Review Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

Christoph Freytag (translated by Sara Jaceniuk), 05/18/2011

Environmentally friendly typing. Green IT is currently all the rage. Can the Logitech's Wireless Keyboard Solar K750 contribute to this? We've tested that out and taken a closer look at the wireless solar-powered keyboard.

We've taken a close look at the Wireless Solar Keyboard K570, the first and only solar-powered keyboard from the Swiss peripheries manufacture Logitech. A special feature of the input device is that it has two solar cells, which can charge a small battery and also supply enough energy for  indoor lighting conditions.  The device is the second keyboard with the so-called "incurvé keys"; the Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800 also has such keys. In short, Incurvé,means that each of the keys are curved inwardly in the area where the characters are printed.

The keyboard comes in a flat cardboard box. After removing it from the labeled packaging, we took out a second, non-labeled cardboard packaging. This contains the keyboard itself as well as the spartan accessories. The additional utensils include a so-called Logitech unifying receiver, a wireless extender (USB extension adapter) and a cleaning cloth. A software CD isn't included. At second glance we discovered a download link on the inside of the inner packaging where additional software and an instruction manual in PDF can be downloaded.

Drivers are otherwise unnecessary.  After connecting the Unifying-receiver, a small USB-radio receiver with 2.4 GHz-technology, the keyboard is found immediately once turned on, and is ready for operation in just a few seconds.  But the downside is that the device is officially only designed for Windows XP, Vista and 7.  That means that Mac OS X users remain on the sidelines.

 

In terms of design, Logitech focused on achieving a flat construction.  The keyboard therefore measures a mere 8 mm thick, and that goes also for the entire case, which doesn't have any sort of wedge shape.

The upper side has been kept in a glossy black piano-plastic finish while the underside is made of a matte white plastic.  Together with the solar cells, the glossy black plastic looks classy.  But it has its drawbacks when put to use as it seems to magically attract fingerprints and dust. Subtle scratches also appear quite quickly.  The cleaning cloth will hardly get a break.  Logitech would have been better served by using a hard-wearing matte material. 

But there's no complaining about the way it types.  The keyboard's case is quite stable and can only be twisted with both hands.  It gives good feedback when writing.  The key stroke is short and crisp like on a taught-sitting notebook keyboard.  There aren't any rattles when typing, the keys sit securely and are well cushioned.

The only potential weak point may become apparent after some time in terms of the two delicate feet supports on the underside.  These are so thin that handling it roughly could cause them to break along their equally thin hinges.

The layout of the keys is fitting of a full-fledged keyboard.  Special keys, however, are nowhere to be found.  But like on laptops, one can control special functions with F1 to F12-keys via the FN key, such as for instance playback- and volume controls.

Otherwise there is an on/off switch and a test-switch on the upper right side.  The on/off button connects the keyboard with the radio receiver.  When the button is pressed, two simple LEDs signal whether there is enough light available for operation (green), or if there isn't (red).  The swappable ML2032 Lithium Mangan button-cell battery delivers power in the absence of ambient light.

When in use, the battery always showed a high level of charge between 98 and 100%. When it got too dark, the ambient light through the test button first show its exclusive desktop illumination with a standard lamp was shown in the background. In daylight, the indicator of the Solar app was always in the upper green area. According to Logitech, when fully charged, it should last up to two months. 

According to Logitech's website, a defective battery can only be replaced in their own replacement part shop. But no such battery was listed at the time of testing.  If needed, the user can swap the battery themselves via a small flap.

In terms of software, the Logitech website offers a Solar app and the SetPoint 6.20 program. The Solar app proved to be practical.  It shows the battery's state of charge as well as the available illumination strength in Lux.  With SetPoint one can configure the special key functions as well as new devices for the Unifying-receiver.  This can control multiple devices such as for instance a wireless Logitech mouse.

When using SetPoint we were bothered by the way the mouse-pointer speed would be reset to system standards when shutting down the software completely or when canceling a configuration.

Verdict

The Logitech Solar Wireless Keyboard K750 proves itself to be a resource-saving premium alternative in the army of wireless keyboards. Contrary to the norm, the Logitech doesn't require the use of two or more AAA-chargeable batteries or batteries, but rather makes do with only one button-cell battery thanks to solar energy.  The solid construction and the good typing feel leave no room for critique and perform at a high level.

In terms of critique we would name the piano-paint surfaces. This is also a matter of taste, but one can't deny that the visible fingerprints and the higher susceptibility to scratches are a disadvantage. The range of accessories was a bit slim in our opinion.  We would have hoped at least for a software CD considering the notably high price.

All in all, the positive qualities outweigh the negatives and the keyboard fulfills the high demands which accompany its function as a solid input device.  Its elegant appearance takes it one step further.  Those looking to save a bit of dough can get a wireless keyboard for half the price  of the K750 with the smaller Logitech Wireless Keyboard K340 model. But of course this model is missing the forward-thinking solar technology.

In Review: Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750
In Review: Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

Shortcut

What we like

The elegant design in the piano-paint look, the good, taught construction , the pleasant typing feel and the informative Solar app.

We we'd like to see

A software CD, which contains both the Solar app and SetPoint in a single package.

What surprises us

The minimal thickness of the case at only 0.8 cm, the energy supply by way of only solar energy and a tiny button-cell battery.

The competition

If one takes the solar power out of the picture, a competitor product would be for instance the Apple Wireless Keyboard, which is on the same level as our tester in terms of price and quality.  Otherwise, if one accounts for the solar energy supply, the Logitech Wireless Keyboard K750 doesn't currently have any competition to speak of.

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Author: Christoph Freytag, 2011-05-18 (Update: 2013-06- 6)