on September 8, 2011
Although there are a lot of promising ways to enjoy online content (web browsing, YouTube, Netflix, etc.) on your TV, the best one I've found so far is ... a computer.
The Logitech K400 is clearly designed with this setup in mind, giving you full control of a computer in a couch-friendly form factor. Surprisingly, it seems to be one of the few such input devices with a (near) full-size keyboard instead of a tiny thumb-sized one. Obviously, that means it's much larger than a conventional remote control, but it's also much more usable. It looked like exactly what I wanted, and at a reasonable price, too.
The K400 features a fairly attractive, clean design (aside from the odd "random lines" artwork on the trackpad). It's much lighter than I expected, which is nice, but it's also not incredibly sturdy. The build quality is fair for the price, I'd say, but doesn't seem likely to withstand a lot of abuse.
As long as you don't plan on writing a novel on your TV, the slightly-smaller-than-full-size keys are pretty usable. They aren't backlit, though, which would be especially useful in a dark living room. On a semi-related note, the Caps Lock key doesn't light up, either ... but you don't use that key anyway, right?
One very handy feature is the additional left-click button in the upper left corner, which lets you operate the trackpad with both hands or thumbs. It's a lot easier to click or drag with your left hand as you move the cursor with your right hand this way. The trackpad also conveniently offers Mac-style two-finger scrolling.
Other nice touches include an on/off switch, and a slot behind the battery door to stow the teeny tiny USB receiver dongle. It also ships with factory-installed AA batteries, which is always appreciated.
If you're looking for a decent keyboard for a home theater PC, this one seems hard to beat -- especially for the price!
About Mac compatibility
The keyboard claims to support Windows only, but I suspected this wasn't the full story. Sure enough, when I plugged it into a Mac, the keyboard and trackpad worked automatically -- complete with two-finger scrolling -- on both Snow Leopard and Lion. Even the volume buttons are functional (but not the semi-pointless "home" button, it seems).
OS X identifies the trackpad as a mouse, so that's the preference pane where you can configure the sensitivity of the tracking and scrolling gestures. The latter really needs to be dialed down to work well, in my experience. Also, you may want to remap the Windows (Command) and Alt (Option) modifier keys for a more Mac-like layout.
The only catch? I can't figure out how to disable tap-to-click on the trackpad. (I'm hoping a software hack will make this possible, and that it's not hard-wired into the device itself.) Unfortunately, Logitech's Control Center software doesn't recognize the device, either.
If you can live with that, the keyboard otherwise works just fine with a Mac, despite the official word from Logitech.
on July 16, 2012
I bought the Logitech keyboard to use with my new Samsung UN46ES6150F LCD TV. The television is internet connected with a web browser, but trying to type anything using the arrow keys on the included remote was terrible! So, I did a little research (very little) and quickly ordered the keyboard.
The keyboard is almost full size with nice keys. Very tactile with great feedback. The touchpad is quite large and responsive. The keyboard is NOT bluetooth and comes with its own USB dongle (and batteries!). I plugged the dongle in the back of the TV and it immediately recognized the keyboard. What a difference....typing and navigating on the TV now is a breeze! I walked into an adjacent room to test the range and even at around 25 feet or so...no problems.
I'm happy with it.
UPDATE (7/19/2012): The keyboard is not bluetooth. It does come with it's own dongle, and you must use it. You will not be able to pair the keyboard with another bluetooth device. It will only communicate with the USB dongle included.
UPDATE (10/10/2013): Added the "NOT" in front of "bluetooth" above.
on July 25, 2012
Logitech seems to want to create a device that is small enough as a home-theater PC remote but still big enough as a regular PC keyboard & mouse. Does cutting it both ways work for Logitech? This is currently the #1 best-selling keyboard at Amazon, so maybe it does.
Most people would likely use Logitech K400 as a HTPC remote to be used on the living-room couch. A HTPC remote differs from a regular remote in that it is more "PC-centric". It is made for computer users who want to view their media on their HDTVs and sound systems, while still sticking to their favorite Windows or Mac interface.
