Logitech’s K400 wireless keyboard and touchpad reviewed

We’ve reviewed quite a few keyboards here at TR, but nothing quite like this one. The Logitech K400 doesn’t have mechanical key switches, glow-in-the-dark backlighting, wicked-fast USB 3.0 ports, or powerful macro functionality. It’s a basic wireless keyboard with an integrated touchpad. But it’s also only $40, and as far as I can tell, it’s an excellent fit for home-theater PCs.

Well, the black one is, anyway. Logitech sent us the white version of the K400, whose overwhelming whiteness is a little much for the living room. The pristine aesthetic is especially prone to being stained by Cheeto dust and other snack residue.

I’ve seen the black version of the K400 in person, and it’s a lot more understated despite having a graphic on the touchpad. That variant is well worth the extra $2 over the cheaper white model. Don’t just take my word for it, either; Newegg has 327 user reviews of the black version but only four of the white model.

Coloring aside, one of the most striking things about the K400 is how light it is. The keyboard weighs only 0.89 lbs (405 g) according to my kitchen scale. It’s easy to pick up with one hand and comfortable to keep propped on one’s lap.

The K400’s plastic body keeps the weight low, but it’s also a little flimsy. The keyboard bends visibly when held from one side, and the entire body can be twisted with only moderate effort. Our sample is curved slightly, as well. The middle of the keyboard bows up, causing visible flex under heavy-handed typing. My last HTPC keyboard was an Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless, whose aluminum body is much stiffer. But I also paid $80 for the thing, and it’s about twice the weight of the K400. On the couch, at least, the difference in weight is more noticeable than the difference in rigidity.

At 13.9″ (354 mm) wide, the K400 is a few inches narrower than a full-sized desktop keyboard. The integrated touchpad takes up a fair amount of room, resulting in some shrinkage for the key area. Even with a pared-down, laptop-style layout, the alpha key area is 6% narrower and 7% shorter than our full-sized reference. My XL-sized mitts don’t feel overly cramped when typing, but my fingers do feel a bit squished together when resting on the WASD triangle.

For brief bouts of typing, the smaller footprint isn’t a problem. Neither is the mediocre key feel. However, I couldn’t bring myself to write this review on the K400. The key action is too mushy, and the tactile feedback is too vague. I’m not just spoiled by desktop keyboards with mechanical key switches, either. Even Asus’ budget-priced Transformer Book T100 convertible tablet has a better key feel.

To Logitech’s credit, typing on the K400 generates very little noise. The media keys work as expected, and there’s an extra left-click button in the upper left corner. The keyboard is also loaded with function keys tied to Win8 features like search, settings, and application switching. I found the app switching button especially useful, mostly because the associated gesture is unreliable. Which brings us to the touchpad…

The touchpad’s surface is recessed about one millimeter into the keyboard. That might not sound like a lot, but it feels like a big drop when executing Win8 gestures that require dragging one’s finger onto the touchpad from an outside edge. My finger doesn’t always hit the very edge of the tracking surface as it drops down, which seems to impair the recognition of those gestures. App switching is affected, as is access to the Charms bar and application menu.

Otherwise, the keyboard’s gesture support is good. The usual assortment of two-finger gestures work right out of the box, with no need to install drivers. The 3.5″ tracking are doesn’t feel too constrained, but I wish there were a coasting option to extend two-finger scrolling.

I also wish the cursor tracking felt tighter. My fingertip glides across the smooth touchpad surface with ease, but the on-screen cursor lags noticeably. It’s almost as if the cursor is sliding on ice. Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any latency associated with the keyboard response. I didn’t notice any obvious signs of input lag while playing Battlefield 4 with the K400 (and a separate mouse).

The K400 interfaces with the host PC via Logitech’s Unifying receiver. This dongle plugs into a USB port and is capable of communicating with multiple devices over a 2.4GHz wireless connection. The dongle itself is tiny; in the picture above, it’s plugged into the USB port extender that also comes in the box. Below, you can see the dongle tucked into the battery compartment door.

Logitech says the K400 works up to 33′ (10 m) away from the receiver, which matches my real-world impressions. The wireless connection even works without line of sight to the receiver.

I haven’t spent enough time with the K400 to confirm Logitech’s claim that the keyboard’s AA batteries are good for two million keystrokes, or about one year of use. However, I can verify that the keyboard’s power-saving measures are unobtrusive. Even after being left idle for days, the K400 still responds quickly to both keyboard and touchpad input. Folks who want to conserve power further can turn the keyboard off completely using a switch located on the front edge.

