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Logitech's Easy-Switch Keyboard pairs with everything

Dan Frakes | April 18, 2013
Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard takes much of what was good about the company's K760—including great keys and the capability to pair with up to three devices simultaneously—and adds backlighting and a more-portable design.

Functional F-keys

Like the corresponding keys on most Mac and iPad keyboards these days, the keys in the Easy-Switch's top row serve as traditional F-keys when you hold down the fn key (located, as on Apple's keyboards, in the lower-left corner), but they perform special actions when pressed on their own. (You can reverse this behavior in OS X's Keyboard preferences pane or with the aforementioned Logitech software.) But because three of those F-keys are used for switching between devices, and because the keyboard works with both Macs and iOS devices, the arrangement of these special functions is a bit unusual compared to the arrangement on Apple's keyboards, and the function of each F-key may change depending on the device. Here's are the actions that the various F-keys control:

  • F1, F2, and F3: On all devices, choose which device the Easy-Switch should actively connect to.
  • F4: In OS X, access Mission Control (10.7 or later) or Exposé (10.6 or earlier); in iOS, no function.
  • F5: In OS X, access LaunchPad (10.7 or later; requires Logitech's software); in iOS, emulates an iOS device's Home button.
  • F6 and F7: In OS X, adjust brightness down or up, respectively; in iOS, no function.
  • F8 and F9: Control the brightness of key backlighting.
  • F10: On all devices, toggle Play/Pause (iTunes in OS X, active audio player in iOS).
  • F11, F12, F13: On all devices, mute, lower volume, and raise volume, respectively.
  • Eject/Keyboard: In OS X, eject the optical drive; in iOS, toggle the onscreen keyboard.

If you've used the K760, you'll notice that the Easy-Switch differs a bit in its handling of the above functions. Specifically, you can't control your iOS device's screen brightness using the Easy-Switch; and to accommodate the backlight-level keys, the Easy-Switch omits skip-back and skip-forward keys for media-player control. Also, depending on your Mac, you may need to change some of your F-key assignments in the Keyboard and Mission Control or Exposé panes of System Preferences to get the expected results.

Regrettably, as with the K760 and the K750 before it, you can't use Logitech's Control Center software to customize the behavior of the F-keys. When using the Easy-Switch instead of my beloved--and long-discontinued--Logitech diNovo Keyboard Mac Edition, what I missed most wasn't the dedicated numeric keypad, but the extensive F-key shortcuts I had assigned for launching apps, scripts, and the like. If you'd rather use the F-keys for these types of actions, you'll want to grab Keyboard Maestro.

Incurve-y keys

The Easy-Switch continues Logitech's recent tradition of producing Mac keyboards with outstanding keys. These aren't the best-in-class keys we loved on the older diNovo line, but the company's new Incurve keys use a similar PerfectStroke technology underneath to give you very good key feel with short travel (the distance the key needs to be pressed down to register) and solid tactile feedback.

 

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