Review: Logitech k830 illuminated living-room keyboard

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85%
85%
Great device

Typing accurately on the k830 takes a little getting used to, but this keyboard is a good size and weight for use in the living room, and includes great features that make it uniquely suited for navigating a smart TV or cable box to find the content you want.

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I make my living on a keyboard. In fact, you could argue that the keyboard is the most important tool I use aside from the computer itself. Keyboards are also starting to play a more important role in the living room. I took a look at one keyboard designed specifically for a living room environment: the Logitech k830 illuminated living-room keyboard.

Smart televisions, cable boxes, DVRs, and devices like Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV allow you to search for content. Some even enable you to access and surf the Web. Scrolling back and forth one letter at a time or typing on a telephone-style number pad where you have to cycle through letters to find the one you want are very inefficient methods of interacting with these devices. I won’t candy coat it: it sucks.

The Logitech k830 keyboard is designed to solve that problem. It is more compact than a standard full-sized keyboard, and it contains a few special features that make it uniquely suited for using on your lap while kicked back on the couch.

Rechargeable

Rather than using AA or AAA batteries that would have to be replaced frequently, the k830 uses a lithium ion rechargeable battery. Logitech claims the keyboard works for about 10 days on a full charge. When you need to give it more juice you just connect it to a PC or other power source using a microUSB to USB cable (included in the box).

When you’re not actively using the keyboard you should turn it off. Assuming you’re only using it for a few minutes or even a few hours at a time that “10 days” of runtime can actually result in weeks or months between charges. I used the keyboard for about three weeks and I never had to recharge it.

Wireless

The k830 works wirelessly with your TVs and gadgets. It uses Logitech’s proprietary Unifying wireless technology—the same technology Logitech uses with its wireless keyboards, mice, and touchpads for the PC. Communication requires that you plug the tiny Logitech Unifying receiver into a USB port, so whatever device you plan to use the keyboard with must have USB HID capability and an open USB port. Be careful because many TVs and devices have USB ports that work for things like viewing pictures from a USB thumb drive, but are not compatible with a device like the Unifying receiver.

Because it uses the same Unifying wireless technology, it actually works with PCs as well. I use a Logitech k800 wireless keyboard and t650 wireless touchpad in my office so I already have the Unifying receiver connected to a USB port on my Surface Pro 3 docking station. When I turn the k830 on in my office, it immediately connects and I am able to type on the keyboard or navigate my PC using the k830 touchpad.

Illuminated

Most of the time I’m watching television the room is dark—or at very best it’s poorly lit. That would make it difficult to see most keyboards, but the k830 is backlit. The keyboard and controls such as the volume up, down and mute buttons are individually lit so you can see what you’re typing in a dark room.

Using the k830

I liked using the k830. It is light enough that it doesn’t seem cumbersome, yet solid enough that it doesn’t feel cheap. The weight distribution is even—something I can’t say for my TV or cable box remotes—so it’s easy to handle.

Aside from the aforementioned illumination, another unique feature that makes this keyboard well-suited for the living room is the placement of a button on the back left of the keyboard that acts as a left mouse button. There are also left and right mouse buttons below the trackpad surface where’d you expect them, but the extra button lets you comfortably hold the k830 in two hands and navigate the trackpad with your right hand while you select things with your left hand.

The keyboard is compact by nature because the k830 is designed to be portable and fit comfortably in a living room environment. That also means it does not have a separate numeric keypad like you typically find on a standard full-sized keyboard. The trackpad itself is smooth and responsive. I didn’t notice any lag between my swiping the trackpad and the movement of the onscreen cursor.

Room for improvement

My only real complaint about the k830 is the quality of the typing experience. As I noted above, I use a Logitech k800 wireless keyboard all day every day. I am typing this review on the k800. I love the feel and responsiveness of the keys on the k800. The k830 is a whole different story.

It is partly a function of the fact that the keyboard is more compact, so the spacing of the keys is different than I’m used to. There isn’t much that can be done about that. The other issue is that the keys are flat and square. That makes it more challenging to hit individual keys, and much more likely that I’ll accidentally mash more than one at a time.

That isn’t a deal breaker in my opinion. It’s mostly a matter of getting used to it. Besides, I wasn’t trying to write a 1,000 word article using the k830. I’m just typing short queries so I can find episodes of Breaking Bad or Orange is the New Black.

