Logitech K760: A Wireless Keyboard with No Strings Attached
Wireless keyboards have several advantages. One is to get rid of cables snaking between your computer and peripherals. Another advantage, and the one that made me look into the field several months ago, was to free up one of the four USB ports on my Mac mini. With two external hard drives, an external DVD drive, a ScanSnap scanner, and a webcam, my devices are always fighting for port space. (And yes, I know I could attach a USB hub, but they come with their own issues.)
But my experience with Apple’s original wireless Magic Trackpad was that I was replacing its batteries about every 3–4 weeks, with the low-battery nag starting even before that. The thought of having one more set of batteries to fuss with was a showstopper for me.
So I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a solar-powered wireless keyboard? That would be perfect!” Sure enough, a little searching revealed just such a keyboard: the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750.
At $59.99, it’s not an entry-level keyboard, though it’s still quite a bit cheaper than Apple’s new Magic Keyboard (see “Apple Adds Retina Displays to More iMacs, Updates Input Devices,” 13 October 2015). Regardless, my old wired Apple keyboard (one of the full-size keyboards encased in clear plastic) was suffering from sticky keys and showing other signs of aging, so it needed replacing anyway.
But before I clicked the Buy button, I read some reviews and was crushed to stumble on the fact that “wireless” didn’t mean Bluetooth, but rather a proprietary Logitech transmission protocol that required a USB dongle plugged into the Mac, defeating most of my goal in going wireless!
Down but not out, I went on a mission to find a Bluetooth alternative, and I found what seems like a perfect one, sort of: the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760. When I found a “marketplace” merchant at Amazon selling it for $57.48 shipped, I was sold. The only problem? As far as I can tell from Logitech’s Web site, the K760 isn’t being made any more, which means that the supply is probably limited, and the pricing may vary widely.
Hands on with the K760 — Made specifically for the Mac, this keyboard has a look and feel that makes Apple users feel instantly at home. It paired seamlessly with my Mac mini. And with Volume, Mute, Play/Pause, Mission Control, and other familiar function keys working out of the box, I was impressed with Logitech’s attention to the needs of the Apple community.
I also appreciate that it can remain paired with two additional Bluetooth devices and switch seamlessly between them via the F1, F2, and F3 function keys. I paired it with my MacBook and my third-generation Apple TV with no hassle. I also connected it to my iPhone, where it can even Show/Hide the keyboard (via the Eject key) or “press Home” via F5.
Given that it’s solar-powered, you might wonder how the K760 performs in the dark. Thanks to the internal battery that charges from either daylight or artificial light, the keyboard has worked fine for me during late nights in the dark. Online specs and reviews suggest it can run for a month in complete darkness.
I can’t compare the feel of typing on the K760 to Apple’s recent keyboards, since the one I replaced was so old, but it’s fairly similar to my MacBook’s keyboard. In a 2012 Macworld review, Dan Frakes commented that he preferred the K760’s keys to those on Apple’s then-current keyboards. Acknowledging that how a keyboard feels is intensely personal, I like the feel of the K760.
My only disappointment is that, unlike its non-Bluetooth sibling K750, the K760 does not include a numeric keypad. Why Logitech’s product design team chose to make the non-Bluetooth model include a numeric keypad and the Bluetooth model leave it out is a head-scratcher for me, and when I approached Logitech with the question, they were no help. Regardless, if the numeric keypad is important and you can spare a USB port for the wireless dongle, I’d encourage you to consider the K750, which is both cheaper ($59.48 at Amazon now) and still listed on Logitech’s site.
A Day Late and a Dollar Short — Of course, Apple just announced a revised lineup of its keyboard, mouse, and trackpad products with features that appear to suggest that the company finally realizes how bad the battery problem is. Unfortunately, Apple’s solution was to make the battery rechargeable via a Lightning cable rather than to recharge by solar. So even though Apple claims the devices will run for at least a month between charges, you must still add them to your chore list of battery-powered devices that need to be cabled and charged. It’s far less trouble than replacing batteries or fussing with rechargeable batteries, but still requires more attention and
interaction than the K760’s solar solution.
Considering that Apple’s Magic Keyboard costs $99 and can’t pair with and switch between multiple devices, I’d still recommend Logitech’s K760 for anyone but those looking for the precise look and feel of Apple’s products.
Logitech: A Logical Choice — If you want a Mac-friendly keyboard that you’ll never have to plug in or replace batteries for, check out the Logitech K760. And if a numeric keypad is a must, you can spare a USB port, and you have no need to pair the same keyboard with an iPhone, iPad, or other device, give the Logitech K750 a try. They’re both wireless, with no strings attached. Here’s hoping that Logitech releases an updated version of the K760 soon, because it’d be sad if such a great design was lost in time.
I was looking for a good keyboard when I upgraded to a Mac Mini at work and an iMac at home last year. My answer? Apple's wired keyboard with number pad. I get instant connection, which I didn't always with Bluetooth, two extra USB ports, and... a number pad. Sure, and unsightly cable mars my desk, but it's a small price to pay!