The K400 is light, weighing only 1.1 lbs, lighter than an iPad, so it should be couch-friendly. Its wireless range is good, as I have no connection problem within 20 feet away from the PC.
The touchpad is fine for basic mouse clicks and navigation. It has no scroll zones, and it doesn't support a lot of gestures. You can single-tap for left mouse click, single-tap-and-hold for drag, and double-tap for scroll, and that's it. There is no gesture for right mouse click or middle mouse click (many laptops can do this). You cannot drag-lock, and that means when you drag something on the screen, your finger has to be always on the pad. To adjust the speed of the mouse movement, you can use your operating system's control panel or Logitech's Setpoint utility, which is not included in the package but can be downloaded at Logitech's website.
You also cannot two-finger-pinch-zoom on the touchpad like you do on iOS devices, MacBook, or newer PC laptops. And that brings me to another topic.
When you use the K400 on a couch looking at your TV screen, suddenly you realize you are not as close to your TV as you are to your PC, and you need to magnify the screen. Windows 7 and XP do have a built-in Magnifier utility (look under Accessories, Accessibility). But you have to run and control it manually with regular mouse clicks and drags and/or keyboard shortcuts. Fortunately, Logitech's Setpoint utility lets you launch a program with a hotkey, so at least you can launch the Magnifier utility with a touch of a button. I hope in future K400 models, Logitech would add a pinch-zoom gesture a la iPhone/iPad that would make magnifying easier.
As a HTPC remote, this keyboard surely has far too few built-in media keys. It only has mute, volume up and down keys at the top. Obviously, you will have to rely on the hotkeys of your media applications to control playback. Logitech seems to believe that HTPC users may actually prefer to do that. In my case, they are right. I've been using PowerDVD on the PC for a long time and I'm very much used to just pressing F, B, N, P (hotkeys for forward, rewind, next chapter, previous chapter) instead of using dedicated media keys. There are also many special functions accessible only via hotkeys, such as Blu-ray's red, blue, green, and yellow buttons. So I'm very comfortable being without dedicated media keys. For those who are not used to media playback on a PC, this is not a convenience, and, thus, this keyboard is not made for them.
Is this keyboard good for gaming on your HDTV? I have no problems playing Diablo III, adventure games, casual games, or any games that don't require precise mouse control. Playing first-person shooters that require accurate aiming, however, could be problematic, as K400's touchpad simply isn't as precise as a more sophisticated gaming mouse, such as my Logitech G5. You can get by with certain first-person games, like Portal 2, which is more forgiving to your aiming accuracy.
Is this keyboard good for regular PC work? It feels more cramped than a laptop keyboard, mainly due to the much smaller Enter, right Shift, Backspace, and Control keys, which are the most used (that's why they are usually made wider). And the lack of a numeric pad, not even an Fn-extended numeric pad, would further hamper an office user. Other often-used keys like Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn also need to be Fn-extended (meaning you need to press the green Fn key plus another key). In short, if you do office work or need to do long periods of typing, pass this over and get a regular keyboard instead.
For casual PC work on a couch, such as surfing the web, sending a few emails, shopping online, etc., this keyboard does fine.
In short, the Logitech K400 is good as a HTPC keyboard for media playback and casual PC activities. I have been using it for just such purposes and have decided to keep it despite all the aforementioned shortcomings. I have tried alternative HTPC input devices and they have not worked out well. I've used iPhone apps such as the highly-touted "Mobile Mouse Pro" as well as hand-held mini HTPC keyboards, and found that I really needed a near-full-size keyboard that is also small and couch-friendly. The K400 seems to fit the bill.
on July 1, 2012
I am using this keyboard with my Acer Iconia A500 tablet running Android. I am able to run Debian Linux on top of Android, and I needed a portable keyboard to use Debian effectively. Originally I was going to get a Bluetooth keyboard, but I was wary of Bluetooth connectivity issues (which seem to always crop up), and I saw this one, which is perfect because it combines the mouse with the keyboard. It works perfectly with my tablet..so far (I've had it for two days or so).
I hope that the keyboard is able to withstand the wear of carrying it with me while I travel. I will update the review if it craps out on me. Perhaps I need to find some sort of case solution to transport the keyboard.
