Scott Hanselman

Review: Logitech MX keyboard and mouse - MX Keys and MX Master 3

April 28, '20 Comments [18] Posted in Reviews
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Logitech makes some beautiful keyboards and mice. Frankly, for me there's just Logitech and Microsoft in the keyboard and mouse game. I've never been a big fan of mechanical keyboards. I like a soft touch and a clear soft key throw.

I've gone back and forth between Microsoft classic keyboards like the Ergo 4000, but for Mice, I've been Team Logitech for YEARS. The MX Master Vertical is a fantastic product. Rock solid, long battery life, great vertical ergonomics, and USB-C to recharge batteries that last over two months. Lovely.

NOTE: Logitech recently give me their latest MX Master series - Keys, Palm Rest, and the 3rd gen MX Master 3 Mouse to review. As is with all the rare times a company sends products for review, I donate the gifted products to a local charter school. If I truly like the product, I will - and do - purchase the products directly with my own money.

Logitech MX Master Mouse

These are premium devices and they have a weight to them that was surprising. I don't mean weight like heavy, more like substantial. The keyboard is about 2 lbs which means it doesn't feel cheap and it'll stay put, but it's not an unruly weight.

The MX Master 3 mouse is 10 ounces and pushes smoothly. I have long ago standardized on the Wow!Pad Graphite Gaming Pad as it's cheap and lasts forever and the MX glides nicely on it with minimal friction. The scroll wheel - they call it magspeed - uses electromagnets and can switch between the clicky ratchet tactile scroll and a disturbingly smooth frictionless scroll. It's a click to switch between them. I like Ratchet for code and Smooth for long form reading. There's a center scroll and clever configurable thumb-scroller.

The mouse is multi-OS and supports Bluetooth, natch, but also the long time Logitech Universal Receiver standard. If you already have a Logitech receiver, adding a new device is trivial.

Logitech MX Master Series

Logitech MX Keys

Let me gush about this keyboard for a second. It's got substance. I don't like a cheap plasticky feel and the MX Keys has a solidity to it, a concreteness that you kinda have to feel to appreciate. It's nearly 2 lbs and I like that. This isn't a cheap keyboard and it doesn't feel cheap. I also expect a keyboard that costs $100 to last for YEARS. I feel this will.

I noticed that the "Windows Key" isn't a Windows key. This is a non-denominational keyboard that loves everyone and every OS. In fact, their Logitech Options (optional) software can even let you move from machine to machine in the same room, copy paste across operating systems, and move the mouse from screen to screen quite happily. So if you, like me, appreciate more than one operating system you'll also appreciate that little detail.

The MX keys basically assumes that you're a multi-computer office and has three dedicated keys to that fact. It, too, charges on USB-C quickly and easily and I just keep a cable around to top off the keyboard and mouse on the rare occasions they need the topping up.

As a touch typist I didn't think I'd care about illuminated keys but it's a lovely accenting touch adds something.

Logitech MX Keys

Frankly my only complaint is that this isn't an ergonomic or split keyboard. If they could just pop it into two pieces that would angle off to either side, it'd be the perfect keyboard. I added the palm rest but it doesn't attach to the keyboard, it is a secondary "along for the ride" floating accessory.

The keys have convex dips that feel nice and your fingers comfortably slip into them. The throw is shallow, more than a laptop, less than a Microsoft Ergo keyboard. The throw is similar to the Microsoft Surface keyboard line, but a bit crisper. They keys are soft and low-profile and sharp, never squishy.

Software

Logitech Options Software is clear and easy to use, unified across the product line and allows you to easily mix and match your new mouse with your old keyboard, or vice versa. Everything can be remapped and customized.

The optional Logitech Flow is similar to long time OSS options like Synergy but takes it to the next level with file-sharing. If you have two or three machines in your office that you regularly need to control (especially if you're mixing Windows and Mac) this may be the perfect keyboard+software solution for you.

Logitech Options Software

I'm very happy with this keyboard and mouse and I'm sold on the mouse already. I'm going to give it another month before I decide to purchase the keyboard. Both are excellent high-end products that you won't go wrong with. Again, the only caveat with the keyboard is that it's not ergo, but that's up to your taste.

The MX Mouse isn't vertical but it's extremely comfortable. If you prefer a right-handed ergo MX option, the MX Vertical Mouse is amazing and long ago replaced my Anker Vertical Mouse. In a word, Logitech's mice are unstoppable.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2020 12:30:09 PM UTC
Thanks Scott for sharing this. I totally agree. The mouse is perfect, but the keyboard is not.
They have the Logitech ERGO K860, which is super nice, but the lack of backlighting and having replaceable batteries is very disappointing for a keyboard with $130 price tag.
Alaeddin
Wednesday, May 06, 2020 2:53:04 PM UTC
I have been using both of them for quite a while, and tbh I've been really happy with them!
Wednesday, May 06, 2020 3:02:03 PM UTC
Hi Scott,
Thank you for your review.
A note: it seems that the MX Keys keyboard uses the USB-C cable only for charging.
So, it doesn't integrate well, in case you have multiple devices connected via a KVM.

