard review: form over function

Logitech’s $99.99 Pop Keys is a part of Logitech’s new Studio Sequence lineup of cute pc equipment alongside the $39.99 Pop Mouse and $19.99 Logitech Desk Mat. The keyboard seems to be an try and pair Logitech’s usually stable performance, like multiyear battery life and straightforward cross-device compatibility, with a cutesy TikTok-friendly aesthetic and novelties like keys devoted to typing emoji.

However after utilizing the keyboard for day by day work, I don’t assume Logitech has gotten the stability proper. The Pop Keys’ typewriter-style keycaps may look nice on social media, however they’re tough and unforgiving to sort on, and changing helpful key features with 5 emoji shortcuts is a novelty that will get outdated shortly.

The Pop Keys is hitting the US this month, and Logitech tells me it’ll be obtainable in Europe within the close to future.

Verge Rating

6.5 out of 10

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Good Stuff

  • Three-year battery life
  • Nice to have a look at
  • Good multi-device assist

Dangerous Stuff

  • Typewriter keycaps are unforgiving
  • Emoji keys are of restricted use
  • Questions over keycap legend sturdiness

There’s little improper with the essential specs of the Pop Keys. Though it’s not rechargeable, you get three years of battery life from an included pair of AAA batteries. It’s able to pairing to as much as three units by way of Bluetooth or as much as two Bluetooth units plus one by way of Logitech’s Bolt USB receiver (included within the field), and you may simply change between them utilizing the F1 to F3 keys. The keyboard is obtainable in three colour schemes: pink; yellow and black; or purple and yellow.

The Pop Keys has what’s generally called a 75 p.c keyboard format, which suggests it’s extra compact than a full-size keyboard however nonetheless features a function row and arrow keys. Though you possibly can change this in Logitech’s settings, by default this function row is given over to quite a lot of different instructions like switching between paired units and playback and quantity controls. There’s an Fn key to entry the extra commonplace F1 – F12 buttons. On the suitable of the keyboard there are 5 programmable keys designed for typing completely different emoji symbols.

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4 keys for typing emoji, one to open up the emoji choice menu.

It’s clear what Logitech’s priorities are with the Pop Keys from the second you open its field. Moderately than together with each Home windows and Mac keycaps within the field like different producers similar to Keychron have began doing, Logitech has opted to incorporate keys with further emoji symbols on them. The concept is that if you program the keyboard’s emoji shortcut buttons, they correspond to the suitable symbols.

So whereas the Pop Keys nonetheless technically helps each Mac and Home windows, the Possibility / Home windows and Command / Alt legends are crammed onto the identical keys. It’s functionally tremendous, however it appears to be like messy. Particularly on a keyboard that prioritizes its look as a lot because the Pop Keys does.

Mac and Home windows legends are crammed onto the identical keys

As an alternative, the thought with the eight obtainable emoji keycaps is to select your 4 favourite emoji for the keyboard, after which use Logitech’s software program to program the keys to correspond to the emoji you’ve picked. There’s a fifth emoji key on the keyboard that acts as a shortcut to drag up the OS-level emoji choice menu.

I can see the essential enchantment, however the entire implementation is so cumbersome that I ended up simply getting aggravated that the Pop Keys wasted 5 valuable keys on emoji when it may have extra helpful buttons there like devoted House / Finish keys or Print Display. For starters, 4 out of the 5 emoji keys don’t even do something till you’ve put in and configured Logitech’s Choices software program and informed it what emoji you need every of them to correspond to (the button to open the OS-level emoji choose menu doesn’t require the software program).

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A tactile brown change sits below every key.

Even then, 4 emoji keys sit in a bizarre center floor between “individuals who love emoji sufficient that they need devoted emoji buttons on their keyboard” and “individuals who solely use 4 emoji frequently.” I’m completely glad to confess I won’t be the goal marketplace for this keyboard, however personally I’d a lot moderately have devoted House and Finish keys moderately than having to entry these widespread features through the use of Fn and the left and proper arrow keys.

It’s attainable to remap these keys to one thing extra helpful utilizing Logitech’s software program should you’re not an emoji fiend, and there’s the choice of remapping them to particular person keys or key mixtures. Sadly, I couldn’t discover a approach to assign one among them to be a print display screen key (on Home windows, Logitech tells me that the keyboard’s F5 key’s set to launch the Snip & Sketch device by default, however I’d desire the pace and suppleness of a devoted Print Display button). Key remaps additionally aren’t saved to the keyboard, so that you’ll should remap it should you ever need to join it to an alternate PC. And naturally the keycaps aren’t going to match the function they’re performing if it’s not an emoji (shopping for third-party keycaps could possibly be an possibility, however be careful for the non-standard backside row).

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F1 to F3 provide shortcuts to modify between three paired units.

Even should you went to the difficulty of remapping every of those emoji keys to satisfy extra helpful features, you’re nonetheless left with a keyboard with typewriter-style keys that may be a chore to sort on. There’s nothing improper with the switches beneath every key (they’re tactile Cherry MX Brown clones produced by TTC). However the keyboard’s round keycaps are unforgiving. In case your finger doesn’t hit a key immediately, then there are massive gaps between the keys for it to fall into. I may get by, however squared off keycaps are the usual for a cause.

Its keycaps are manufactured from ABS plastic

Past their round form, the Pop Keys’ keycaps simply don’t appear notably effectively made. Their legends are pad printed, which is a technique usually criticized for sporting away after simply a few years (dye sublimation or double-shot molding is mostly most well-liked). After I requested Logitech about this, it informed me the keys are coated with a UV resistant end that ought to enable the legends to remain crisp “over a few years.” The keycaps are additionally manufactured from ABS plastic, which might put on down and turn into shiny over time (which is why PBT plastic is usually thought of the higher possibility).

A few further observations:

  • There aren’t any height-adjustable ft on the Pop Keys.
  • You’ll discover a small holder for the included Bolt receiver contained in the battery compartment.
  • The keyboard isn’t backlit, however you get a small LED on the Caps Lock key to indicate when it’s activated.
  • There’s a little bit of rattle to the area bar’s stabilizers, if that’s the sort of factor that bothers you.

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The keycaps are pad-printed.

Logitech’s Pop Keys is a great-looking little keyboard, and three years of battery life is nothing to be sniffed at. But it surely’s not useful sufficient for me to suggest it to most individuals. The round keycaps take some getting used to, and even then I believe common sq. keycaps are simply plain higher for typing. Emoji keys are a pleasant thought, however I don’t assume they’re a sensible addition that many individuals will get a lot use out of, and it’s a missed alternative to not embrace some extra helpful keys. And my experiences with previous keyboards counsel the Pop Keys’ legends could possibly be liable to put on away over time.

For those who’re in love with Logitech’s aesthetic and use emoji sufficient that you just’re glad to dedicate a number of keys in your keyboard to them, then the Pop Keys technically does every part it claims. However should you’re ready to compromise on aesthetics, then I’d suggest trying out Keychron’s K2 wireless keyboard. It won’t look as cute, however it’s an entire lot extra useful.

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