The K400 isn’t perfect. Compromises are required to squeeze a keyboard and touchpad into a lightweight, wireless package that retails for $40 or less. But those tradeoffs are reasonable for home-theater PC duty, especially considering the bargain price. Logitech’s other wireless keyboard and touchpad combo, the TK820, sells for $100—more than twice the price of the K400.

Anyone shopping for an affordable wireless keyboard and touchpad combo should have the K400 on their short list. This certainly isn’t the nicest keyboard around, but the K400 is good enough for occasional use, and it’s a solid value overall.

Comments closed
    • LoneWolf15
    • 6 years ago

    I got the black one for $29.99 at Sam’s Club about a year ago as an impulse buy for my HTPC. Didn’t know they made them that cheap.

    For an occasional-use keyboard/mouse, it’s great. I use it about 12ft away from my system, and it’s perfect. For most things, I use a Windows Media Center remote (using XBMC for Windows), but there are some cases where that’s less than optimal, and this keyboard is just fine without being expensive. It’s a great bargain.

    • DarkMikaru
    • 6 years ago

    These have been out for quite a while now. Got mine off the egg for 24.99 sale price with free shipping. It’s a small keyboard but quite competent for its intended purpose.. HTPC keyboard. The touch pad works well, its lightweight and the range is very respectable. I’ve been using it on my HTPC setup for the better part of a year now and have no complaints. Original batteries are still kicking in it as well.

    I was so impressed that that I bought one for my father’s HTPC also. However, he’s somewhat old school and didn’t care much for the touch pad and rather have a good old fashioned mouse. That and he is a lefty, so its odd for him to use his right thumb to navigate. Which reminds me, though I haven’t looked, have any of you guys found a “lefties” version of this keyboard, or something along those lines? Just curious. Please feel free to share if so.

    Anyway, I don’t think this keyboard gets enough credit. Good price, good performance, solid quality. I’d say give it a shot if your in the market for something like this.

    • Concupiscence
    • 6 years ago

    I’ll chime in with generally positive experiences after months of use. But for the love of God, don’t try to contort your hands into the gnarled and unholy shapes necessary to fumble through FPSes with the trackpad…

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve seen this thing for $20 many times and $25 many more times than that. It’s a good value.

    • firerules16
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve had this keyboard for half a year or so for my recent HTPC build. Definitely gets the job done, and is very convenient.

    • ZGradt
    • 6 years ago

    I bought a couple of these on sale. They’re really good for moving around from computer to computer without having to bother with cords and mice (and mouse surfaces). Especially if you’re sitting across the room. They seem to work with everything. I’ve used them on my Raspberry Pi running XBMC, my SteamOS PC… My Ouya (? can’t remember)

    I hate the keys though. It’s too cramped for my hands, and the right shift key is to the right of the arrow keys, which always screws me up. I’m always pushing the up arrow when I want to hit shift. The mouse buttons are kind of hard to push if you’re holding it on your lap too. It’s great for an HTPC though.

    • StuG
    • 6 years ago

    I use to own a k400 and my parents htpc inherited it. I replaced it with a tk820 and it was entirely worth the money to get. Best htpc keyboard I have ever used, and actually makes the experience enjoyable. Great range and superb build quality. Got it off amazon for $70. My only complaint is the weight, on the heavy side. I would have said no physical buttons as a complaint but Logitech’s implementation is very nice.

    • wiak
    • 6 years ago

    i have a bunch of k400 black ones, they work nicely, useful for htpc/server and other stuff you quicky need a keyboard/mice for

    i had to get used to them but other than that they are still alive and kicking after 6+ months

    • gamoniac
    • 6 years ago

    Around Christmas, I found this on sale for $26 and grabbed one from a local OfficeMax (now $29.99). Typically, I use this on my laps and never noticed any flexing, so it really isn’t bad. After reading this article, I checked to see if I could twist it while holding it on both ends. True enough, I could but the point is, it was a non-issue – I never had to whack anyone with mine yet. The touch pad is a bit deep as the article points out, so left swipes are missed sometimes. Lastly, I never had any lag issue with the cursor after I increased the mouse cursor speed. It has been a pretty sweet addition to my HTPC.

    • bjm
    • 6 years ago

    For those looking for a higher end version of the K400, there is the [url=http://www.engadget.com/2013/08/13/logitech-tk820-keyboard-and-trackpad/<]Logitech TK820[/url<]. There aren't too many reviews that I've found, but CNet and YouTube reviews seemed favorable. I need an HTPC keyboard/trackpad combo, but I'm waiting to see the TK820 in-person before I bite.

      • StuG
      • 6 years ago

      I have one and its great. My only complaint is weight and entry price. If you are looking for upped build quality and features from the k400 it is worth it imho.

