- Editor's Rating
- Thin, light, and compact; doesn't require cover
- Spill-resistant fabric that's easy to clean
- Convenient shortcut keys
- Lackluster travel and feedback
- Fairly pricey
The Keys-To-Go's ultra-thin design is supremely portable and a breeze to clean, but turns typing in a slower, more cautious experience. Plus it's expensive. It's good for those who want something physical when surfing the web or sending the occasional email, but anyone looking for a productivity machine can do better.
How do you make something as inherently portable as a Bluetooth keyboard even more convenient? According to Logitech’s Keys-To-Go, you detach it from any burdensome covers, give it an spill-resistant and easily cleanable finish, add a bunch of nifty device shortcuts, and make the whole thing really, really thin.
Indeed, the $70 board—which launched late last year as an iOS-tailored accessory but is now available in Android/Windows form—nails much of what it’s going for, but it also presents a few problems that naturally arise when a keyboard prioritizes portability above all else. We’ve been using the Keys-To-Go with a handful of phones and tablets for the past few weeks, so let’s explain what we mean.
The basic premise of the Keys-To-Go is to replicate the compactness of something like a Surface ‘Touch Cover’ without spoiling the tactile feedback of a traditional typing experience. If you judge it by that vision, it’s a success. It measures a tight 5.39 x 9.53 x 0.24 inches, and at 6.35 ounces, it never feels like something you’re lugging around.
That 0.24-inch mark is the key here—that’s an exceptionally slight number for an accessory like this. The whole thing isn’t full-size, but it’s wide enough to give each key a comfortable amount of room; we never found ourselves hitting too many buttons by accident. It looks most natural next to a full-size iPad or 10-inch Android tablet, but its wireless nature makes it work with smaller phone screens as well.
To obtain that level of thinness, the Keys-To-Go uses flattened keys that barely rise above the board’s surface. Again, it’s very much similar to the look of Microsoft’s Touch Covers—look at the device from the bottom edge and you’ll barely see anything jut out.
The difference is that these keys are, well, actual keys, not touchpads. There’s a give to them, and you don’t completely lose the fleeting sense of satisfaction that comes with physically clicking a button. There’s a pleasantly surprising feeling that comes with using this for the first time. If nothing else, it’s an impressive feat of engineering. It’s also extremely quiet, making it a little more useful for late-night or office sessions.
All of this is aided by the soft, felt-like material that covers the front of the device. Logitech calls it “FabricSkin,” and, goofy branding or not, it feels more pleasing against your fingers than typical hard plastic. It’s the kind of thing you’ll find yourself absentmindedly rubbing your hand across when you’re not using it, something that isn’t usually said when describing a keyboard. Our unit came in black, but red, teal, and navy blue options are also available, depending on which model you buy.
The fabric also comes with the big benefit of being spill-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about any liquid-related mishaps sending your text into a tailspin. Drop some water on the keys and it’ll just sit there in a blob until you wipe it off. Having pressed-down keys makes cleaning the Keys-To-Go a breeze, too—without any crevices between the buttons, there’s no room for random gunk to burrow into.
As mentioned above, the Keys-To-Go doesn’t come connected to a full-on cover, so you can use it wherever without having to sacrifice any phone or tablet stand you may already own and enjoy. It does come with an attachable one of its own, and that’s serviceable enough, although it can’t hold a phone or tablet in place as sturdily as a more dedicated contraption.
The front of the board is a familiar, no-frills affair, with the usual QWERTY setup joined by a number of shortcut keys tailored for either iOS or a combination of Android and Windows. We used the latter, which has buttons for returning to the home screen, bringing up the recent apps menu, opening your preferred email app, controlling music playback and volume, taking a screenshot, and checking the status of the keyboard’s battery and Bluetooth connection (via a small LED on the top bezel) in a row above the number keys. Towards the bottom of the device is a dedicated Windows key—which serves as a Google Search shortcut on Android but still looks awkward—and an in-app search key, along with quick options for copy, cut, and paste.
These shortcuts work as expected, save for the recent apps key, which automatically takes you to your last used app instead of displaying the usual list of open apps together. Most of them take up the spots typically occupied by the Fn keys, but the only worthwhile casualty there is the lack of a refresh button, which we missed while web browsing.
They also make it possible to navigate a fair amount of your phone or tablet without ever touching it, but since most apps are (naturally) tailored for touch, you’ll still wind up reaching out to access a particular menu every so often. That’s a strike against wireless mobile keyboards in general, but a minor one here, as you can largely use a browser, word processor, or email app (the things for which you’d want a keyboard in the first place) without having to move back and forth repeatedly.
The back of the Keys-To-Go is made up of unicolor matte rubber, which has enough grip to keep the device from wobbling around on a flat surface. It’s a little less stable in your lap, however: We ran into a consistent, albeit minor, bit of shaking when using it on our person. It’s not severe enough to ruin things, but it’s an annoyance worth noting, especially since Logitech is selling the device on its portability. Cosmetically, it’s just as simplistic as the front, with only a faint Logitech logo at its center.
The sides of the device are almost entirely barren, with just a small on/off switch and a micro-USB port near the top of its right edge. Don’t expect to use the latter too often: Logitech claims that the Keys-To-Go’s battery can last up to three months on a single charge. We didn’t have our test unit long enough to verify that claim, but we can say that the device showed no signs of slowing down after being used off and on for three and a half weeks.
Almost everything we’ve described thus far—the thin and wireless build, the flat yet clickable keys, the water-resistant fabric, the built-in shortcuts—exists to make the Keys-To-Go supremely portable. All these features serve their purpose well, and they all allow the device to bypass many of the annoyances typically involved with Bluetooth keyboards.
The problem is that “being supremely portable” shouldn’t be the primary goal of a keyboard in the first place. At least, it shouldn’t be to the extent that it is here. The softened keys have their benefits, but they come at the expense of truly comfortable travel and feedback. The fact that Logitech’s managed to give them some amount of give makes everything manageable, but they’re still an abridged version of the real thing. There’s a sense of uneasiness that comes with using the Keys-To-Go as a result, and it makes typing feel less like second nature. Too often we had to look down at our hands while typing in a way that’d be instinctual anywhere else.
The point of a keyboard is still to be something that easily facilitates typing—if you sacrifice too much in that direction to improve secondary concerns, those improvements are going to feel moot. In other words, using a keyboard this thin is great until you realize how little room it leaves to press things. The shallowness of the Keys-To-Go means that you have to hit everything with some solidity; hit the edges of certain keys in an attempt to type quickly and you’re likely to end up with a few missing letters. It’s something you can get used to over time, but applying a learning curve to something as basic as a keyboard feels like a step backwards, regardless of how nice that FabricSkin may feel.
These issues would be more digestible if the Keys-To-Go was any cheaper, but with a current retail price of $70, it’s a much harder sell. There are alternatives with far superior action that cost anywhere from $10 to $40 less, and while many of those come attached to a case, we don’t think that lack of flexibility is more annoying that the lessened typing experience here. It’s not like the majority of them are outright thick either.
The Keys-To-Go is a worthwhile choice for people who don’t necessarily use their mobile device to get work done, but still want something more responsive than a virtual keyboard when browsing the web or typing out the occasional email. It’s low-maintenance and convenient in many ways, and ultimately, whether or not you’ll like it will depend on what you want out of device like this. For us, it sacrifices too much typing comfort to get to those conveniences, and it costs too much to have that sort of problem. It’s a higher class of Touch Cover, but that’s only worth so much.