Simple remotes usually don't cut it for home-theater PCs. Although basic media and directional controls are usually sufficient for applications like XBMC and Windows Media Center, searches are much more convenient with a full keyboard, and navigating the current patchwork of streaming video services is much easier with a precise mouse pointer. Logitech's new Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard offers both, and it has intelligent backlighting to boot.
Otherwise known as the K830, this wireless keyboard looks ideal for the living room. It connects via Logitech's tiny Unifying Receiver, weighs just 1.1 lbs, and combines a laptop-style keyboard with an integrated touchpad. The 2.4GHz wireless connection has a claimed range of 33 feet, which should be more than sufficient for couch surfing. The K400 wireless keyboard we reviewed in January uses the same receiver, and its wireless reception is excellent.
For those who prefer to dim the lights for movies and games, the K830 has integrated backlighting. The backlight turns on automatically when typing begins, and it goes dark after five seconds of inactivity. Users also have the option of running the backlight at 50% brightness or disabling it completely.
Logitech claims the K830 provides 10 hours of backlit typing time after a 30-minute charge. Charging is done over Micro USB, which should appeal to folks with mobile charging stations set up next to the couch. The keyboard also has a power switch that can be used to conserve battery life.
The K830's "soft-touch" keys don't sound particularly promising, but they should be fine for quick searches and brief bouts of typing, and they could be good enough for light gaming. We may have to snag one of these things to find out for ourselves. In the meantime, the K830 can be pre-ordered for $99.99.