Over the past two years I have been using both the Logitech K400 Plus and K830 keyboards.
Personally I believe that both keyboards have good feature sets and designs when looking past flaws.
The main differences between the two similar keyboards being the K830 offers backlit keys, bluetooth, and a rechargeable battery. On the other hand the K400 Plus uses AA batteries, uses less power, and as a result it can last for well over a year without replacing the batteries.
For anyone that doesn’t need bluetooth or a backlight, the K400 Plus is honestly a better option, seeing as it doesn’t need to be recharged every few weeks. The K400 Plus is a very good value for a name brand home theater keyboard, whereas the K830 costs a premium for its extra features.
As for the keyboards themselves, the K400 Plus is made of typical Logitech keyboard plastic similar to what you will find on most entry level keyboards, while the K830 is finished with a more premium, smoother black plastic. The keys on both keyboards are sturdy and stable, and are flattened to maintain a low profile. Typing experiences on both models are fairly quiet, the keys produce more of a silenced thump as opposed to the louder rattling of basic keyboards. The keys also feel as if they require slightly more force than an average keyboard as well. While I consider these keyboards better than the stock keyboard included with most computers, I still wouldn’t compare them to anything higher end like a mechanical keyboard.
So its fair to say these keyboards work well for their intended purpose: serving as an input for home theater PCs and smart TVs. While these keyboards can be used at a desk if needed, they work well for searching your media library or controlling video playback with key shortcuts.
Now on to the other half of the K400 Plus and K830: The trackpad.
While I can say that the typing experience on these keyboards is good, the trackpad on both is the opposite. I use my laptop’s built in trackpad or the trackpad on any laptop for that matter and never have any issues, however the trackpad on these both of keyboards has been nothing more than a source of complete frustration. The pointer will almost always fail to track movement, often skipping between points on the screen at random. Sometimes it will refuse to recognize mouse movement entirely. It often leads me to give up on it and switch back to using a normal mouse. This is a fault I might be able to understand given the K400 Plus is only $25 on Amazon, but the K830 has the same issue while having a retail price of as much as $70. Upon further research I’ve found that this issue isn’t exclusive to Logitech keyboards and can be found on almost any wireless keyboard with built in trackpad.
Unfortunately the only alternative would be to use a separate trackpad. However, high quality wireless trackpads are less affordable than just using a regular wireless mouse. The Brydge W-Touch wireless touchpad is currently the only wireless touchpad that supports Windows Precision drivers but it currently sells for $99 on Amazon. The Dell TP713 is another high-quality yet older tried and true wireless trackpad which has been discontinued for some time. It is only available through third party sellers at inflated prices due to demand. Both of these options out price just using a standard wireless mouse. The trackpad on the K400 Plus is such a failure that anyone is better off just getting the Logitech MK235 mouse and keyboard combo, and saving $5 at the same time.
Now on to another flaw of the K400 Plus and K830: The function keys.
Logitech thought it would be useful to include extra functions along the topmost row of keys. These include navigation keys for Android (home, app switch, menu, and back), and search key, a show desktop key, media control keys, and a key for PC power off/sleep mode. However on the K400 Plus and K830, these functions replace the standard function keys by default. Which also means by default the function switch key to the right of control, needs to be held for every press of keys F1 through F12. The Logitech Options software is needed to reverse this, so that pressing the F keys work normally on a PC as it does out of the box with every other keyboard.
Specifically regarding the function keys on the K830, the keys for F1 through F12, sleep key, bluetooth pairing key, as well as the keys for home, end, page up, and page down, on the arrow keys are not backlit and are inscribed using a dark color which is more difficult to recognize.
Another issue specific to the K830 is the brightness level.
The K830 always defaults to the lowest of two brightness settings. The backlight can be set to low, high, or off using the F1 key, however when toggling brightness to the higher level, the keyboard will automatically revert back to the lower brightness. This is due to an ambient light sensor located above the trackpad. The issue can be resolved by placing a small piece of black electrical tape above the mute button, but this is still considered a design flaw.
Now for Logitech’s Unifying Receiver. The USB dongle included with both keyboards uses Logitech’s Unifying connection standard. One USB connector can support any other keyboard or mouse that also supports the Unifying connection. A single connector can store pairings for up to six mice or keyboards. This is useful as one usb port can be used for connecting both a keyboard and mouse. The connector also stores these pairings when moved to other PCs or smart TVs. Pairings can be added or removed through the Logitech Options software. However, each receiver is already paired to its keyboard out of the box.
The most important thing for anyone potentially buying a Logitech keyboard for use with a smart TV is that the Unifying USB receiver does not work with Android TVs. The USB receiver works with LG and Samsung smart TVs but will not work with brands that have Android TV built in like Sony. If you are considering a keyboard for use with a Sony TV, do not buy the K400 Plus, however the K830 will work through a bluetooth connection.
As for the performance of the USB receiver itself, Logitech claims a wireless range of 33 feet or 10 meters. I find that the distance isn’t an issue, but if the keyboard and receiver don’t have a clear, unobstructed line of sight to each other, the keyboard and trackpad may not communicate, even at a very close range. Using a USB extension cable to place the receiver in an elevated or otherwise visible location helps ensure a good connection, as opposed to placing the dongle in the back of a TV or PC.
Finally on to Logitech’s Options software.
Logitech offers configuration software for Windows and Mac only. The Options software allows for pairing and unpairing of devices from Unifying USB receivers, the ability to change actions on function keys, as well as an indicator for low battery. There is a downloader bundled with the automatic driver download in Windows Update when a USB receiver is connected for the first time. This prompts to install Logitech Options software without opening the website, which is both intrusive and convenient. The same Options software is used for the most basic of configurable keyboards and mice all the way up to the Logitech MX series.
The good thing about this software is that it allows you to set the function keys to the way they should normally work on a PC. It also allows you to reconfigure keys like the Android controls to have actions that are actually useful on a PC. Finally, it is the only way to have a low battery warning on the K400 Plus as unlike the K830 it doesn’t have a power LED. Beyond the driver showing an install prompt whether you want to download Logitech Options or not, the only other annoyance about this software is how it updates. When this software is running in the background I sometimes get notifications as often as every week to update to the latest version. Whenever I open the Options software to simply change a key setting, I’m also prompted to install a new update. If I choose to allow the software to update I then have to wait for it to finish before I can change my settings. Ironically Logitech’s own G Hub software for their gaming line always updates seamlessly, automatically, without interrupting anything. Logitech needs to move that functionality to the rest of their products.
I recommend that anyone looking to buy either of the keyboards instead get a Logitech MK235 combo and save both money and the frustration of trying to use the trackpad. If you absolutely must have a K830 for its bluetooth or backlight, be ready to ignore the trackpad and use a mouse instead.
– Good Typing Experience
– Good Battery Life
– Good Brand
– Configurable Keys
– Horrible, Useless Trackpad
– Function keys are swapped with shortcut keys by default
– K830 Function keys are not backlit
– K400 Plus doesn’t work with Android TVs
– Software notifies for updates instead of updating automatically