In addition, I'd like to say that in Android (3.0+) it is easy to remap the keys. So for example I made the special volume controls at the top into an Android back button, home button, and menu button, which is very convenient. Also, by default, the windows key was functioning as the Android "Search" key, which is convenient for keyboard shortcuts. Furthermore, this allowed me to get around the right shift key issue, that some have complained about. I mapped what used to be the up arrow key to right shift, and the former right shift to up arrow, which significantly reduces the number of mistakes caused by that particular problem -- I never accidentally move up a line anymore.
Finally, I'd like to point out how to fix an issue (on ANY operating system) that some may have encountered. The touch pad is very sensitive to tapping, so it often sends a mouse click when you are simply trying to move the cursor, which is quite annoying and unnecessary since we have the physical mouse buttons. To disable this, it is NOT necessary to get any special software. One must only hold the function key and click the left mouse button. This disables the tap-to-click feature.
on November 28, 2013
Works nicely, except for 1 HUGE DESIGN FLAW. Somebody at Logitech made a serious error, and decided to place the arrow keys INSIDE of the right Shift key. The result is that you CANNOT TOUCH-TYPE using this keyboard. Because any time your right pinky finger goes to hold the Shift key, you instead hit the Up-Arrow key -- Oops! Now your cursor just jumped up a line, and your (non-capitalized) letter and all subsequent typing is inserted in the wrong place in your document. So you get to go editing and waste a ton of time.
My solution: Rip out the up-arrow key. That way, you can at least type with this keyboard. (You now lack the ability to move the cursor upward. But hey, you can type.) And BTW, ripping out the key was quite easy; just pry it up with anything (knife, screwdriver, nail file, etc).
On the plus side: It has a built-in mousepad -- and is the cheapest keyboard with that key feature. It works with Windows and Mac (basically).
UPDATE - 12-18-2013: This is probably the best piece of electronic equipment I've ever used, as far as longevity goes (got it 2011). Between my wife and son, this keyboard has been dropped, banged, flipped, and otherwise abused more times than I can count... and it's still working perfectly. A must for HTPCs.
I wanted to add my own review to the Linux camp, and confirm or add to what others have said. I'm coming at this review from an out-of-the-box functionality point of view--I'm not going to dive in and compile drivers to change anything. Here's what to expect with the unaltered product:
- Overall, I'm giving this 4 stars because it worked with Ubuntu 10.4, right out of the box. I simply plugged in the dongle and was good to go. It's light, small, the keys are responsive, and the single- and two-finger touchpad functionality (scrolling, etc.) works perfectly.
- Because it's light, the body of the keyboard feels just a little flimsy, but not in a "this is going to fall to pieces in two days" kind of way. I prefer the lighter design, to be honest.
- Some of the keys are smaller, so you might find yourself making some errors until you get used to the layout. It's nothing to scream about, though. For a "couch keyboard", I think the key sensitivity is perfect, and I didn't find myself constantly having to watch my typing.
- This might seem like a weird point, but I love the fact that this keyboard can stand on its top edge. I can slide this on a shelf with other items, and it won't slam down if those items are removed or jostled.
Here's the Linux issue:
- Though this functions "out of the box", advanced functions aren't available. Unlike my trackball wireless keyboard, there's no way to change the speed/sensitivity of the touchpad. I like a speedy pointer, and it took me a while to get used to having a slower pointer. Advanced drivers--allowing sensitivity adjustments--are available for Windows users, but I found nothing for Linux on Logitech's website, and Logitech did not respond when I tried contacting them about Linux drivers. There's an open source applet available which allows users to change the sensitivity of their mouse from 400cpi to 800cpi, but nothing official. It would be nice to allow users to search "Logitech" or "k400" in the Ubuntu Software Center and install a supported package allowing for advanced functions. One could probably use NDISwrapper, too, but I'm only looking at supported options in this review.
Regardless of the driver issue, I would definitely recommend this keyboard for HTPC use, whether you're running Windows or Linux.
on November 21, 2011
Note: I have no vested interest in this product and the following review is 100% my opinion. In other words, I'm not getting paid to write this or anything like that. I'm just trying to give back to the people who have helped me by writing their own reviews.