It's all about finding something that makes you happy :-)
I used to really value the USB ports built into wired keyboards, until I found that most devices couldn't draw enough power from those ports, other than mice and some thumb drives.
My older Apple wireless keyboard (model A1314) runs several months between battery changes, with heavy use, which makes it the best solution for me. In general, I consider the constant battery monitoring and plugging in associated with rechargeable batteries such a pain that I prefer units with replaceable batteries.
I already use a Logitech mouse, so I could actually add the K760 keyboard that uses the same "Unifying" dongle. But I love my Apple Bluetooth keyboard so much that there's no reason to change.
I have three K750s. Two at home and one at work. I hate the dongle but love the keyboard. I have to have a numeric keypad as one of my tasks is bookkeeping. The USB hub solution works sufficiently for me. I wish there was a Bluetooth version of the K750 though.
My family has been using a hand-me-down K750 for a year or so and overall we like it a lot.
I concur with not liking to rely on the (propriety) Logitech dongles, especially since we have a Logitech wireless mouse (M310, daughter's) and a Logitech wireless trackball (M570, mine), all of which each came with dongles. Found could pair all three devices to a single dongle, but was not trivial since the era of dongle seemed to matter. Trial-and-error is our friend.
Would have preferred Bluetooth, if as good with battery life as dongles. I gave up on Apple's wireless keyboard from way-back since it ate batteries. No such problem with solar-charged K750 so far. :-)
Fortunately we don't often need to use the devices with our other Macs. Otherwise would need to pair with second Mac. (And unpair if using that second Mac nearby?) Similar issue as if were using Bluetooth, I suppose, but software interface would be more familiar.
It took a while to get this used solar keyboard to keep a good charge. Found Logitech's Solar App (2011) and PDF user manual useful, along with tips found on the internet. Discover the (inefficient?) world of wireless charging: Placing keyboard a foot away from a lit lightbulb. :-)
I'm not a dongle fan either but I put up with the Logitech to save batteries. One big drawback is no Caps lock light on the keyboard
Yea, "Down with Dongles!" You can be pretty sure you'll never see a dongle-based solution from Apple :-)
As for the Caps Lock light, there is one on my K760. But you're probably referring to the dongled K750? Seems like an odd omission, especially since the 760 features it.
I've had a K760 for a couple of years now. I loved that it would pair with my home Mac, the Windows laptop I was required to take home every day my iPad that went to work with me, so I could be useful at work. It's travelled halfway around the world with me and I'm using it still. Brilliant buy!
I have had the K750 for almost 2 years now, and have had absolutely no problems with it losing its charge. I don't like the dongle either, but as I have one of their multi-button mice which I love, and a trackball that I had to buy after shoulder surgery when I couldn't move my arm around to use the mouse, I would have the dongle anyway. I do love the numeric keyboard also. However, the lack of a caps lock light drives me nuts! When a online password doesn't work, I have to open a problem just to type something to see if having the caps lock on is the problem. (I often hit it instead of the a key.) I can't imagine why Logitech left that out.
You can always buy this Caps Lock add-on:
I have a fairly dim room with my computer in a cabinet. I wonder whether the keyboard would recharge in that environment. Would I have to get a special lamp to do that? Or park it somewhere else for recharging?
I wonder why Apple does not make a wireless number pad? Although my need for one has lessened in the past few years, I would buy one if it was available and switch it on when I needed it.
I've been using the K760 for about 2 years now and have loved it. I've never lacked for power, so I assume the solar charging has been working.
The look and feel is great (IMO) and I love being able to quickly toggle between using it as a keyboard for my iPad and iPhone when I need to type something quickly on either.
Also, as someone who also uses Apple's wireless keyboard (at home), I've found the pairing to be easier and more reliable with the Logitech than the Apple keyboard.
I definitely would recommend it.
I have used the K760 for several years with various iPads. When the first keyboard failed, I bought another which is still going strong. I use a wired keyboard with my Mac.
I have had the unfortunate experience of owning this keyboard. I found that the rechargeable battery fails after 8-10 months of use. The Command keys fail within 1 years. The RMA process takes weeks and is nearly impossible to complete. Logitech screwed the pooch on this one and has lost me as a customer.
That's too bad. My last customer experience with Logitech was about four years ago, when a key came loose from my Logitech Illuminated Keyboard. The company sent me a new keyboard with no hassle. It was Apple-like service.
I have had the K760 since Logitech first shipped it. It is the best free standing keyboard I have ever had. Logitech makes great products and I have used their mouses for years and find them much better then Apple's mouses.
I LOVE THE K760!!
I have never had a power problem with it, and it spends weeks at a time hidden in my bag. I try to give it some full sun every few months when I think of it. I have never found anything that comes close to it for an iOS keyboard that isn't also a case. I don't want a keyboard case, just a nice keyboard to use when I need a keyboard.
I love it so much I was in an office store that had one on display even though they are out of production. I immediately asked to buy one. They did not have any in stock (what a shock). I then asked to buy the display model. They have a strict policy to never sell the display model. Even for products they will never get more of and will have to discard. Sigh.