Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard Review

Rating:

The living room looks more and more like the computer room. Consoles and PCs are becoming part of the home theater—no longer banished to the lonely office corner. However, the traditional separate mouse and keyboard is no longer effective in this new environment where a controller needs to fit on a lap or in the palm of your hand.

Enter the Logitech K400 wireless keyboard, an all-in-one touchpad and keyboard with media shortcuts to manage your videos and music effectively. For $49.99 you get a solid keyboard that favours features over design. It’s not the best media keyboard on the market, but the asking price is more than fair.

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Look and Feel

The Logitech K400 has a thin and light design that makes it well-suited for travel and storing neatly in your media centre. There’s even a holding spot on the keyboard for the mini USB dongle if you decide to go on the road with it. The model I received has a two-tone colour scheme: black on top, white on bottom. Its plastic construction feels solid, like it could handle a lifetime of drops and dings. The keyboard is not backlit, which would have been a wonderful addition, considering its intended use.

On the front of the device is an on/off switch to help conserve battery life, which is stated to last 1 year. It runs off of two AA batteries (included).

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The keyboard connects to the USB dongle over a 2.4GHz wireless frequency (same used in Wi-Fi routers). There’s also a USB extender, which was helpful when I was trying to fit the slim USB dongle into thin USB slots, like on the Xbox 360. It’s primarily built to handle Windows PCs (specifically those equipped with Windows 8 OS), but I had little trouble hooking up the keyboard to my Mac and Windows 7 PC, and utilizing a few of the media features. The gestures on the touchpad are optimized for a Windows 8 environment. Mac users will find 4-finger swipe does not compute with this keyboard.

Logitech has attached a spacious 3.5-inch multi-touch trackpad with right and left click buttons to the keyboard where a number pad would otherwise be located. If you’ve ever used an Apple MacBook and glided your finger across it’s smooth touchpad, the K400’s won’t compare. When using two-finger touch to scroll along a webpage, the Logitech’s touchpad wouldn’t respond to short, delicate scrolls. Oftentimes it would jump farther down the page than I’d like or refuse to move until I made a larger gesture. It’s not as fine-tuned as I’d like, but it will suit couch-browsers’ needs.

Other gestures were responsive, like pinch-zoom, two-finger touch to open options, and one-finger touch to “click” on items. If you’ve ever used a laptop touchpad, you’ll probably find Logitech’s isn’t as finely tuned. The dedicated right and left-click buttons were responsive and provided a satisfying noise when clicked.

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In the interest of space and size, Logitech had to resize and squeeze in certain keys on the keyboard, namely the shift and arrow keys. The up arrow key is squished right in between the “question mark, slash” key and Shift key. On more than one occasion when trying to capitalize a letter, I ended up making my cursor jump up to another line. When typing on this keyboard, users will have to remain conscious when they’re shifting.

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The media buttons provided some nice quick shortcuts to play/pause, fast-forward, and rewind videos and music. There are also keys dedicated to increasing volume, bringing up your dedicated music player—even powering off the PC from afar.

Most of the time, you’ll likely be typing in searches for movies or passwords for access to your Netflix accounts. For these purposes the keyboard works wonderfully. If you’re planning on using the keyboard for long-form typing, like writing product reviews, I would recommend searching for something else.
Full disclosure: In my day-to-day use, I type on a dedicated mechanical keyboard or on my Macbook Air’s chiclet keyboard.

The keys felt hollow. There was a lot of travel and hardly any tactility when I pecked at the keys. After a while my wrists and fingers felt weak from the repetitive stress. This assessment is, however, subjective. Different people prefer different key types. For searching, browsing, and controlling your home theater PC, it should be a good fit.

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Setup

The Logitech K400 is a plug-and-play device. Quite simply, plug in the USB dongle, turn the Logitech keyboard on, and you’re ready to go. It paired smoothly with my MacBook Air, Windows 7 PC, and PS4 game system. I was able to type and use the Backspace key, Enter, and Arrow keys to navigate the main menu of the system.

If you’re looking to fine-tune some of the options the keyboard has to offer, you’ll have to download Logitech’s SetPoint software. This download walks you through pairing another Logitech device to the same USB (you can pair up to 6 wireless Logitech devices to one USB dongle) and setting notifications for the keyboard. You can set cues that let you know when the volume has been increased, decreased, or muted, and when the battery is low.

Bottom Line

The Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard features a solid design and a good feature set for a fair price. If you’re looking to connect your PC to your living room, the K400 is worth a look. It has a thin design for easy storage, and its footprint is small enough to fit on your coffee table with room to spare.

The keys and trackpad are good for getting to your media, but certain design choices in the placement of the Shift key and attention to the trackpad may annoy users that intend to use the keyboard for long stretches of time.

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard Review
Author Rating
5
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Natalie Shoemaker

Natalie found her passion for writing about tech when she started with PCMag. She has also written for Geek, GDGT and TechnologyTell.

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