Logitech Tablet Keyboard for Android

Logitech is asking for a premium, but it's offering only the basics in return. The keyboard works well, but there is no real reason to choose this model over a cheaper Bluetooth keyboard.


5.5
CNET Rating

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CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

Upon opening the packaging for the Logitech Tablet Keyboard, you are presented with quite a neat little unit within; sort of like an enormous cheque book, if you remember what one looks like. The keyboard itself is protected by a rigid plastic case, which unfolds to form a stand for your tablet when you're working. The two parts are not connected, so you can place the keyboard and stand separately at your workspace.

Although it's attractively designed, both keyboard and stand are made from rather cheap-feeling plastic. This doesn't bother us so much with the case/stand, but with the keyboard, we wish it didn't have quite so much flex to it. We gave the keyboard a gentle bend, and this produced an alarming crack. Although there was no visible damage thereafter, we do wonder what other everyday circumstances might vex the build of this device.

The keyboard and case combination is also quite heavy, weighing in at 725 grams or about the same as the weight of a tablet again.

Decent key spacing helps with typing on this keyboard, though we would have liked a steeper lift at the rear of the keyboard to create a more comfortable angle to type at. Logitech delivers a full-sized keyboard here, with a row of numbers along the top doubling as Android-specific shortcuts via the use of a Function key.

The Bluetooth transmitter is powered by two AAA batteries positioned on the underside of the keyboard. It seems strange not to use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a micro-USB charging port to refuel this device, given that many of us now use the same set-up to recharge our phones.

Features

As mentioned above, the Logitech Tablet Keyboard for Android has shortcuts for the Android Honeycomb OS built in to its commands. Using a combination of the Function button and a number of the keys along the top row, users can launch the web browser, open their calendar, play music and control the volume. Shortcuts beside the Space Bar are used for the central navigation commands of Android, with Back key, Home key, Search and Menu options at your fingertips.

But the complaints we have with the Kensington KeyFolio Pro are also true here. Logitech offers no way for users to customise these shortcuts, so the these commands may not work with all tablets. For example, the email shortcut may open Gmail, or it may open the default email app as defined by your tablet's manufacturer. It would be nice to be able to direct this shortcut to the app you prefer. Or maybe you'd prefer the Music button to open your favourite music-streaming app rather than the standard Android player. Offering a way to customise how this keyboard functions would add a lot to this product's appeal.

Value

Perhaps the biggest drawback for us is this keyboard's AU$99.95 RRP. This is more than we'd choose to pay for a Bluetooth keyboard, albeit one with a protective shell/stand. If you feel comfortable leaning your tablet against a pile of books, you should be able to buy a comparable keyboard for half the price, and maybe one with a rechargeable battery. For virtually $100, we'd expect a bump up in the quality of materials used, and an option to protect the tablet during transit.



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