The k830 has a list price of $100, which is a bit steep, but you can buy it from Amazon for $80. Overall it beats the hell out of scrolling through one letter at a time, and I recommend you take a look at it if you frequently search content on your TV or entertainment device.

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About Author

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 5 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@techspective.net. You can contact me directly at tony@techspective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

57 Comments

  1. Noe Charbonneau on

    I agree with Tony that using the Smart TV remote control to scroll through the letters does suck. The fact that it is designed for use in a TV room makes it perfect for me. I would be more inclined to use all the features my TV possesses if I had one of these keyboards.

  2. Scott Hedstrom on

    I like the fact of having the touchpad built into the keyboard. This would be much more convenient than having a separate mouse or touchpad when using in the livingroom.

  3. On a related note–the k830 might also make a good traveling companion. It is slim enough to fit in a laptop bag, and would enable you to control a presentation from across the room, or let you type and work with your PC from a hotel bed while your laptop is connected to the TV via HDMI or whatever.

  4. My Panasonic Blu-Ray player is absolutely awful for inputting text. Very slow and unresponsive. This would be great for that, plus my desktop system is in the livingroom also and could easily pull double duty.

  5. Christopher Wunker on

    Actually the travel aspect of the keyboard seems most beneficial to me. I do not use the tv much for browsing, etc. But if it were easier with this keyboard, I may give the tv another chance!

  6. I have a media server in a closet under the stairs. As you can see , the Logitech keyboard and mouse with mouse pad along with speakers and a monitor are all on one small table. The K830 Keyboard will free up a lot of room, and the fact that the keyboard is illuminated will let me keep the lights off.

  7. I would like a K830 because of the keyboard illumination, which would come in real handy for controlling my DIY HTPC in my family room.

        • That’s a valid point. It won’t do you much good with your TV if its plugged in to your Blu-ray player, and it won’t work with your Blu-ray player if the Logitech dongle is plugged in to your Amazon Fire TV.

          You can buy the Logitech Unifying receiver separately, so it might be possible to add a separate receiver to each device and pair the keyboard to each of them. I’m not sure if you can pair the keyboard to multiple receivers simultaneously–or if so, how many.

          Perhaps there is some way to connect the Logitech Unifying receiver to a central USB hub, and then connect that to the various devices so it can work with all of them? Just a thought. I’ll check with Logitech and see if they have an answer for that issue.

  8. I dream for an all-in-one media center. Many have come close, even Windows Media Center, but there are things that just fall flat. However, this Logitech keyboard would help a great deal in bringing it closer to the home entertainment center of the future.

  9. I just put together a PC to use with my home entertainment system, and have been using a clunky wireless mouse & keyboard combo. The Logitech K830 would consolidate both of them and be soooo much more convenient! Having a trackpad on the keyboard would be amazing! I’ve always been a fan of Logitech gear, and I’m sure this keyboard would not disappoint.
    Thanks again for the great website Tony!

  10. I think it would be great to not have to scroll around to spell. I wouldn’t even need a light! I’m ready to try this one.

  11. I think this keyboard would be the perfect bridge to completing my ideas on a full entertainment solution. I love the illumination and the portability. Great review.

  12. Jonathan Olensky on

    Many good points to the keyboard, I’d say the major point for me would be to finally try one with illuminated keys. I’ve heard good things.

  13. Richard Geisel-Churchill on

    I see the benefits…now where to I put it with all the other technology necessities cluttering up the landscape

  14. I like everything about this keyboard – wireless, rechargeable, illuminated, touch pad built in – makes for a very desirable package. I often use my PC late at night with lights off, but must turn on a lamp to use the keyboard. This would be a boon for that use.

  15. This keyboard is awesome in so many ways. backlit keys, lithium ion battery, built in touchpad , would be great for surfing on the TV.

  16. My 55 inch samsung smart tv has a remote that is really hard to use. This would help very much to navigate the menus on it as well as the blu-ray player.

  17. pop_goez_tha_weazul on

    Looking for a BT / wireless keyboard to pair up with my cell phone for productivity apps. This sounds promising.

  18. Michael L Jones on

    This would appear to satisfy multiple needs at home and on the road. The lighted keyboard is especially nice for those of us who do not always have their glasses handy. I don’t think the size would make much of a difference seeing as how I can manage to type out text and emails on my phone with about a 85% spelling accurecy , so this would only improve on that! Nice review, thank you.

