Using your Google TV remote’s keyboard is not always the most comfortable options. Some of these keyboard remotes are not very well-built, or you would simply prefer having the speed and comfort of using a full-size keyboard. After endlessly searching for a good keyboard to use with my Google TV, I found that the best probably unit would be the Logitech K400. What makes it different? Well, it comes with an integrated touchpad, which is a very rare addition for a wireless keyboard.
It highly resembles the Logitech Revue’s keyboard and also comes with an integrated touchpad. I simply did not want to use a keyboard and mouse while I am watching TV from my couch. The living room is supposed to be simple and comfortable – having multiple components to worry about would not help. Like everything, though, this keyboard has its ups and downs, so let’s jump into the review and see if this could be your next acquisition.
The Logitech K400 is no solid unit. It is built out of light (and seemingly thin) plastic. One can literally bend it to a certain point, and it just doesn’t feel like the highest-quality keyboard, over all. This comes with some advantages you may like, though. It is very light and relatively thin, making it a good addition to your living room’s coffee table.
While typing, one can notice that these keys are not the best either. I use a Macbook Air as my main computer. Apple computers have great keyboards, so I have certain standards when it comes to the quality of keys. The Logitech K400 sure beats typing on a remote, though. Plus typing is not as important for Google TV as it is for a computer, so you won’t have to suffer to much.
Compatibility with Google TV
The wireless keyboard uses a USB dongle to connect to Google TV (or any device). Of course, it wasn’t built with Google TV in mind, so my biggest worry was whether I would be limited to a certain extent or not. To my luck, this keyboard actually works like a charm. There is a button replacement for all Android/Google TV buttons (back, home, search, etc.) and it makes navigating the Google TV interface a breeze.
The Home button will work as the big Vizio button (or your device’s equivalent), which brings up your apps. The escape button will work as the back button, enter and left/right click do as expected and one can even control the volume via the keyboard’s controls.
To make things better, the touchpad fully supports multi-touch functions. One can tap to select and even use two fingers to scroll. It really is as if the keyboard was built with Google TV in mind.
There is always one worry with wireless devices, they depend on a battery to keep them running. The Logitech K400 is no exception, but most importantly, it is not the worst at holding a charge. It uses 2 AA batteries and they last about a month with moderate use (1-3 hours a day).
Another neat thing you may find while switching your batteries is that the same compartment has a place where one can save the keyboard’s USB dongle. This definitely makes it simpler to take during your travels and use it with other devices.
I found that the keyboard is good within a certain distance of the USB dongle. I usually sit within 10 feet of my TV, so signal wasn’t affected by distance. There seems to be other issues affecting the keyboard’s performance, though. The keyboard seems to lag from time to time, especially if you move around while using it.
Your actions will start lagging, with your typed words and touchpad actions coming in a bit late. It is certainly annoying, but it only happens for a few seconds, when it does.
This is probably the best part of the Logitech K400 – it is a STEAL! You can currently find it for $34.99 at Amazon. Best Buy has it for $40. So even with all the downsides, one really can’t complain too much.
There isn’t a large enough market for such keyboards yet, so Logitech wouldn’t want to risk it by creating a very high-quality keyboard with a touchpad just yet. Maybe they are simply testing the waters with the idea, and we give them props for that.
The Logitech K400 is the ultimate option for anyone wanting to replace their Google TV remote with a full, standard keyboard. The inclusion of an integrated touchpad and full controls makes a great living room companion. The size, weight and build won’t disappoint either. It is very thin, portable and light, but that comes with its sacrifices too.
It has its defects: it is not solid, typing is not as comfortable as it is with high-quality keyboards and signal can be spotty at times. But would I recommend it? Yes, simply because it definitely beats using some of the Google TV keyboards and touchpads. If you want a standard keyboard to use with your Google TV, you will enjoy this keyboard more than you would your remote, or a space inefficient keyboard/mouse combo. And for the price, you really can’t go wrong.