        • bjm
        • 6 years ago

        Awesome, just saw your comment about it being too heavy. My initial concern was that it may have been too light, so that may actually be a plus for me. How is the trackpad feel compared to other trackpads that you’ve used (i.e., Asus gaming laptops/MacBooks?)

          • StuG
          • 6 years ago

          Feels like a Macbook but hard plastic rather then glass. I love it! Best pad I think I have ever used. I still do prefer REAL buttons but the built in ones on this model are done well for what they are.

    • tcunning1
    • 6 years ago

    I agree pretty much completely with this review. The K400 is flimsy, but does what it’s supposed to with a minimum of fuss. I’ve been using one with a Windows 7 HTPC for about a year and am very satisfied. The range is excellent and I have never replaced the batteries. It’s far superior to a much more expensive Logitech diNovo keyboard it replaced..

    • TitanArch
    • 6 years ago

    I have a corded keyboard attached to my PlayStation 3. This keyboard would be a little more convenient since it is wireless. I would expect it to work without a problem, but can anybody confirm this?

    • liquidsquid
    • 6 years ago

    Had a Candyboard wireless keyboard… it sucked.
    Got the black one of these and love it! Good range, forever battery, and it doesn’t quite fit down into the couch cushions so you can find it easily.

    • Shambles
    • 6 years ago

    It’s not perfect but I haven’t found another keyboard better suited for HTPCs. Highly recommended for that use and can easily be found for $30.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 6 years ago

    I have the black one of these for my HTPC and I agree with the review on the quality of this. It is flimsy, the track pad isn’t stellar, BUT since all I use this for is navigating folders, looking up webpages/searching Youtube and opening up Media player, it’s more than good enough. It’s also, as the review said, very light and you barely notice it when holding it. My HTPC also doubles as my “work” computer (typing up emails and doing homework), but I have a proper mechanical keyboard for that.

    I have just passed 1 year with it and the stock batteries are still going strong without any noticeable lag, so their keyboard claims are legit.

    As a primary keyboard, it wouldn’t pass muster, but as a HTPC keyboard when couch surfing, very good. For $40 it’s good, for $30 it’s great.

    • DPete27
    • 6 years ago

    I love my K400. It’s the perfect size for [b<]HTPC[/b<] use. I first had a [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126039<]Logitech DiNovo Mini[/url<] since I was looking for something very small and unobtrusive. The DiNovo was too small to do anything well though. Trackpad was too small, keypad was too small to use with 10 fingers but too big to reach across comfortably with thumbs. The K400 is a little awkward at times to type on because of it's smaller-than-normal size. (maybe not if you're used to typing on a 11" or smaller notebook keyboard) But the trackpad works well, battery life is great, it's light, has good range, small (but not too small), cheap....what else can you ask for? Logitech hit the nail on the head with this keyboard. It's perfect in every way for the target usage.

    • sonofsanta
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve had a couple of these now – one for a friend’s HTPC set up I built, and one for use with presentations at work – and for the money they’re excellent, particularly when you look at the competition in the price range. I’ve seen some devices that had the trackpad below the keyboard like a laptop layout, which is fine when your size is determined by the screen folding down on top, but a bit stupid when it’s a standalone device.

    One thing really annoys me about the K400 though – replacing the F1-F12 keys with function keys and relegating F1-12 to use with the Fn key. No way of swapping it on the keyboard or in the software. Why do manufacturers think I’ll want to use whatever 12 functions they’ve struggled to think of to fill the space more than, say, Alt-F4, F5 to refresh, F12 to save as… at least laptops usually let you swap this over in BIOS.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      Actually, it is swappable in software on the new K400r version. Maybe you have an old hardware version or old software installed?

        • sonofsanta
        • 6 years ago

        Could be – was over 6 months ago last time I looked at the software, might be worth another look now. Cheers!

      • Imperor
      • 6 years ago

      Mine doesn’t even have the functions, just F-keys! But it’s a Swedish layout as well… 🙂

    • RhysAndrews
    • 6 years ago

    I have the earlier model – have had it for 3 years and it hasn’t even needed its batteries replaced once despite using it quite heavily. It’s flimsy but it’s been used by all sorts of hands and hasn’t been damaged. Most wireless logitech and microsoft peripherals stop working after like a week..

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]Most wireless logitech and microsoft peripherals stop working after like a week..[/quote<] So charge the batteries.

    • Deanjo
    • 6 years ago

    Most annoying thing about the K400 is the awkward size and placement of the right shift key and up arrow. Start typing away and go to use the right shift and boom…. your cursor jumps up a line.

