Logitech K7670 Wireless Solar Keyboard for Mac, iPad, iPhone
Changing batteries in your Bluetooth keyboard is a pain isn't it? Well that's the feeling Logitech wants you to have, and then subsequently opt-out of having to worry about for its new and shiny Wireless Solar Keyboard for the Mac. We've been using the keyboard for the past month to find out if it's worth the money.
The front of the K760 keyboard is silver in colour - it's silver under clear plastic, rather than metal - with a white island-style keyboard design, similar to the one found on Apple's own Wireless Bluetooth keyboard.
The big difference, of course, is the large solar panel above the keys that adds around 30mm to the height of the keyboard, and collects free power while it sits on your desk.
The base of the keyboard features two sturdy legs that give a good typing angle, although it is an angle that is slightly shallower than the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard.
At a quick glance the keyboard looks identical to Apple's, with the usual keys in the usual places. However it is when you start looking at the function keys at the top that you'll notice the configuration is different. Here Logitech has added some of its own key options and lost some of Apple's.
The big difference is the lack of forward and backwards playback keys as well as a dedicated key for Launchpad. While the keyboard ditches those, it does add a few of its own.
Understanding that you might want to use this keyboard with your iPad as well as your Mac, two of the function keys are designed for iPad or iPhone users. You get a home button as well as a keyboard button. Beyond that there is also a dedicated battery button, although this really only turns on a single light. Three Bluetooth buttons to manage connections with different devices simultaneously.
Realising that you probably have a multitude of Bluetooth devices, the Logitech K760 Wireless Solar Keyboard allows you to configure and store three Bluetooth connections on the keyboard with all you having to do is press the relevant Bluetooth connection you've assigned to the device to switch it over and start using it.
While you can do that already with most Bluetooth keyboards, the idea is that you don't have to worry about the connections getting confused if all your devices are in the same room and all begging to be connected to the Bluetooth connection.
It's a clever idea, although we've found that the Bluetooth keyboard does take a little bit longer to formally handshake with our MacBook Air and iPad than we would have liked, certainly compared to other Bluetooth Keyboards we've tested in the past.
The K760 promises that you'll never have to charge or replace the batteries of your keyboard ever again, and combined with the promise of three months' power from a full charge, that is going to be hard to prove unless we wait until next year to tell you how we got on.
That said, in the time we have been using the keyboard - daily as our main keyboard - we've not experienced any battery warnings or lack of power.
It's worth pointing out though that using a battery-powered wireless Bluetooth keyboard (by Apple) we have to change the batteries about once a year, hardly a chore.
The keyboard layout is good, comfortable to use, although the function key shortcuts will annoy if you are switching between your laptops keyboard and the K760.
On a number of occasions we've pressed F3 (Expose on the MacBook Air), but Bluetooth Device 3 on the K760. That disconnects the Bluetooth connection, forcing us to wait around 10-15 second for it to re-engage.
We also found that the function key didn't like Mountain Lion and that the keys are considerably more "spongy" compared to the Apple's and more akin to a Cherry keyboard found on PCs.
At £10 more than the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, there isn't much in it in terms of cost. The solar-powered element is great for being able to say you're "doing your bit" and promises to work even if you don't really get to see daylight in your office that often.
The larger form factor means that it is the bigger device to pack if you're looking to travel, and use with your iPad - although you do get those dedicated keys.
Of the two, personally we prefer the Apple offering, mainly because the button configuration is the same as the MacBook keyboard, but also because until we started using the Logitech K760 we didn't realise how much we use fast forward when listening to music while at our desk.