BERLIN – Unless you've got the fastest thumbs in the West, chances are good that you type faster with a keyboard than with your smartphone's screen. Rather than squint and strain over tiny screens, users can now try Logitech's K480 keyboard, which can switch between a smartphone, laptop or tablet at-will.
Logitech showed off the Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 at IFA 2014, where I had a chance to go hands-on with it. Although this tenkeyless, membrane chiclet keyboard is rather plain, it still stands head-and-shoulders above grappling with most haptic keypads on smartphones or tablets.
Setting up and using the K480 is about as easy as Bluetooth devices get. The keyboard can pair with three devices at any given time: for example, a Windows PC, an iOS smartphone and an Android tablet. Once users sync a device for the first time, it stays paired until they replace it with something else.
A dial in the upper-right corner of the keyboard controls which device a user is typing on, and a shallow groove above the function keys can keep a smartphone or tablet balanced upright. This way, users can view three screens at the same time, and switch between them seamlessly.
Within seconds, we were able to change between typing out a Word document on a laptop and answering a text on an iPhone. Although we did not try to add a third device into the mix, it did not seem as though it would present a problem.
The K480 costs $50, and is available for purchase now. From what I experienced, I can't promise that it will be the best keyboard you've ever used, but if you're addicted to multiple screens, it might just be one of the most convenient.