Personally I use a DasKeyboard. It's very expensive, but it works via cable (ok for my KVM) and has the function to switch between Windows and MacOS keys.

Interestingly, as mouse I use a Logitech MX Vertical mouse, that supports bluetooth but also via USB-C. So when I'm at home I plug it via cable, but when I'm outside, bluetooth is fine.

Regards, Damiano
Wednesday, May 06, 2020 10:42:31 PM UTC
Definitely agree about Logitech mice. I'm surprised you don't like mechanical keyboards though. About 13 years ago I found a mechanical keyboard that "sparks joy" - the Kinesis Advantage. It takes split-keyboard to the extreme and calls your thumbs to active duty. These certainly have a learning curve but they are worth it. I have three now, all still work great. The improvements in the newest Advantage2 model are excellent, but the original model is still a delight.
Jason Taylor
Thursday, May 07, 2020 4:45:02 AM UTC
Hy Scott, long time reader here, nice review. I really thinking about buying the MX Keys but I cannot find any information if there are ghosting porblems. As I like my shortcuts and also gaming, it would be really nice if you could test key combinations like Left Shift + W + Space.

Cheers and greetings from Germany

Thomas
Thomas Budde
Thursday, May 07, 2020 9:17:03 AM UTC
I have also had various Logitech MX mice for years and they are good but why oh why do they insist on putting rechargeable batteries in them?! You can pop in an AA or two into their Marathon mouse and it will last for 2-3 YEARS. With rechargeables you are inconvenienced by having to charge it every month or two! Crazy!
The MX keyboard looks nice but having to charge it is putting me off.
Also the horizontal scroll wheel does not work on many apps but nice when it does.
I think I will go back to a Marathon mouse next time if it has the free scroll wheel.
Chris M
Thursday, May 07, 2020 9:52:17 AM UTC
I'm wondering if anyone tried "The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard" for real development work? Looks to be very promising product, but also doubtful because of much less keys...
Thursday, May 07, 2020 10:15:19 AM UTC
I am using the Logitech K380 keyboard and I absolutely love that it is wireless and supports multiple devices. I am considering buying the MX keyboard because I miss the full keyboard and would love to have the illuminated keys.

I never heard of the MX vertical mouse. Why is it better than the normal mouse?

Thursday, May 07, 2020 10:53:31 AM UTC
I really like and respect your approach: "I donate the gifted products to a local charter school. If I truly like the product, I will - and do - purchase the products directly with my own money.".
Thursday, May 07, 2020 11:45:46 AM UTC
The mouse design is really very different from what I am normally used to. But given your amazing reviews, I would definitely give it a try. Also, I really commend your action of donating the gifted products. Nice work!
Thursday, May 07, 2020 1:08:34 PM UTC
I've been using the MX Master since early 2016 - and liked it enough that I bought another one for home (at the time, there was an 'Amazon edition' MX Master, which was about 75% of the price of the original Master, so that was a no brainer...). Would totally recommend them.

For keyboards, though, mechanical all the way. Filco Majestouch (with brown Cherry MX) at work, as I have to compromise on volume, and at home I use a Unicomp buckling spring keyboard - an IBM Model-M-a-like...
Stuart Dootson
Thursday, May 07, 2020 1:10:59 PM UTC
When you say you're not a fan of "mechanical keyboards", are you referring specifically to buckling-spring mechanisms, like the classic IBM Model M style? Because there are a wide variety of Cherry MX switch types that are nothing like that, and to my fingers are definitely soft and clear compared to membrane keyboards. My Logitech G15 (an old but certainly not cheap keyboard) feels not just mushy and vague, but *more* effort than typing on the Cherry MX Red switches in the mechanical keyboard I switched to. There's definitely a cadre of people for whom the Model M is God's gift to man, and I wouldn't want their devotion to blind other people to the wonderful variety of available options.
David
Thursday, May 07, 2020 1:56:01 PM UTC
I've been using Logitech mice for years now, but I have to have a mouse where I can switch back and forth between my left and right hand. I'm right-handed, but I sometimes use it with my left hand to relieve my arms and wrists (give it a few days of awkward training and you'll be surprised how easy it is). The M705 is my current go-to choice, I love it, and it works equally well with both hands.
Mats Gefvert
Thursday, May 07, 2020 5:22:20 PM UTC
How dead will I be if I hold my breath until Logitech releases a left-handed version of this mouse?
Rabo
Monday, May 11, 2020 5:36:27 PM UTC
Am I the only dev thats still uses de F keys?
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 9:41:05 AM UTC
Nice review Scott,

I have the same setup and i'm happy with it. The only downside is that i miss the "BREAK" key when debugging in ISE or VSCode. Checked if i could assign it with the logitech options software, but could not find it.
Gert-Jan
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 9:47:39 AM UTC
The writers in companies that provide
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 9:48:41 AM UTC
Are you looking for affordable but quality!!
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.