Logitech Craft review: A slick keyboard combo that takes on the Surface Dial

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Enlarge / Kinda putting, do not you suppose?

Mark Walton

Specs at a look: Logitech Craft
Colour Grey, aluminium
Dimensions 32mm x 430mm x 149mm
Weight 960g
Connectivity Logitech Unifying 2.4GHz, Bluetooth Low Energy
Software Support Mac OS 10.11 and above and Windows 7 and above
Features USB Type-C charging, backlight, digital crown, 10m wi-fi vary, Easy Switch
Price £179/$199

The Surface Dial, a hockey-puck-sized controller designed to be used with Microsoft’s Surface Studio desktop laptop, is the palette to the Surface’s pen. It clicks, double clicks and rotates, including contextual menus and clean navigation to apps akin to Maps and Adobe Photoshop with out the necessity to attain for a mouse. Unfortunately—regardless of some third-party alternate options—there’s nothing as slick as a Surface Dial obtainable to inventive sorts at dwelling on a Mac.

That’s the place the Logitech Craft is available in. Priced at a considerable £179, the Logitech Craft is a premium keyboard armed with a “crown,” that permits for a similar clicks, double clicks and twists that make the Surface Dial so compelling, with out the necessity to splash out on a Surface Desktop to go together with it. While there are some odd limitations to the crown’s performance, at the very least at launch, it is a compelling companion to the keyboard and mouse.

It helps that the Craft is superbly made. The major physique is constructed from a sturdy matte gray plastic, whereas a heavy aluminium bar on the prime provides weight, a snug tilt (though it is sadly not adjustable), and the crown itself, which sits simply above the escape key to the left of the keyboard. The Craft is a heavy factor with strong rubber ft that, as soon as positioned down on a desk, reassuringly stays put.

The chiclet keys, whereas not providing the identical degree of tactile suggestions as totally mechanical keys, are a pleasure to kind on. They have a firmer motion than, say, Apple’s commonplace desktop keyboard (related in really feel to a Lenovo Thinkpad), whereas the concave indents in every key give your fingers a pure resting place whereas typing. The structure is suited to each Mac and Windows, with the standard array of brightness and quantity controls that Mac customers count on.

The Logitech Craft works with both PC and Mac.
Enlarge / The Logitech Craft works with each PC and Mac.

Mark Walton

The Logitech Options software is easy to use.
Enlarge / The Logitech Options software program is simple to make use of.

The keys are backlit too, and are activated by a proximity sensor, which is a pleasant contact. Like different Logitech keyboards, the Craft options straightforward swap performance, permitting you to pair it with as much as three gadgets without delay, and swap between them utilizing a devoted set of keys positioned subsequent the quantity pad. Both Bluetooth and a bundled USB wi-fi receiver are supported, with the Craft working simply as effectively with an iPad because it does with an iMac. It’s charged through USB Type-C, with the battery lasting per week or so below heavy use.

That Logitech nailed the fundamentals is vital given the £179 price ticket, however the crown seems to be particularly helpful. Using the accompanying Logitech Options software program opens up a wealth of features. Inside generic apps like Text Edit or Finder home windows, twisting the crown features as a quantity management by default, however this may be customised to all method of features like switching between desktops or controlling display screen brightness.

You may also press the crown, which works effectively as a solution to open up Mission Control, whereas a press and switch could be set to features like app switching. If you are not sure of what explicit perform is energetic, touching the highest of the crown brings up a reminder. The crown actually comes into its personal in particular functions, the place Logitech has created a variety of profiles. On a Mac that features the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and Chrome and Firefox, whereas in Windows there’s additionally help for Microsoft workplace (Mac help for Office is promised).

The crown’s performance adjustments primarily based on the applying and the actual software getting used. For instance, in PowerPoint, you’ll be able to twist via 4 completely different features that flip via themes, colors, fonts and layouts. In Photoshop, you’ll be able to rapidly regulate the brightness, distinction and saturation when the choose software is in use, or measurement, hardness, opacity and circulate when the paintbrush software is in use. In Chrome you’ll be able to rapidly cycle via tabs with clocking a mouse or utilizing management and tab.

The crown's functionality is contextual, changing based on the application in use.
Enlarge / The crown’s performance is contextual, altering primarily based on the applying in use.

It’s shocking how rapidly the crown turns into second nature, and the way irritating it’s once you swap to keyboard with out it. There are, nevertheless, some bizarre limitations. While the large Adobe apps are supported, Lightroom is not, whereas there’s only a token nod to Premiere with timeline scrubbing. Crown features inside particular person apps cannot be customised both, nor are you able to add new ones. A easy studying function the place you’ll be able to assign a single perform to the crown could be preferable over no customisation in any respect. Check, you’ll be able to’t even assign customized macros: solely the 17 perform keys could be customised.

Such performance might or might not seem in future software program updates (when pressed, Logitech promised long-term help for the Craft, however no specifics), however even in its present kind the Craft is a compelling buy, as long as you are the inventive kind.

It’s a pleasure to kind on—actually one of the best chiclet-style keyboard I’ve ever used—and in apps that help it, the crown works splendidly. In the burgeoning market of premium peripherals, the Craft is up there with one of the best of them.

The good

  • Excellent construct high quality
  • Great typing expertise for a chiclet keyboard
  • Crown makes navigating content material creation apps a breeze
  • Easily switches between three gadgets without delay

The dangerous

  • Steep value
  • No Microsoft Office help in MacOS
  • Crown instructions cannot be customised

The ugly

  • Trying to make use of Photoshop once more with out it

This put up originated on Ars Technica UK


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