Logitech K580 Slim Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard Chrome OS Edition Review

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Sometimes all you need is a basic keyboard. Logitech’s K580 Slim Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard ($49.99) and companion mouse, the M355 Wireless Mouse for Chrome OS, were created to pair up with Google’s Pixelbook line of laptops (and have the “Made for Google” badge to prove it). The K580 is one of the few third-party keyboards optimized for Chromebooks, with the familiar top row of browser- and system-control keys, plus dedicated Google Assistant and search/menu buttons. It also has a built-in, trough-style stand for an Android smartphone and keys for switching its input between Chromebook and phone. In fact, given that its best assets are its portability and battery life, one might argue that it’s a better companion for a mobile device than for a Chromebook or Chromebox. I’d still rather have a mechanical keyboard at home, but think of it as a handy travel keyboard that happens to play well with Chrome OS.

Androids and Chromebooks First

The K580 is novel but unassuming. You might cock your head when you see the graphite and gray keyboard. Despite having a full number pad and 101 keys, it’s pretty small—0.75 inch thick, with a footprint of 14.6 by 5.7 inches. It fits in your lap and leaves plenty of room for a cup of coffee at a small cafe table. Though it packs a lot into a small space, it never feels cramped to type on. The square, chiclet-style keys give you plenty of surface area to find the right character without facilitating mistakes.

Logitech K580 Slim Wireless Keyboard Angle Left

The first thing that caught my eye was the large, light-gray top bar above the keys. There’s a wide trench in the left side of it, which is the phone stand I mentioned. The stand fits even large phones like the Pixel 3a XL. Using the stand can feel a bit clumsy depending on your setup: If you sit with the keyboard at arm’s length, the trough may cut off the bottom edge of the screen despite putting it at an angle. If you aren’t using a mouse, reaching forward to touch the screen feels awkward. When you do use both the keyboard and a mouse and find a good viewing angle, everything comes together, and you’ll note a relatively comfortable typing experience from the low-travel, scissor-switch keys.

Logitech K580 Slim Wireless Keyboard Phone Holster

Assuming you’re a Chromebook user, you’ll find the top row has—instead of Windows’ usual F1 through F12—icons for Chromebook functions such as switching among windows, browser shortcuts such as back and refresh, screen brightness up/down, and volume up, down, and mute. The Windows or Apple key has been replaced by a Google Assistant button and the Caps Lock key by the Chrome OS search and app menu. It’s worth noting that these buttons don’t revert to their original uses if you pair to a Windows or Mac device, though the menu key will pull up the Windows Start menu.

Logitech K580 Slim Wireless Keyboard ChromeOS Keys

Near the right end of the top row are two device-pairing or channel-changing buttons, allowing you to use the keyboard with two devices simultaneously and switch between them on the fly—working on a report on your Chromebook, say, then answering a text on your phone. The K580 comes with Logitech’s Unifying Receiver USB dongle for wireless connections, but you can also pair one or both devices via Bluetooth without any noticeable lag.

Logitech K580 Slim Wireless Keyboard Keyboard and Phone

Beneath the phone stand, which slides off, you’ll find a small storage space for the dongle, along with space for two AAA batteries. I don’t love keyboards with one-use instead of rechargable batteries, but they keep the K580’s price low enough that I can reasonably recommend it as a secondary travel keyboard. The good news is that you won’t have to replace the batteries often; Logitech claims an auto-sleep feature that kicks in when you’re not typing stretches battery life to two years.

A Born Backup

Despite having Chrome OS- and Android-specific features, I wouldn’t call the Logitech K580 an essential tool for any but hardcore Chromebook users. Having buttons that naturally match operating system functions is nice, but navigating those functions has never been a huge concern.

Nevertheless, the K580 finds a niche as a solid all-around travel keyboard if you want to do some serious writing on a phone, or if you prefer using a discrete keyboard with your laptop. It’s light, compact, and mobile-friendly, as well as cheap enough to recommend as a complementary tool for travelers and people who like to work anywhere but at their desks.

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