The Logitech Craft keyboard review

Once again I’ve given up my IBM model M for another keyboard review. This time moving from steam age to space age with the Logitech Craft. The design of this keyboard is reminiscent of the apple low profile keyboards but with some content creation focused twists. As with before It will be challenger to a Model M from 1988 that I still use daily, quite a comparison to live up to. After starting with this keyboard Logitech also provided a mouse that will be covered in a separate review. 

Initial impressions

The appearance of the Craft was clearly one of the primary concern when designing this keyboard. The device is slim and reminiscent of the full sized apple keyboard. With a slightly different from standard layout of the keys themselves. Further more sticking out like a sore thumb is the dial which is one of the star features of this keyboard. With that lets start to dig into the Craft.

Video Overview

The Layout

Overall the layout of the Craft is mostly in line with what a windows user will expect. However the presence of masOS style markings alongside windows markings immediately calls to the dual os nature of this keyboard. The biggest stumbling block in the layout is the location of the device switch buttons. They take the place of the standard location of keys such as print screen  forcing it over the number pad instead. If there is a Craft 2 in a few years I hope this is one of the improvements that it makes.

The dial

I mentioned the dial but haven’t said a whole lot about it yet. The dial or “crown” is a context sensitive touch sensitive clickable input device . In conjunction with the Logitech software the Crown can perform an impressive variety of tasks. In Adobe premiere it performs simple tasks as a jog/shuffle wheel or as a frame by frame timeline navigation . In Photoshop its functionality is massively increased with a variety of functions based on the tool that’s selected.

Battery life

Battery life years without a doubt the single largest weakness of this keyboard . It was at first my thought that there may potentially be something wrong with my keyboard because the battery life was so short. However looking around Robbie to the realisation that everyone is seeing roughly a week of use if they are lucky . For a wireless device with a rechargeable battery I fully expected a shorter than normal battery life due to changes in capacity . However I was more reasonably expecting a reduction from six months or longer to 2 or three months . It is my estimation that there is sufficient room in the design for this keyboard is another we worth of lithium without any substantial trade-offs in design . They clearly had to use the lithium polymer cell off-the-shelf cell factor that the used changing that to use of the space left underneath the keyboard that is currently simply an area although it would add weight to the design would have no substantial negative impact on user experience .

Multi device connectivity

This is actually a feature shared with several other keyboards in the Logitech lineup. The Craft is capable of being paired to up to 3 devices using Bluetooth or the uniting receiver. By simply pressing 1/2/3 the Craft can change what device it’s working with at a moments notice. This functional has allowed the Craft to replace several traditional keyboards in my office. 

Performance

The keys on the Craft feel consistent with little variation at all. Due to it’s design  However this keyboard came in at 62g across the board when measured without any notable exceptions. Typing speed is a bit slower than a keyboard like the Model M(where I can reach 85WPM). Clocking in at 70WPM.

The software

The Craft is paired with Logitechs professional software “Logitech options”. This is a clean looking suite with a focus on utility first and “flash” second. This suite is available for both macOS and Windows and allows per application programming of both keys and the dial for the Craft. There are profiles available for some applications already(such as the adobe software we demonstrated). There’s also an SDK which is a relatively cnew development but one I hope to see taken advantage of.

Closing Thoughts

From a hardware and software perspective the Logich Craft is nearly flawless in it’s design and execution. Changes such as restoring the layout to a ANSI 104 key layout would be easily addressed with a new revision and limit the adjustment for windows users to the movement of the printscreen and associated keys. The software works well and will see it’s biggest changes in the continued addition of new profiles. The battery however is the keyboards single largest flaw, a weeks worth of charge when other keyboards from the same manufacturer reach multiple months is just too short. From a pricing perspective the Craft is expensive and it’s value has to be considered with your time as part of the equation. At 200 dollars this is not a disposable keyboard but the utility of the dial in environments where the cost of your time can be measured in minutes is massive. A 5 minute time savings a day in a standard working year can come out to nearly 22 hours worth of time, your time would have to be worth less than 10 dollars an hour(absurdly low as a creative professional) to not cover the cost of the Craft.


 

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Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is a full time IT administrator at a medium sized private business former FRC coach and technology enthusiast.