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Tech Savvy: Keyboard offers versatility

The Logitech multi-device keyboard is portable, sturdy and inexpensive, providing the opportunity to multitask between devices and use a regular keyboard versus a touchscreen where typing can mean being all thumbs. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch1 / 3
The Logitech K480 wireless multi-device keyboard easily switches between three devices whether PC or Apple. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 3
A rubberized tray or groove in Logitech's K480 keyboard securely holds a tablet or smartphone. The longer K780 with the number keypad has room for both at the same time. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch3 / 3

Sometimes the most welcome daily additions come not in the grand tech upgrades, but in the small everyday utility items.

Not that an Apple Watch, a new iPhone or a big screen smart TV aren't upgrades that are used daily and provide enjoyment. But a recent purchase of a Logitech wireless keyboard is one of those moments where the tech came with a minimal price tag. About $25 on sale at Best Buy in fact.

So why is a small keyboard—admittedly not an ergonomic one, or a silent one or one you can roll up into a tube—so enticing? It's everyday versatility.

The keyboard—or keyboards as there are two versions, one with a number pad (the K780) and a shorter version (the K480) without—have a grove at the top deep enough to fit and securely hold a smartphone or tablet. Each keyboard allows the user to switch between three devices. The longer keyboards boast the ability to hold both a phone and tablet at once, which is also an added convenience but a bit more money. A dial wheel or push button, depending on the keyboard of choice, then allows the user to easily jump from serving as the full-size keyboard for the smartphone or the tablet or a laptop. So I can go from writing on an iPad and then respond to an incoming email or text on the phone with just a switch of the dial. The keyboard links seamlessly to the new device and back again.

Pairing the devices via Bluetooth was a breeze.

What works particularly well for those of us with feet in both worlds—meaning both Apple and PCs—is that it also switches between both smoothly. When linked, each device gets its own number so it's a simple turn of the wheel or press of a function key on the longer keyboard to move between them. For those who like to multitask or need to in order to handle workloads and life, the keyboard makes it easy to link to the Dell work laptop, my iPhone and my iPad and move between them with ease.

So for those who are working with multiple devices at the same time, or who want the ability to quickly move between laptop and smartphone without being all thumbs on the digital keyboard, this Logitech keyboard has been a worthwhile addition.

I've had wireless keyboards for Apple products before and found it extremely useful. It allowed me to go to meetings and take notes on my iPhone without hauling anything more than the keyboard. But the Logitech keyboard means I can accomplish things at home using my work laptop and still quickly respond to messages on my phone or add to a document on Pages on the iPad—all from the same keyboard. When working with the tablet or phone, it also means faster and more accurate typing than relying on thumbs and a touchscreen keyboard. It's fast and efficient, which every multitasker can appreciate. For those working on multiple screens or multiple platforms, this keyboard is a worthy addition to the office accessories.

One of the comments from other users centered on the keyboard's weight, noting it might not be the one they'd choose to haul around. I get that. It is solid. It non-slip surface keeps it in place on the desk or table, while it's sturdy design and heavier construction allows it to stay in place while a tablet is perched in the keyboard stand. But the smaller K480 was still easy to slip into a messenger bag and go. The K780 full keyboard with the number pad, weighing nearly 2 pounds, may be more of a concern in that department.

The keys are concave and comfortable, and as a review from Digital Trends noted, the keys may aesthetically harken to a typewriter appearance versus the chiclet-style keys.

Digital Trends found the keyboard well-built, simple to setup and use and comfortable to type on and listed the K780 as the most complete solution for a multi-device keyboard.

"Switching from device to device is simple, and the groove across the top can accommodate most mobile computing gadgets," Digital Trends stated.

PC World noted the K780 promises to be the one keyboard to rule all your computing gizmos.

It's not a new piece of tech as the keyboard has been on the market for awhile. But it may be worth a fresh look. A recent price check had the K480 at less than $30 and the K780 running about $60.

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