If last year’s Logitech Pop Keys wireless mechanical keyboard was completely styleless and pointless, then the recently announced Logitech MX Mechanical keyboards are the opposite. These are aggressive functional keyboards with logical feature sets, logical designs and logical layouts.
This can make the $ 169.99 MX Mechanical and $ 149.99 MX Mechanical Mini look extreme in the world of mechanical keyboards, which often use striking designs, RGB lighting and colorful keys to grab your attention. But the new Logitech keyboards deserve attention because of their long battery life and a well-thought-out set of features that will make them a solid upgrade for anyone currently using a wireless membrane-type laptop keyboard.
For this review, I used the MX Mechanical Mini, which uses a compact 75 percent layout similar to that found on most laptops along with the company’s new MX Master 3S mouse. (See my review here.) The MX Mechanical, meanwhile, is larger and uses a full-size keyboard layout that includes a numpad. But apart from their layout, both keyboards are functionally very similar.
The MX Mechanical Mini has a silent two-tone design that is unlikely to attract much attention. Around the top, there is a power switch and a USB-C connection for charging and below is a pair of folding legs for tilting the keyboard upwards at an angle of 8 degrees. It has backlight, but only with simple white LEDs. Although you can customize the way the LEDs flash, they are not RGB and can not illuminate your office like a colorful Christmas tree. Like some of Logitech’s previous keyboards, the MX Mechanical Mini has sensors to detect when your hands are close and to turn on the backlight before you press a key – a careful function if you touch the keyboard in a dimly lit room. They are all very reasonable and well thought out.
This is a low profile keyboard, which means that its switches are shorter and do not have as much travel as what I would get from a full-height mechanical keyboard. Personally, I prefer my mechanical switches to be full height, but shorter switches like these may seem more familiar to you if you are used to typing on laptop scissor switches, such as those found on other Logitech Master Series keyboards – such as the MX keys. The switches are made by Kailh and there is a choice of touch brown, blue and linear reds. My review sample had aphthous brown switches.
There are not many customizable options here. Unlike Keychron’s competitive low-profile keyboard, the Keychron K3, the MX Mechanical Mini switches cannot be switched on hot, which means you have to remove a soldering iron if you want to replace them. And because they are low profile, many of the aftermarket keycaps on the market are unlikely to work with them. This really is not the keyboard for hobbyists to deal with.
The Logitech MX Mechanical Mini supports Windows and macOS (and is happy to connect to iOS and Android mobile devices as well). If you connect via Bluetooth, it will automatically detect the operating system and adjust its layout, but if you are using its USB receiver, you will need to do it manually with a keypad shortcut. There is no key selection with Windows or Mac symbols. are all printed on the same keys. It looks a little dirtier, but Logitech’s priority is to minimize the amount of plastic shipped in each box. This is another decision made by Logitech with the keyboard.
The MX Mechanical Mini can store up to three paired devices and switch between them with a keypad shortcut. It can be connected via Bluetooth, but also comes with a Logitech Bolt USB-A receiver (which Logitech claims offers better security and lower latency). I had some problems with the receiver, which Logitech spokeswoman Wendy Spander tells me could be caused by “cables and metal near the receiver”. Using a short USB extension cable completely fixed the problem, as did switching to Bluetooth, but it is an annoying problem at first.
Battery life is estimated at 15 days with backlight on and 10 months off. This is much better than the Keychron K3, which offers 99 hours with the taillights off or 34 hours with the lights on. After a week of daily work, my battery life has reached 45 percent, which suggests that my keyboard will dry out just before the 15-day limit. The keyboard is charging via USB-C and its battery can be technically replaced when it finally dies. The apartment is hidden under the sticker on the underside, however, for whatever reason, Logitech does not recommend homeowners to carry out home repairs. There is no way to see the remaining battery life of the keyboard on the device itself. For this, you should refer to Logitech Options Plus software.
Options Plus is Logitech’s latest companion software for its computer accessories. In its most basic form, it offers at a glance the battery life of all Logitech accessories, but can also be used to customize their operation. You can not re-assign each key, but you can change the function of the shortcut keys in the top row as well as the very important cluster above the arrow keys on the right. It combines a nice combination of adaptability and accessibility, although it is a pity that this re-mapping is not stored on the keyboard itself and disappears if you connect the keyboard to a computer without Options Plus installed.
For the typing test, I put the $ 149.99 MX Mechanical Mini against the $ 74 Keychron K3. The Logitech keyboard is much more expensive, but the form factors of the two keyboards are very similar and I suspect they will target a similar type of typist. The Logitech keyboard was the clear winner in terms of feel. It may not offer the same great typing feel as a premium keyboard like the Keychron Q1, and the space bar rattles a bit, but they are way ahead of the K3’s comparatively cloudy feel. It feels crisp and clean, and I can (and have) happily type it in for hours.
Speaking of which, here is a typing audio test:
I was also surprised at how weak the Keychron’s keyboard is compared to Logitech’s MX Mechanical Mini. Lift the Logitech keyboard and you feel solid, refusing to bend if you try to bend it. It feels nice and durable in a way that just does not have the (admittedly cheaper) Keychron keyboard. If you’re looking for where this extra $ 75 goes, you can find many of them here.
Logitech seems to have a very specific type of mass market user in mind for MX Mechanical keyboards. This is not a mechanical keyboard for lovers of award-winning striking designs, interchangeable switches and full customization.
In contrast, the low-profile design and logical feature set make it seem like a more premium alternative to Logitech MX Keys, which have the same layout as laptop switches and are slightly cheaper between 99.99 and 149. , $ 99 – or even the Apple series of Magic keyboards, which start at $ 99.
The Logitech MX Mechanical Mini is a compact, logical keyboard, with many useful features to get the most out of it. But do not expect it to offer the most premium typing feel or offer the customization items that enthusiastic mechanical keyboards are known for.
Photo by Jon Porter / The Verge