Reviews

Logitech Pop Keys review: is it 👍 or 😭?

Logitech Pop Keys
Off key: the colours certainly Pop

Let me get this clear right from the kick-off: I am not the target audience for the Logitech Pop Keys. Logitech says this keyboard – with its row of swappable emoji keys – is aimed at Gen Z or 18-30 year olds. I am literally and actually old enough to be their father. That not only means I have a mini focus group to judge the styling, but I know a thing or two about keyboard design. Here, then, is my Logitech Pop Keys review.

Design

As you’ll note from the photos, this isn’t your common or garden keyboard. It comes in three striking designs, none of which are subtle. I have the black-and-yellow model in for review, which is ferociously loud for my liking, but won approving swoons from both my 11 and 17-year-old. (OK, not quite Gen Z, but close enough.)

Colour is, of course, a matter of personal taste, but there are some indisputable issues with the Logitech design. Under spotlights in my office, the letters on the keycaps are quite hard to read because they have a reflective quality. The lettering on the keycaps looks like little stickers, but Logitech assured us at a press conference that the lettering is actually printed and has gone through rigorous testing to ensure it won’t rub off. Likewise, the shiny Esc key in the top-left corner pings an annoying reflection from the lights into my eye when I look at the keyboard.

Aside from the shouty colour scheme, the most standout design feature of this keyboard is that row of emoji keys. There are five different emoji keys and four more swappable emoji keycaps provided in the box, as shown in the photo below. (Hands not author’s own.)

Popping off the keycaps is simple, but you have to manually assign the new emoji keys using Logitech’s free Logi Options software. Replacing 😂 with 👍 , for example, doesn’t automatically change the designation of the key, which would have been a cool feature (my Gen Z focus group agrees). Worse, even when you re-assign the key in the Logi Options software, the keycap image in the software doesn’t change, as you can see below.

Such a lack of attention to detail is irritating, if not terminal.

If you’re a heavy emoji user, the row of dedicated keys could be useful. However, the placement could be better. Positioned tight to the right of the Enter and Backspace keys, I often find myself whacking an emoji by mistake. Sad times. 😭

Typing action

The Pop Keys is a mechanical keyboard, which means it’s louder in use than the colour schemes! If you’re the kind of person who is irritated by a clicky-clacky keyboard, you’ll need to pop on decent noise-cancelling headphones while using this!

Below is a recording of me typing on the Pop Keys, so you can judge for yourself:

That said, many people swear by mechanical keyboards, not least because there’s no doubt you’ve pressed a key when you’ve typed it.

I have two grumbles with the typing action. The first is the round keycaps. They don’t grip the finger and occasionally I’ve even managed to wedge a finger in the gaps between the keys created by those round keycaps. I also fear that hard-to-remove dirt and dust is going to accumulate in those gaps over time.

The second grumble is the amount of travel on those keys. Each key press is a long way down, which I find slows my typing action. It might be something you get used to over time, but having used the keyboard on and off for a week, I’m nowhere near the typing speed I achieve on the Logitech MX Keys Mini, which has fast become my favourite keyboard for work.

All that said, if working at top speed was your priority, this wouldn’t be your first choice of keyboard.

Added extras

Other little things to note about the Logitech Pop Keys:

  • You can connect it to up to three devices, with dedicated keys to switch between them
  • It connects via Bluetooth, but Logitech provides a wireless USB dongle if your PC doesn’t have Bluetooth
  • It doesn’t have rechargeable batteries, which is disappointing for both the price and the environment, although Logitech claims the supplied batteries (2 x AAA) will last three years
  • It’s a sturdy unit with a rubber grip on the bottom that prevents it sliding across a desk, but there’s no height adjustment
  • There’s an accompany Pop Mouse, which I haven’t tested

Logitech Pop Keys review: verdict

The Logitech Pop Keys certainly makes a statement and if you’re an emoji addict (please don’t write in), those dedicated shortcut keys could be a winner.

However… the typing action isn’t great and at £89.99, it’s quite stiff for a secondary keyboard that you might whip out when the college work or day job is done.

Ultimately, it’s not for me, but I fear that even its target audience might grow weary of the muddy typing and the novelty of the emoji keys after a while in its company. 😔

Logitech Pop Keys
  • Design
  • Typing action
  • Value for money

Summary

A striking and unique keyboard that’s let down by a spongy typing action

Overall
3.2

Pros

  • Swappable emoji keys are fun
  • Design that wins Gen Z seal of approval

Cons

  • Hard to get up to full typing speed
  • Poor placement of emoji keys

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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