Summary: Great wireless keyboard/mouse solution with a few minor flaws in the ergonomics of the keyboard will make most buyers of this product very happy and satisfied with their purchase.
-Tiny "nano" USB receiver lets you "set it and forget it". (it's also a "Logitech Unifying" receiver, meaning it can be used with multiple devices. See Logitech's website for more info)
-Long range (30+ feet) with snappy response and no lag.
-TouchPad allows you to not have to worry about finding a surface for a mouse, allowing this product to be used in a variety of positions.
-Extremely simple to set up. On my Windows 7 machine, I plugged in the "nano" USB receiver and within 30 seconds I had almost full functionality. By installing the simple extra Logitech driver/software, I gained complete functionality and control over all aspects including dedicated buttons for volume up, volume down, mute, and "homepage" web browser button.
-Simple but sleek aesthetics match most systems, making it fit right in with your other electronic equipment.
-Two finger scrolling makes both vertical and horizontal navigation easy. Other advanced features can be turned on if desired.
Since this is a lightweight and compact system, some sacrifices had to be made to fit everything in a reasonably-sized device:
-The following keys are a bit too small which can be annoying and/or hard to get used to: Right-shift, Enter, and Backspace.
-The following keys do not have dedicated keys but rather share keys with other functions and must be accessed by pressing the "function" key: Page Up, Page Down, Home, End.
Anyone with a laptop is used to a TouchPad mouse and keyboard interface. However, many times the fact that the screen of the laptop is attached to the keyboard/mouse leads to one of two problems: either your screen is positioned comfortably and your keyboard/mouse is not, or vice versa (your keyboard is positioned comfortably but your screen is not).
This product solves the problem perfectly. The "nano" USB receiver is so small that you can plug it into your laptop's USB port (or any computer) and then never have to think about it again. The receiver is also a "Logitech Unifying" receiver which can be used with multiple devices. As of this writing, you can link up to six different wireless devices to one receiver.
Another use for this product is for a media center or any system that is connected to a large HD TV screen as a monitor (for example using the HDMI out port on your computer). Once set up, this device gives you full control of all the functions of a keyboard and mouse, and can also act as a "remote control" for your home theater or media center. As I mentioned above, they tried to keep the overall size down but in doing so they had to make a few sacrifices in terms of key size. There are a few keys that are a bit small and can be frustrating at first, but with all the good things this product has going for it, I am able to overlook those minor annoyances and overall this is a solid piece of equipment that is very versatile, it gets the job done, and it doesn't look half bad either. For those who have been searching for a solution like this, I highly recommend it. I'd like to give it a 4.5 out of 5 star rating, but since I can't I'm giving it a 5 star because the pros heavily outweigh the cons and this product stands unmatched by any would-be competitors in its class.
Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about this product and I will be happy to answer you. Again, I have no vested interest in this product, I'm just very satisfied with it and I want to share my experience.
on June 9, 2012
I have a Samsung Smart TV model 6150 series.
This keyboard has an excellent performance with my samsung smart TV. What a life saviour.
While samsung smart TV doesn't allow for navigating built-in YouTube with this keyboard, I found another alternative way...bookmark Youtube.com to the samsung's browser and you can then use this keyboard for open end browsing.
Also, tried it with my computer and found this keyboard impressive enough. The only thing is that since it may be specifically designed for its light weight and sleek size, it may be best to use for entertainment electronics rather than a work computer. It doesn't have the standing feet and will need to be sit straight on the desk for use with a computer.
Other than that, an excellent product and highly recommend to anyone, specifically smart TV users or TVs with internet access.
I will be writing this review using my new keyboard!
I have used remote keyboards over the years mostly for media center use, using the PC on a flat-panel television from 10' away. My favorite media center keyboard for the past year or so has been the IOGear GKM561R. Both my media PCs use this keyboard and so do the media PCs I've built for others.