    • LASR
    • 6 years ago

    This keyboard is amazing. I use it everywhere. One on each of my two HTPCs. And one for managing my Bitcoin farm.

    It is super convenient when you don’t want to use KVM switches.

    • Jambe
    • 6 years ago

    Yeah, it’s a workable little device. Do note that Amazon, TigerDirect, B&H et. al sell it for $30, often less.

    Just to clarify, what you have reviewed is the K400r, not the K400. There are some differences (all improvements, imo):

    [url<]http://logitech-en-emea.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/39601/~/differences-between-the-wireless-touch-keyboard-k400-and-k400r[/url<] As I understand it, most boards being sold as K400s are actually K400r models.

    • GokieKS
    • 6 years ago

    I bought the black version a while back during a sale at Best Buy for $20, to use with my gaming/HTPC from the couch. I have to say, while it gets the job (in my case basically just for using MPC-HC) done, but it’s definitely not what I would consider to be a great product. The keys are mushy, and the trackpad is neither responsive nor precise – honestly, the price is about the only redeeming quality of this thing. But if you need something that includes both the keyboard and trackpad in one device, it’s just about only one available at a sane price, as the Logitech diNovo Edge is similar but costs nearly a magnitude of order more.

      • continuum
      • 6 years ago

      Good to know on the review… and yeah, for $20, sounds quite good.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 6 years ago

    I got a white one during holiday sales for $20. I’d been looking at wireless keyboards for a while and always came back to this one for value and support. Logitech support is excellent. I do think the white looks better, at least partly just because it’s not black – every damn thing is black and silver and it gets old. I haven’t experienced a problem with the keyboard getting dirty but I tend to use napkins when eating :p however I’m sure it would be easy enough to clean with a damp cloth with rubbing alcohol.

    It works great, and yeah it’s mushy but it’s a low travel membrane keyboard, what should we expect? The trackpad works fine and thankfully it works well even on a higher resolution screen (2560×1440) without needing to swipe across the pad multiple times. The unifying receiver works well too, I got a T400 ‘zone touch’ mouse – basically there’s a touch strip instead of a scroll wheel – to go along with it in case the trackpad sucked and they both work well. (The scroll and gesture operation of the mouse is pretty cool.)

    • Waco
    • 6 years ago

    I love my K400s – I have both the older model (with volume controls instead of home/whatever keys at the top left) and the new one you reviewed.

    The touchpad and buttons on the old one suck in comparison to the newer version…but the volume control is so much easier to use that I still use the older version on the main HTPC.

    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    Its a nice keyboard, but i much favor my curved MS BT 6000 keyboard, as it comes with a number pad. However, if MS doesnt get their $hit straight, i might just go with the logitech K811 since it allows me to switch between my pc, tablet, and phone when typing…and to me that’s huge! i do however love the new Sculpt ergo keyboard. its too bad that it’s not BT and supports the same functions as the K811.

    • NeelyCam
    • 6 years ago

    If only it had solar panels for charging, like one of their older keyboards… I’ve been using one for two years in my dark home theater, and never had battery issues… but it doesn’t have a touchpad, so I have to also use a mouse.

    • Milo Burke
    • 6 years ago

    I bought a (black ) Logitech K400 for my parents for $25, for use with their HTPC. After seeing how nice it worked, I rushed out (to Amazon.com) to buy one for myself! I was able to snag it for $22.

    Yeah, the build quality isn’t great. And for the love of donuts, don’t touch the touchpad with wet fingers! So hard to use! But the range is great (I sometimes use it from the other room, never had a range issue), and the keys and touchpad are plenty good-enough for couch-surfing and using as an HTPC remote.

    It’s really hard to find a good wireless keyboard with a touchpad these days. Some of them have those keyboards that look like they belong on a 2004 cell phone. We have $150 Logitech wireless keyboards at my workplace in the conference rooms, and the keys don’t feel any better than the K400, and the touchpad is dramatically worse! Everyone at the office complains about those touchpads.

    I thoroughly recommend it, especially if you can find it for less than $30. (And both colors are exactly $30 on Amazon right now.)

    • sweatshopking
    • 6 years ago

    I found the build quality on the k400 to be awful. i had a black one for about 3 days before returning it. I’m glad yours worked far from the computer. Mine had a limit of about 10 feet, and would still drop keys at that range. I like logitech, but i couldn’t handle that device.

    • ratborg
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve tried a number of wireless keyboards (some expensive ones) over the years for use with my HTPC and have been generally disappointed. I bought a similar Logitech wireless one last year for around $25 and it’s been great. I usually just need it to pull up a web page like Hulu and to make searching faster. It’s nice have the mouse and keyboard in one small package.

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