Logitech’s MX Keys Mechanical is a satisfying, wireless introduction to mech keebs

    Logitech's MX Keys Mechanical (bottom) and MX Keys Mini (top) keyboards.
    Enlarge / Logitech’s MX Keys Mechanical (bottom) and MX Keys Mini (top) keyboards.

    Scharon Harding

    Specs at a glance: Logitech MX Keys Mechanical
    Switches Kailh low-profile tactile, clicky, or linear
    Keycaps ABS plastic
    Connectivity options Bluetooth Low Energy or 2.4 GHz USB-A dongle
    Backlighting White
    Size 17.08×5.18×1.03 inches
    (433.85×131.55×26.1 mm)
    Weight 1.35 lbs (612 g)
    Warranty 1 year
    Price (MSRP) $170

    With an office-friendly appearance, tasteful backlighting, multi-PC wireless control, and simple software all backed by a reputable name, the Logitech MX Keys Mechanical ($170 MSRP) wireless keyboard was announced Tuesday, as well as the smaller MX Keys Mini ($150), are solid, serviceable entry points into mechanical keyboards.

    If the new keyboards look familiar, it’s because they take inspiration in appearance and features from the MX Keys ($120) and MX Keys Mini ($100) membrane wireless, respectively, but with satisfying, low-profile clicky, tactile, or linear mechanical switches. It’s the kind of design that leads plenty of people to try a mechanical keyboard for the first time. But when comparing it to other wireless mechanical keyboards, you can find more features, including some that power users will miss, from rivals for less money.

    Keeping a low(er) profile

    I tend to be wary of low-profile mechanical keyboards. Some subpar options I’ve tried with shallow, mushy, linear low-profile switches and flat keycaps have scarred me a bit. They’re popular among gamers, due to a perceived speed advantage, but you’d have to be quite competitive (I’m not) for that to make a huge difference.

    But with a little more height than other low-profile options and higher actuation force specs, the switches in the MX Keys proved to offer a nice middle ground. They still actuated quickly, as in laptop keyboards, while providing healthy travel for those used to full-sized mechanical switches.

    You can get the MX Keys Mechanical with what Logitech told me are proprietary tactile, clicky, or linear switches made by Kailh. All three types have 3.2 mm total travel, actuate at 1.3 mm, and require 55 g of force to actuate. The switches’ travel specs make them similar to Kailh’s Choc line of low-profile switches but require more actuation force (compared to 45 g).

    I primarily used the tactile version of the keyboard, and they felt far from mushy. Compared to a full-size Cherry MX Brown switch (4 mm / 2 mm / 55 g), the MX Keys Mechanical’s brown switches felt quicker to actuate and return, likely due to the shorter travel.

    At the same time, they maintained the discernible bump for which tactile switches are known. The low-profile switches were noticeably shorter than the full-size alternative, feeling quite snappy during quick typing, but I still felt like I had a comfortable amount of travel to know I was pressing each key. And the higher actuation force helped me avoid typos.

    There are even lower-profile switches, such as what’s in Logitech’s G915 Lightspeed ($250 MSRP) wireless keyboard (2.7 mm / 1.5 mm / 50 g). In a side-by-side comparison with a G915 with tactile switches, the MX Keys Mechanical’s were noticeably shorter, but the tactile bump was slightly less prominent. The tactile MX Keys Mechanical sounded about as loud as other Brown-switch keyboards, with a light, higher-pitched noise as I pressed through the tactile bump and a more plastic sound as the key returned.

    I spent much less time with the linear and clicky versions of the keyboard but was pleasantly surprised by how deep the linear switches felt despite short travel and no tactile bump; although there are smoother-feeling linear switches. The clicky switches, meanwhile, were just as loud and proud as I had hoped for from Blue mechanical switches.

    I occasionally heard an annoying, metallic ding when typing aggressively, particularly with the spacebar. The rivaling Razer Pro Type Ultra ($160 MSRP) wireless keyboard combats this with sound-dampening foam, but it only comes with linear switches.

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