Ease of Learning: 4 / 5
Ease of Use: 3 / 5
Enjoyment: 3 / 5
Design: 2.5 / 5
Value for Money: 2.5 / 5
Over the years, computer peripherals have moved away from the wired approach. While gamers may still argue that a wired gaming mouse is best, it isn’t always as effective, with many gamers moving away from the standard desktop approach, to a modern, multi-purpose living room, most often as media centres. It’s no surprise, then, that Logitech has adopted a unique approach to providing a more suited solution to the computer in the living room. The Logitech K400 is a wireless keyboard that includes a built-in touchpad for lightweight productivity.
Design and Build Quality
The Logitech K400 is both a standard keyboard, with the inclusion of a touchpad. This means that it still offers all the keys, and a little extra, that would expect on your standard keyboard, apart from the numeric keypad, which makes room for the touchpad. The removal of the keypad also means that the keyboard does not have an increased size. In fact, it’s much smaller than the average gaming keyboard, which allows it to rest comfortably on your knees as you use it sitting back on your couch. Using the keyboard in the dark does pose some trouble, as the keys don’t have any backlighting.
The K400 is built to be as lightweight (405g), and small (354mm wide), as possible. At the same time, it was also built to be as affordable as possible, which doesn’t say much about its engineering and build quality. Many keyboards are built with cheaper plastics, so it’s no surprise to find it on the K400. The keyboard can easily be bent, which may make it prone to cracking. If you were to choose between the two colours available, the black one looks less inferior to the white, which exposes quite a few of the shortcuts.
Even if you’re stuck behind the desk at work without too much, or any, attention to the keyboard which they have presented to you, it’s an important part of your everyday life. A comfortable and responsive keyboard makes a big difference to your experience. The keys on the K400 don’t provide the full array of comfort and response that users would have hoped. The keys on the keyboard a hollowed, and are raised quite some distance to the base, which results in a bit of travel when the keys are pressed. While this is not a big issue for the typical desktop experience, the living environment provides a bit more of a challenge, especially considering that the keyboard is most likely resting on your lap. A mechanical set of keys would be an ideal solution, but due to the cost-effectiveness of this solution, it’s hard to see Logitech providing such features without an increase in cost. In fairness, the hollowed, rubberised keys are quite a lot software than the mechanical approach. Spacing of the keys aren’t great either, and just slightly cramped for room. It’s not something to be overly concerned about and with some time can easily become accustomed to.
The K400 was designed specifically for use in the living room. There are a few additional keys added to the K400, which provide shortcuts that are useful when using your PC as a media centre, which include mute, play, volume up or volume down. More specifically, this keyboard was designed for use with Windows 8, as there are four Charm keys, which grant access to Search, Share, Devices and Settings menus.
With the addition of the touchpad to the right of the keyboard, the K400 offers an experience quite different on a conventional keyboard. The touchpad experience, however, isn’t something new on its own, used on almost all laptops. The K400’s touchpad, as with the keys, is a little cramped, but still offers gesture support for your Windows 8 experience. The touchpad doesn’t provide a textured feel, which makes it a little trickier to navigate, but can easily be adjusted in Windows settings. The left and right click buttons are very large proportionate to the touchpad itself, but can easily be distinguished when used in the dark. The gesture support offers the standard pinch-to-zoom, scrolling, etc. as well as the Windows 8 swipes. Due to its smaller size, gestures aren’t precise, but still work when triggered, even within games which support it.
The Logitech K400 offers a portable, mutli-functional solution that’s very lightweight and easy to use. Shortcuts and gestures add to the portability. With pricing around the R400 mark, the K400 quite affordable for the job it performs. The build quality isn’t solid, but considering that this device is no replacement for your gaming keyboard and mouse, it’s useful for carrying out any requirements when used, just as would your TV remote. A more suitable solution would no doubt increase the cost, but adding better keys, backlighting, and larger touch surface would make a world of difference. In any case, the Logitech K400 offers an affordable solution to your living experience when your computer is connected to the TV; it’s small and lightweight to use, which makes it just as easy to store.