The Logitech keyboard works very well as remote keyboard. It is very well built with a nice matte finish that won't attract fingerprints like the IOGear. It has a nice rounded design, black on the top and white underneath to give it some style. It's about the same width but narrower and lighter than the IOGear. The USB dongle that comes with the keyboard is tiny so I would have no problem installing it on the front of the PC since it can hardly be seen. It installs easily, right out of the box, with no additional software needed. Windows 7 recognized it right away and I was up and running in seconds. Logitech offers additional software than can be downloaded to fine tune the behavior of the trackpad but it's not needed to get running.
The trackpad is nice though it's taking getting used to when I have been using a trackball for so long. With the trackball, I can grip the keyboard for using a mouse on the sides and use my thumbs. With the trackpad, it's really necessary to sit the keyboard in my lap. I tried using the pad with my thumb (there is a left mouse button on the left of the keyboad in addition to those below the pad) but it's much more responsive to fingers. One nice feature about the trackpad over the trackball is that tapping the pad is like a click so it's not necessary to use the mouse buttons for left mouse clicks. The downside is that brushing the trackpad often lands my cursor in the middle of where I've been typing so I've accidentally wiped out what I've typed here a couple of times now with an errant pinky finger. I really like the two-finger scrolling feature. It's quickly become my favorite feature of this keyboard. You can move the mouse, click and scroll all in one place. That's been excellent for surfing webpages.
Logitech advertises this as a keyboard you can use when your laptop is hooked up to your TV -- so basically as a media center PC. Unfortunately, the Logitech keyboard lacks any media-specific controls for use with Windows Media Center or other media center applications. For instance, there's no "Green Button" to start WMC, no shortcuts like "Live TV", "Movies", etc. There are also no media playback controls like stop, play, pause, FF, REW, etc. that would be useful for watching movies and TV shows. All these controls have to be done through the mouse. The only media control buttons present are mute, volume up and volume down. I would guess this is because the keyboard is not meant to be Windows-specific yet it has a Windows start key so I am not sure. The IOGear on the other hand, has a set of buttons for media controls above the right side of the keyboard and there would have been room for them there on the Logitech keyboard as well. WMC shortcuts on the IOGear are accomplished via function keys. This all means not always having to find the media center remote or use the mouse which comes in very handy.
There is also no low-battery light so it remains to see what happens when the battery gets low how it will behave to let me know it's time to change them. I will update the review with how long the batteries last since that is a very important thing for remote keyboards. I find the batteries in the IOGear last a very long time -- I might change them once per year. I am hoping it will be the same for the Logitech.
Overall, this is a very nice keyboard. It perfectly sized, very sharp looking, high quality and very responsive. It's been very easy to type this review using the keyboard, some of it from another room without missing a keystroke. My only disappointment is the lack of media controls which if they were there would make this my new favorite media keyboard. Again, giving how it's advertised I expected these. Here's hoping for a media center version soon!
Update 1 (25-Sep-2011)
I've only had this keyboard for a few days and the trackpad is no longer working. The keys and the mouse buttons work but the trackpad isn't responding. I tried moving the USB dongle to a different port forcing a driver reinstall but to no avail. Of course, in a cleaning frenzy on Friday I threw away the box. I'll have to see if I can RMA. I really like this keyboard so I hope I can get it replaced.
Update 2 (25-Sep-2011)
Changing the batteries seems to have done the trick. Hopefully the batteries that came with it were low to begin. Good news is the trackpad is working again.
Update 3 (19-Dec-2013)
It's been a couple of years now and this keyboard is still working great. It sees light use being an HTPC keyboard. I've bought more since for people I've made HTPCs for. They're a crazy good deal lately.
on February 26, 2014
The class is wireless RF keyboards with touchpads, which have media keys, and are relatively compact, yet usable for extended typing, and which are not prohibitively expensive. It's a surprisingly limited class, given current trends in home theaters and media consumption. I've listed another contender, below.
First, note that I have the white K400R. The R indicates the updated keyboard, with some reprogrammable features, and which has volume controls on the F10-F12 keys. The older K400 has volume controls on the hotkey buttons, above. At this writing, Amazon offers either black or white versions of the keyboard, BUT, the black one is the K400, and the white one is the K400R.
