Review: Logitech nails it with MX Keys, MX Master 3 keyboard for Mac and iPad
We take a look at the latest list of Logitech peripherals designed for Mac, including Apple-specific versions of the amazing MX Keys wireless keyboard and MX Master 3 wireless mouse.
Logitech released the products earlier this week, and after we’ve had time to test them, we’re here with our impressions of Logitech’s flagship devices for Mac.
The most basic of the three devices is the K380. While the keyboard has been around for a while, this Mac-specific white version is new.
This is a compact Mac keyboard that is similar in size to the smaller Apple Magic Keyboard. Its compact size fits well on smaller desks or a portable carrying case. Very easy to throw in a bag.
Unlike the two more premium options below, the K380 is powered by a pair of AAA batteries. There is an on / off switch on the left side of the keyboard. You can connect to up to three devices, all of which can be easily switched with the light gray device keys located on the left side of the function keys.
The keys are solid and tactile, although we’re not always a fan of circular keys. If you have a tendency to knock towards the corners of the keys, you won’t find them on these circulars. Truth be told though, a few days of typing and we adjusted pretty quickly. It was just a problem when we went from a square key to these round ones constantly.
MX keys for Mac
However, the new MX keys for Mac are on another level. It is based on almost every aspect of Apple’s own Magic Keyboard. The only ways that Apple’s keyboard wins out on the solid tactile “click” when a key is pressed, the aluminum body, the Lightning connector, and the slim profile. But even those are up for debate.
The MX Keys keyboard for Mac is about the same size as Apple but has a raised back edge that can make it more ergonomic. We know that there are those who think Apple is too low and Logitech clearly agrees.
While Apple uses Lightning, which we like because we always have a Lightning cable on our desk for our iPhones, Logitech has opted for USB-C. USB-C is a great option and we are delighted to see it here.
MX Keys works over Bluetooth Low Energy or using Logitech’s unifying receiver. The problem we have is that Logitech keeps shipping a USB-A version of its receiver. So if you want to use that, you must have a USB cradle or adapter to work with a modern Mac. Fortunately, Bluetooth is more than reliable and our preferred connection method. Still, Logitech needs to update its receiver.
At the top of the keyboard is a full row of function keys, dedicated to screen brightness, exposure, application view, keyboard brightness, media controls, volume, and eject. Apple’s keyboard has basically the same keys, except for options for keyboard brightness and mobile-specific shortcuts above the number pad for calculator, camera, and lock.
Speaking of the backlight, it is easily controlled from the function row, but it also adjusts automatically. The light will turn on when your hands get closer, creating a pleasant effect when in use.
If we could change one thing about Logitech MX Keys for Mac, it would be to make it out of aluminum instead of just silver plastic. It still looks great and has considerable weight, but it is clear that it does not have the same quality as Apple’s real aluminum body.
Master MX 3
Our favorite of all the new Logitech gear has to be the MX Master 3 for Mac. This mouse takes things to a new level with a lot more tricks up its sleeve than simple multi-touch Apple Magic Mouse.
That’s not to say we’re not fans of the Apple Magic Mouse 2, but users have long debated the merits of its low profile, as well as its misplaced Lightning port. Users had to turn the mouse on its side to connect it to a charger, rendering it useless while it was on.
The master MX 3 is again a familiar design, and very comfortable. It is much larger than the Magic Mouse. 2, but it fills your hand and feels much more natural. It is equipped with buttons and wheels on almost all sides, which have different functions depending on the device and even the application you are using.
For starters, the top has the standard left and right mouse buttons. We wish they had a bit more tension as they click too easily, but they are solid enough. Among them is the scroll wheel. It is a new Magspeed wheel that is controlled by magnets.
The wheel can toggle between precision mode, where you can feel a solid * click * every time you move, and free spin mode, where there is no resistance. In either mode, you can spin the wheel and let it stop. The wheel is made of machined metal, which gives it a fantastic tactile feel. To switch between these modes, there is a small button just behind the steering wheel.
Along the left side is a horizontal metal scroll wheel. This has a bit more tension and can be easily controlled with your thumb. This scroll wheel is useful for some purposes. If you’re in Excel or Final Cut Pro X, it can act as a horizontal scroll wheel for your spreadsheet or timeline. If you are in Safari, it can act as the method to move between open tabs. Finally, within the operating system, it can be used as an easy way to switch between different desktops or full-screen applications.
The only problem is that we love to use it to move between our full-screen applications, but whenever we are in an application like Safari or Final Cut, that function is overridden. We can disable those app-specific features, but they’re useful in their own right. It gets confusing why sometimes it can jump between desktops and sometimes not, and it takes us a second to process that we are in a specific application.
Without the multi-touch feature of Apple’s tracking products, it can be more difficult to move between these different desktops and applications. The wheel helps, but only sometimes.
Below the wheel is another set of buttons. These can also be programmed. In Final Cut, they act as undo and redo buttons. In Safari, they can act as back and forward buttons.
Lastly, there’s the gesture button that sits under your thumb. Press this and slide the mouse to perform a number of different functions. Hold down and pull the mouse back to access the app’s exposure. Hold down and push forward to open the different open desks. And press and hold and flick left or right to go between open apps. These can be customized and are very useful if used correctly.
All of this can be controlled and configured with Logitech’s simple utility. Without it, many of the mouse functions do not work. It still acts like a mouse, but the gestures and special buttons are less useful.
Logitech expressly advertises the MX Master 3 as it is designed for the iPad too, so obviously we had to put it to the test.
Once connected to our iPad Pro, the mouse was almost fluid. It was not perfect and we noticed cases of excessive displacement. It looks like Apple Apple devices are still the most fluid for tracking on iPad, but this is probably the most fluid third-party we’ve tested.
Of the additional buttons, only a few work here on the iPad. The mouse can switch between the two modes, the right click works, just like the normal click. We were even surprised to see that the gesture button worked, although not as strongly as on Mac. Clicking will jump to your previous application and if held, open the application switcher.
Other cool aspects of the Logitech MX Master 3 include USB-C charging, 4000DPI tracking, and support for tracking on any surface, including glass.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
All three new devices are available to order now and are the perfect companions for your iPhone, iPad or Mac. They are cleanly designed to combine Apple’s aesthetics and all capable of switching between any of the devices on the fly.
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