Introduction

Content consumption using media-streaming set-top boxes (STBs) and home theater PCs (HTPCs) has seen an uptick in recent years. Even as 'cord-cutting' becomes more and more popular, STBs from service providers are also becoming quite interactive. Remote controllers are bundled with all OTT (over-the-top) boxes and Android media streamers, and Media Center remotes are common for HTPCs. However, these limited-function remotes become cumbersome to use as media consumption becomes more interactive (for example, consumers explicitly searching for a movie to play on Netflix).

In our 'Interacting with HTPCs' series, we have been presenting results from our evaluation of devices fulfilling a majority of the criteria below:

  • Wireless operation and optimal sizing (neither the mini- varieties which make typing with large fingers difficult, nor the full-sized combos which come with separate keyboard and mouse units)
  • Integrated touchpad or trackball
  • Good ergonomics and keyboard layout amenable to single-handed operation (common in HTPC scenarios)
  • Adaptability to occasional prolonged typing / computer interaction tasks
  • Acceptable build quality

Availability of a sleep mode for prolonged battery life, 5 GHz communication frequency (instead of 2.4 GHz), integrated rechargeable batteries and support for fancy gestures (in the case of touchpad keyboards) are some of the nice-to-have features. Obviously, given a particular device, some or all of these features have to be traded off for an acceptable price point.

The Logitech K400 is a gold-standard in the HTPC keyboard arena. Its popularity stems from a combination of its feature set and pricing. We looked at it in detail in our first review in the 'Interacting with HTPCs' series. Unfortunately, despite its popularity, the keyboard does have a few drawbacks with respect to ergonomics and key placement. It is challenging to use for extended typing duties. With a better budget, would it be possible to improve the HTPC interaction experience? On the other hand, are there any acceptable alternatives at a lower price point?

In today's piece, we will be looking at four different options with MSRPs ranging from $15 to $100.

  1. Logitech K830 Illuminated Living-Room HTPC Keyboard (MSRP of $99.99)
  2. Logitech TK820 Wireless All-in-One Keyboard (MSRP of $99.99)
  3. Perixx PERIBOARD-716 Wireless Touchpad Keyboard (MSRP of $25)
  4. Perixx PERIBOARD-706 PLUS Wireless Trackball Keyboard (MSRP of $15)

We will first take a look at the features offered by each of these keyboards in detail along with some usage impressions. This will be followed by the comparison of the pros and cons of each of these units on a single page. Note that most of the aspects presented in keyboard reviews are subjective and dependent on the test environment. For example, even the wireless range may vary from one test location to another because the 2.4 GHz channel being used might exhibit interference issues under certain conditions. This could result in improper functioning and range issues. All the four keyboards being considered today are RF-based and operate in the 2.4 GHz band with an advertised range of 30 ft (under ideal conditions). We will not be covering the range factor any further in this review.

Logitech K830 and TK820
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  • MxxCon - Monday, May 18, 2015 - link

    I wonder how these keyboards compare to Lenovo N5902 Reply
  • MHz Tweaker - Monday, May 25, 2015 - link

    I have had the luxury of owning the 400r, 820 and 830.

    I purchased the 400r for my home theater but found it difficult to see in dim lighting so I moved it to a seldom used rack PC that I did not want cluttered with a large wired keyboard.

    I purchased the TK820 to use on my home theater PC. I like the size of its touchpad and overall weight and quality build. I return it within 48hours. I absolutely hated this keyboard. The deal breaker is the unified touchpad with integrated left and right buttons. These designs are dismal for those who do any type of click-and-drag movement of items on a desktop. Pushing the corner of the touchpad often causes the cursor to go off in some type of geriatric palsy twerk causing movement of items and other missed targets with the pointer. OMG I hated this keyboard within 5 minutes. Give me separate distinct left and right trackpad buttons to click and hold and do not affect the mouse pointer when pressed. I despise laptops using this design as well.