The keyboard layout is not full-sized. It's just a bit larger than the one on my Asus EeePC netbook. I have no problem with this size, though some users may find it too small. Some have complained about the stretch required to get to the right shift key. While it IS a stretch, the smaller overall size of the keyboard makes the stretch not as bad as it may appear. Keystroke feel is pretty good. Build quality is pretty good. You get some minor creaks when picking it up in various ways, but, picking it up with one hand -- thumb under the touchpad -- is solid enough.
For me, a keyboard that lacks dedicated Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys is a non-starter. For that reason, I had always avoided the K400. I decided to give the K400R a try, when I learned that it is "programmable." Well, it is sort of programmable: 3 hotkey buttons (media player, PC lock, PC sleep) and 6 function keys (F1-F6) can be reconfigured with Logitech's downloadable Setpoint software. Note that the Home button can NOT be reassigned.
I set up the F1 and F2 keys as Page Up and Page Down. The F3 and F4 keys became Home and End. To help identify their function, I put thin strips of colored electrical tape on the button risers (I'll try to add a photo). [Unfortunately, these new navigation keys do not work with the control or shift key, such as when selecting text.] I set F5 to be WMC toggle between full-screen and window mode. F6 is set to be quick skip (aka skip ahead, aka ad skip).
When Googling for keystrokes necessary to program F5 and F6, I discovered two things about Windows Media Center. 1) There are keyboard shortcuts available for all operations we might want to accomplish with dedicated media keys. Nice. You could actually live without a "media keyboard," if you don't mind using the control- and alt- shifted keystrokes. 2) The quick skip interval can be modified with the skipaheadinterval registry setting (exercise caution; and, Google for full instructions). Instead of the default 30 seconds, skipping ads in recorded programs might be easier if set to skip 60 seconds, or even 3 minutes.
The next issue some people have expressed with this keyboard is that the FN key must be pressed to get regular F1-F12 keystokes, since the media and windows functions have been set for non-FN priority. Fortunately, this can be reversed in Setpoint. BTW, Setpoint may not immediately offer configuration options on new setups. It seems you must first use the software to unpair and then re-establish connection (using another keyboard or mouse), before all options are shown.
In spite of my tendency to frequently use the F5 and F11 keys, I decided to maintain priority for the media keys. To avoid having to FN shift for F5 and F11, I set the PC lock and PC sleep buttons to provide those functions.
The touchpad has a good feel for general use and 2-finger scroll. Pinch-zoom works, but, I've never had that before, so can't compare feel.
There are 2 significant problems with the touchpad, which I have decided to live with. They are known issues, as they have appeared in problem reports on the Logitech support forum. 1) The 2-finger right-click often does not work. It appears to vary depending on window focus, or use of 2-finger scroll. It's so bad, I'd rather use my thumb on the right mouse button, below the touchpad. 2) While double-tap-drag does work for some things, like moving a window by the title bar, it does NOT work to resize a window. Resizing becomes a 2-hand operation, though the left mouse button on the top left corner makes it less awkward than if using the touchpad's left button.
Some users might find happiness with the Ortek WKB-2000, currently listed on Amazon as "2.4GHz RF Wireless Keyboard with Smart Touchpad Mouse for MCE Media Center Edition". I could not get the 2-finger scroll to work. From reading reviews, and through my own efforts, I discovered there is no good driver for Windows 7, 64-bit.
The best keyboard I've had is listed on Amazon as "RK728 Wireless Keyboard". Mine just died, and it was a great loss! Unfortunately, it is not currently available, even on the 'bay. That may be because of quality control problems. I knew mine would not last forever, and had tried twice to buy a backup. But, both failed in a few days, and were returned.
Also noteworthy, is the Adesso WKB-4000UB. It has a great form factor, good key action, and is currently available, but, it has no media keys. Worse than that, the touchpad seems to be pretty low resolution, and, about half the time, tap to click does not register, so, I have to move the pointer slightly, and tap again. For that reason, I just use it as a backup. Mine is several years old, so, it is possible that the touchpad has been improved. Oh, and the touchpad has a scroll zone on the right edge, rather than 2-finger scroll.
3 1/2 stars would be the best rating for the K400R.