Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Logitech Wireless Keyboard K320

My 6 year old Kinesis keyboard started getting flakey: whenever I first started up my machine, it wouldn't be recognized 50% of the time, requiring me to unplug and plug in the USB plug. I considered replacing it with another Kinesis, since I liked the keyboard, but two things stopped me: first the cost ($300 is a lot of money for a keyboard), and secondly, my wife complained that my keyboard was quite noisy. Since I was using the Kinesis as a matter of preference, rather than because I was having trouble with repetitive stress injuries, I thought I would try something cheaper.

First, I bought a Logitech K250 at an incredibly cheap price ($10) from one of the daily deals site. I was disappointed with the keyboard feel: the keys feel squishy. My wife, however, liked it so she grabbed it for use with her laptop.

I briefly considered the Logitech K750, but the chiclet style keys had me terrified. I've never enjoyed chiclet style keyboards: I detest Apple laptop keyboards, for instance. The lack of travel on the keys never give me sufficient positive feedback, so I end up with far more typos than I normally have.

Finally, when the Logitech Outlet store had a special on the K320, I decided that I liked the look of it enough to try one for $20.

The box comes with a usb unifying adapter, which is tiny, and a 90 degree adapter in case your USB slot would be blocked by the unifying adapter. I'm disappointed that there are no cheap bluetooth keyboards that are made for anything other than an ipad, since that would work out best, but the nice thing about these proprietary dongles is that they work even when the PC isn't booted into the OS, for tweaking with the BIOS, etc.

The keyboard feel is excellent, a little reminiscent of the old IBM PC keyboards, with a full size travel and a decent stroke and positive and firm feedback. The negative is that the keyboard's wider than my old Kinesis, mostly because of the numeric keypad. It's also quite broad, with a bunch of buttons that I might never use. I used to dislike the Windows key on keyboards, but now that I have a multi-monitor setup, it's frequently useful for a few shortcuts.

All in all, I've retired my Kinesis for quite a few days now, and so far it seems quite serviceable. At the very least, it's not $300. Recommended.
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