It's been two years since Logitech first debuted its Illuminated Keyboard, a corded input device that added an illuminated backlit feature to an otherwise classic PC keyboard. We gave it high marks for its practicality and affordability, but the core design just got an overhaul with the Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800. This new model gets rid of the cord and incorporates not only adjustable brightness but also notable Logitech-exclusive features like the PerfectStroke key system and a USB charger for up to 6 hours of battery life at $99. With all these additions for just $20 more than the original version, it's easy for us to recommend the Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800 to anyone shopping for an aftermarket keyboard to use in darker work environments.
The main difference with the updated K800 is the keys themselves. The layout is still full-size, but the individual keys aren't as flat or clicky as the original. Instead, they feel a lot like the keys on Logitech's DiNovo Keyboard Mac Edition, with a longer depression distance and a rounder shape to accommodate the PerfectStroke key design that allows for 3.2 millimeters of space between each key in addition to uniform tactile feedback across the entire flat key surface. The result makes each keystroke feel the same across the entire bed of keys, and though some users may need a couple of days to get used to it, we discovered improved accuracy and faster typing speeds after less than a day of constant use. The new key layout is also significantly quieter than the last version while still maintaining a subdued click to help you type.
The top row of keys contains the standard set of F1 through F12 keys, but with additional laser-edged insignias that control secondary functions like routing to a homepage, a mailbox, search function, media control keys, and more. On the far right of the keyboard just above the number pad, you'll also find four buttons for mute, volume up, volume down, and a shortcut that brings up the calculator.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the K800 is the updated illumination feature that now can be turned on and off using the power switch on the top right of the board. Additionally, you can now dial in the amount of illumination using the secondary function key in conjunction with the F5 and F6 button. It brightens and dims in three increments: low, medium, and high visibility. Finally, the keyboard also includes a built-in sensor that automatically fades out the backlight and can detect your hands as they approach and turn it off as you move your hands away from the device. All of these features are incorporated to conserve precious battery life, as this is the first illuminated keyboard from Logitech to include rechargeable AA nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries.
You can also use standard AA alkaline batteries if you're in a pinch, but the Micro-USB cable and port on the top of the keyboard make it easy to recharge using a simple computer connection, and Logitech rates the battery life for up to 10 days on a single charge.
Like many of Logitech's peripherals, the K800 is part of the Unifying receiver family that lets you connect a single USB plug to six compatible mice and keyboard devices. Each one comes with its own Unifying receiver, meaning that you can conceivably leave them all plugged into several different computers at home and at work. Keep in mind that buying into the Unifying connection means locking yourself into Logitech products only, but we can't ding Logitech since the Unifying design also frees up USB ports previously occupied by other devices.
Our only critique of the K800 is the fragility of the keyboard's chassis. We've tested plenty of Logitech keyboards in the past that felt solid and unbreakable, but the K800 allows for a significant amount of flex, so much so that we're wary of its long-term durability. We assume that the wafer-thin profile has a lot to do with it, but the amount of bend allowed by the keyboard is suspect nonetheless.