Provides: Bluetooth keyboard connectivity for iPad, iPhone and Macintosh
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS X v10.6.8 and Internet connection for software download for Mac connectivity, iPad or iPhone with iOS 4.0 for iDevice connectivity
It’s going to be a while before I need another Bluetooth keyboard. My iPad, iMac, and (now) Apple TV can now sync up with the same Logitech Easy-Switch Bluetooth Keyboard, and switching between them is as simple as hitting a button. It’s so convenient that I almost wish I had a holster or (not really) fanny pack to carry it around the house.
Bluetooth keyboards are quite common, of course, but you have to disconnect the Bluetooth and re-pair them in order to swap between devices. It’s not a huge hassle, but it’s enough that when I’d move from writing on my iPad to finding something to watch on Apple TV, I wouldn’t bother with the keyboard (never mind the fact that my iPad keyboard is a keyboard case, which I restrict to iPad use due to the bulky design and scrunched keys).
Along with numerous other features (which I’ll get to in a minute), the Logitech Easy-Switch Bluetooth Keyboard has three separate pairing buttons in the function row: F1, F2 and F3. Hit the button to which you want to assign a particular device, complete the pair, and the keyboard will remember it. So, using my sample in the previous paragraph, let’s say I’m writing a review on the iPad (which I don’t do, because WordPress is horrible on the iPad), then decide it’s time to watch some Mr. Bean cartoon episodes (which I often do, because my children demand it). I can simply tap the Bluetooth button to which I’ve assigned the Apple TV, and the keyboard makes the switch. Simple as that.
Regarding this, Apple only just recently added Bluetooth connectivity to Apple TV OS, and it was sorely needed. If you use Apple TV with any degree of frequency and are still using the remove for navigation, stop immediately and get yourself a Bluetooth keyboard.
Of course, connection swapping wouldn’t mean much if it weren’t a quality keyboard, but that’s not an issue with Logitech. The construction is solid, although a bit lighter than you’d think, which makes it feel a little less…substantial, I guess, than Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard. The aluminum and black design, however, perfectly complements the current iPad and iMac designs.
Because the Logitech Easy-Switch Bluetooth Keyboard isn’t shrunk down to accommodate the iPad’s size, it makes sense to use as your Mac keyboard…although the Logitech PefectStroke keys themselves are a bit “squishy.” I prefer the more responsive feedback of my Apple wired keyboard, and I also like the number pad and full-sized arrow keys. If you’re used to a compact keyboard, however, this shouldn’t be a problem.
iPad use is also a bit of mixed bag. The backlit keys are very handy, especially with proximity detection that automatically tuns the backlighting on when your hands get close…excellent for saving the USB-rechargable battery that will provided between 10 days of a use to a year of standby power. However, it’s missing some of the functionality of other iPad compatible Bluetooth keyboards, such as one touch copy/paste and search access. In fact, all that really remains is a home button and the ability to switch between the Logitech keyboard and the iPad’s virtual keyboard, using what is otherwise the eject button when connected to an OS X device.
These sacrifices are worth it, however, if you swap devices frequently. I wouldn’t recommend it for straight desktop use, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re only using a keyboard for single iPad functionality. But that’s not my setup, and I imagine it may not be yours, either. The Logitech Easy-Switch Bluetooth Keyboard is now my go-to keyboard for iPad and Apple TV use. And when the Wi-Fi at the Nintendo press conference at E3 is horribly unreliable again this June, I’ll likely connect it to my iPhone 5 for LTE live blogging goodness.
Right now, though, it’s time for more Mr. Bean. Now that I can spend more time watching and less time typing, there may even be some time left for forgotten ’80s music videos. Did you guys know Night Ranger had hits other than “Sister Christian?” It’s true.