  19. William Howard on

    Illuminated wireless keyboard with touch pad that is both useful with HTPC devices and computers or tablets, how wonderful.

  20. This keyboard is actually something that helps me, a floating teacher, keep my bag below 18 pounds. It also makes it to where I don’t need a Mouse, something that is wonderful to admit to.

  21. I have another Logitech keyboard that serves the same purpose in my living room. It saves a lot of space and is very convenient to use…in bright-ish conditions. But it’s hard to read the keys when the room is dimly lit. The back-lighting on this is a great addition. I hope I win!

  22. Seems like a dream come true for typing in the living room. Smaller form is not too bad as it will be used for typing searches mostly and I absolutely hare searching one letter at a time. I’d love to win one and I hope it will work with our PS3.

  23. Pretty sweet device. I like the button on the back left for convenient clicking and, of course, the backlight for dark rooms. This would look good next to my recliner.

  24. The K830 claims a 10 day battery life as well as being rechargeable. It has convenient Media keys for when i would need to adjust the volume on my PC or access frequently used applications.

  25. I love the idea I can use it to type in applications like Roku etc. and the idea it is illuminated, and smaller than a regular keyboard.

  26. A very thorough review. The keyboard seems cool, I’m just not sure if my devices would work since I have an older tv. Wonder if it’s compatible with a 360?

  27. I like the ambient light in my home office dimmed and prefer to light the task or objects of note (art, etc.), the lighted keyboard is perfect for this situation. I want one!!

  28. I like the fact that it’s illuminated… that’s great. My office is on the other side of the wall from the living room TV, so I have a HDMI cable running from my office PC to the TV. I’ve been using a full size wireless keyboard and mouse, but that’s too much on the couch. This device is the solution!

  29. I have a K400 – not backlit. I also have the K750 – solar rechargeable (love it) – also not backlit. I am not a big fan of having to recharge devices. Would love to see a backlit keyboard with solar recharge.

  30. Just got my own K830. Use it with my HTPC running Linux Kubuntu with a
    Kodi (XBMC). Layout better than my old K400 where Arrow-keys and Shift
    always conflict. Big drawback is the “reverse” function of the F-keys:
    if you press a F-key it selects the *special function* and not the
    standard F-key function. I hope I can connect it to a Windows PC and
    reverse the F-keys and then “save in flash”. Windows users: forget this
    drawback as you can simply use the Logitech software to do this.
    However a bit disappointing that the red key markings are NOT backlit (only the white markings)!

  31. Chris Calvert on

    Almost every comment below says should, would, will do implying that almost nobody has ACTUALLY used this keyboard in any way. There is no way it works with my new Panasonic bluray player. There is no way, unfortunately, that I will be using most of the features of my player because of the absence of any reasonable way to use the alphabet to navigate youtube etc. The method of moving around one letter at a time is so utterly stupid I find it hard to believe that anybody could even design something so crippled in purpose OTHER than as a marketing gimmick to say yes, we can do that, and ignoring the fact that only one in 10,000 will use it.

    • I totally agree with you regarding the so called smart TV’s method of entering data. If you buy a Ferrari and then find out you can only use 1st gear I think you would be less than happy.
      I bought the K830 to enter data into my Samsung JU6400 smart TV and found that it was fine in the web browser but would not work with the BBC iplayer or YouTube app (it would work with YouTube direct from the browser). Later that day it stopped responding to the data keys but the movement of the pointer was fine. I took it back to John Lewis to exchange it for another and whilst in the store we tried it on the JU6400 on display and it worked, at least for a few seconds of testing. I now have the same problem with the replacement. It worked fine for the first hour so then stopped responding to data.
      I tried the Logitech help desk but they suggested that it should be used to interface with a laptop which is connected to the TV. This is not what I want, I want one keyboard that wirelessly connects to the TV.
      I’ve decided to exchange the TV for a Samsung which has the pointer device to enter data as that seems better than using the arrow keys of the JU6400. I will however keep the keyboard for the time being to see if it will work with the new model.
      Does anyone know if when you insert the communicator into a USB slot that a message appears on screen saying that it has been connected because mine didn’t.

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  33. Backlight turns off way too quickly. Very annoying when typing in the dark. It’s also pretty cheaply made. I’ve had 2 fail already. Random keys don’t work, left click button broke.

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