    I purchased the K830 for the home theater and LOVE this keyboard. It is backlit, not too large, has good weigh and build quality, and has separate trackpad buttons!!!! I've had it for a few months and it has never gone dead. I recharged it after 3 months just in case. I say home theater loosely as I actually have a 2 channel tri-amped setup with Martin Logan Prodigy electrostats and a custom JBL 2242H Sub. The K830 controls the i5 based PC perfectly as I play FLAC and SACD 24/192 digital files through the Xonar Essence STX sound card DAC. This keyboard works well dragging files from a 2012R2 Xeon server to Foobar2000 playlists or running XBMC/Kodi Media player. I love the volume control buttons above the trackpad. Well done.
    Reply
  • flimbs - Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - link

    The K830 doesn't support four finger multi-touch, only two finger. Seems pretty ridiculous for Logitech's flagship keyboard when the older TK820 model did support it. It may be short sided to get it if your using it for windows use as Microsoft keeps hinting at more OSX clone gestures for Windows 10. That being said I'm also not a fan of the keyboard portion of the TK820.

    What's wrong with three finger drag? Everyone seems to hate it and praise the two buttons on the K830.. I think it's fair to say anyone not using tap to click is a ham-fisted simpleton.
    Reply
  • berryjuice - Monday, July 20, 2015 - link

    I just bought a new Logitech K830 and I noticed that there are 2 models: the old 920-006081 and newer 920-007182. The newer version support a different set of keys like the Back, Home, and Running apps keys of Android. It's also worth pointing out that the newer version supports Bluetooth. Reply
  • berryjuice - Monday, July 20, 2015 - link

    The Back, Home, and Running Apps keys also work with Windows. They act as Back (like Alt+left arrow key), Home, and Running Programs (like pressing Alt+Tab). Technically, the newer K830 model can be used with a PC and Android (through Bluetooth or OTG cable + receiver). I haven't tested it with an iOS device. Reply
  • tourofrooms - Saturday, July 25, 2015 - link

    There must be a huge mark-up because when some major retailers have a sale, ie: BestBuy the K830 sells for under $59. The K820's full retail price at my local BestBuy is $99, which is the same as the regular price of the K830. I think if review sites were to make an effective review that exploits all of the negative aspets of a a product, with the intent to that destroys the products credibility, pointing out just what a piece of crap it is, the ultimate reaction of alot of readers would be to avoid those models, and maybe even that brand, at all costs. What some of the higher premium of Logitech products DOES buy , based on my long term experience as a user, is excellent customer service when any of their products fail. They send out replacements without any resistence or contention. Of course I need to verify proof of purchase, but that's expected. They even allowed me to change/upgrade to a different mouse when my anywhere MX failed for the 3rd time from a mushy unresponsive button. I'm more apt to make compromises when I buy a product when I get good service after the sale but the keyboard is something that I will require quality to be good. Backlighting shoulg be automatic on any keyboard over $50 US Dollars, wired or wireless. What gets me sometimes is that one a feature on a previous model is well received, or highly regarded, why does the successor have to be DOWN-graded? I am referring to the way the k830's layout is so cramped and typing a letter or email is worst than the K820 due to the unappealing feel. Alot of keyboard with the same features can be bought for alot less than some of Logitech's offerings. I'm not hapy about the fact that Logitech has built many keyboards, and for great feel and quiet typing, I like the K800, size and layout, I like the K820, for the appearance the k810 and lastly, the options and touchpad with notebook like button that resemble the Lenovo thinkpads I like the K830. But Logitech doesn't know how to unify those more preferred elite features into 1 single keyboard.Instead, they give you only 1 or 2 things to satisfy and entice and I've had to endure those compromises that would otherwise make the keyboard I am using truly a great option. All keyboards, in order to qualify as top of the line offerings, should be backlit, with excellent key travel that is balanced, tried, and true, long battery life, flexiblility that allows a bluetooth or proprietary receiver. There is a way to achieve this but I still have not found many keyboards that meet ALL my requirements Reply

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