In April 2014, the Swiss device maker Logitech, introduced the Logitech K830, a backlit HTPC keyboard with touchpad. This backlit wireless keyboard is designed to enhance your connected-TV experience. It allows your to wirelessly control your computer when it is connected to the TV, and a great companion for your HTPC. The brightness of the backlit keys automatically adjusts based on the amount of light in the room, allowing you to easily type in the dark. Plus, the built-in touchpad gives you precise cursor control from up to 33 ft (10 m) away. Simple and sleek design combined with the media-center focused design, wireless connectivity, and rechargeability make the K830 a great backlit HTPC keyboard.
Key Features of K830 Backlit HTPC Keyboard
- Backlit keys: Keys automatically dim or brighten based on the amount of light in the room, so you can type easily in any lighting. If no typing is detected after five seconds, the backlight turns off to help you save power.
- Keyboard and mouse all in one: By combining a traditional keyboard and a touchpad into one device, you get streamlined navigation for your connected TV. The touchpad is smooth and responsive with accurate cursor control and enhanced gesture functions for easy navigation.
- Navigate from a distance: Lean back and browse with a fast, reliable wireless connection from up to 33 feet (10 m) away. The tiny plug-and-play Unifying receiver allows you to start typing immediately, without installing software or pairing the devices.
- Rechargeable: The micro-USB cable makes recharging easy. You can even use your keyboard while it is recharging. A full charge gives you up to 10 days of power. The On/Off switch and battery indicator light also help you manage the power.
- Living room design: The keyboard is designed to complement the modern living room with a combination of premium textures, metal-like finish and a specific key design crafted into a compact, solid form.
At this point of time, these features present a strong case for Logitech K830 to be the best wireless keyboard for HTPC.
Media Center Operation
I tested the K30 illuminated keyboard on Windows PC with XBMC, Ubuntu HTPC with XBMC, and OpenELEC Raspberry Pi. It was a sweet surprise to find that it worked out-of-box with all three of them. No configuration adjustment was needed to operate XBMC on my OpenELEC Raspberry Pi setup. Almost all of the XBMC keyboard shortcuts worked immediately after plugging in the tiny receiver into one of the USB ports. With the configuration software you can further customize the functions to make it an even better backlit HTPC keyboard. On windows, even the PC Power keys (Waking/Sleeping) worked wirelessly. Other minor things I liked were how soft (yet not noisy) the keys were to touch and type (felt premium) and the location of the touch pad, which allowed me to use it with my right thumb just like a Smartphone.
Price and Comparison
The Logitech K830 Living-Room Keyboard retails at $99.99. Considering what this nice little backlit HTPC keyboard offers, I think it is a decent price point for media center enthusiasts. If you can do without the backlighting, media keys, and rechargeability, then take look at Logitech K820 that sells for about $80 or even the Logitech K400 which costs just about $30.
Conclusion: 4.5 Stars
If you are running a full-fledged (Linux or Windows) HTPC or distros like Raspian on Raspberry Pi then this wireless lighted keyboard is a must have. On the other hand if you are running HTPC distro such as XBMCbuntu or OpenELEC then the K830 becomes a nice-to-have accessory. On such a system, you would normally use SSH for administration. I rarely type or use the mouse directly on the system and prefer to use my simple inexpensive IR remote control to navigate through XBMC. Although the keyboard operates on the 2.4 Ghz wireless band, I did not observe any interference from existing wireless networks or microwave operation.
The reasons I gave it 4.5 stars are the $99.99 price and that I could probably get-by with a cheaper keyboard on a HTPC (although without backlighting, rechargeability, and media keys). This being Logitech’s first backlit HTPC keyboard, or as they call it Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard, I think they have done a great job hitting a sweet spot between usability, features, and price.