It’s no wonder that corporations want to deliver items tailored exclusively at the 16-to-24-year-old Gen Z crowd, as yesterday’s youth have become today’s highly sought-after group for marketers. Logitech’s POP Mechanical Wireless Keyboard ($99.99) aims to straddle the delicate line between cool and cringe in an attempt to attract the attention of younger audiences. Given its tech-savvy target audience, this small, multicolored wireless mechanical keyboard has some great, quirky functions, but also a startling lack of customization. It’s difficult to type on, which is possibly a bigger issue.
LOGITECH POP KEYS MECHANICAL WIRELESS KEYBOARD SPECS
|Number of Keys||96|
|Key Switch Type||TTC Brown|
|Media Controls||Shared With Other Keys|
|Dedicated Shortcut Keys||Yes|
|Onboard Profile Storage||Yes|
|N-Key Rollover Support||Yes|
Make a genuine effort to smile.
The bright colors are the first thing you’ll notice about this new keyboard. The Logitech POP Mechanical Keyboard is the main device of Logitech’s Studio Series line, which also includes the $40 POP Mouse, which we’ll evaluate separately. (A bundle of the two goods is not available.) The board is available in three different color schemes, each one brighter than the previous. The Blast color scheme is used on our review device, which features a vivid yellow body with black and gray circular keys reminiscent of an old-school typewriter. The Daydream color scheme, with its cooler lilac, blues, and whites, or the Heartbreaker color scheme, with its softer reds and pinks, are two other alternatives.
You’ll be met with the same tenkeyless-design board regardless of hue. The POP Keyboard is compact and light, measuring 1.4 by 12.6 by 5.5 inches (HWD) and weighing only 1.7 pounds. The keys are nearly the same size as your fingertip, with rounded edges. Logitech uses TTC Brown switches instead of the typical Cherry MX switches found on most mechanical boards.
The TTC Brown switches perform similarly to their Cherry MX counterparts in terms of giving a pleasing clack (though some may argue that they are significantly louder). There’s enough room between the keys to easily wipe between them, yet due to the curve of the keys, not all of my button presses landed properly. Applicants who type quickly should not apply.
The power switch is on the right flank of the board, and beneath it is a little bump atop the place where the AAA battery is stored—this protrusion also gives the board a slight slant. Overall, it’s a cheerful-looking board that will add a splash of color to your desktop.
The second selling point of the POP keyboard is a little more difficult to swallow. The board has five specialized emoji buttons that may be used to add a quick happy, a sobbing face, or a heart-eyed emoji to your boring writing. The board comes with four emoji keycaps already installed, and four more are provided in the box.
To be sure, the use and interpretation of an emoji has become increasingly divisive as time has passed. (Ask anyone under 25 if they’ve ever used the sobbing emoji in a non-ironic manner.) As a result, while the quick-access emojis may amuse some, they also take up important keyboard space for others. I tend toward the latter category as an emoji skeptic, wishing instead that they were standard macro buttons (which they can be, with some changes).
Although the jury is still out on whether the emoji buttons are actually useful, the POP keyboard has a lot of handy features. To begin, the keyboard may connect to your PC or other devices using the supplied Logitech Bolt USB wireless adapter or Bluetooth. The board can sync with up to three devices at once, and you can cycle through them by pressing one of the first three function keys.
Furthermore, the function-key row may manage the volume, bring up the snipping tool quickly, control media playing, and even provide instant speech dictation at the touch of a button. In the Logitech Options app, you may change all of these settings.
Options from Logitech: Not Enough, Well, Options
The Logitech Options app’s additional functions are regrettably restricted as a center for controlling your Logitech POP keys. Only the emoji keys and the bulk of the function keys may be adjusted and remapped with it. (The first three are used to transfer signals between devices.) Instead of the emoji represented on the keycap, you can set alternative emoji-key shortcuts for accessing specific apps like WeChat, but the customization ends there.
Being confined to merely function keys and emoji buttons may be a deal-breaker for keyboard fans eager to remap their keyboards. If that’s your thing, a keyboard like the Razer Pro Type Ultra, a general-purpose mechanical keyboard with a slew of premium features you’d find on high-end productivity or gaming boards, including a slew of customization choices, is a better alternative.
If recreational gaming is what you’re after, the POP Keyboard can suffice, albeit its rounded keys, while attractive, aren’t stable enough for fast-paced action games. A game keyboard, such as the Asus ROG Falchion Wireless Gaming Keyboard, is a superior option.
The POP Keyboard touts strong battery life, with a promise of 36 months on one set of AAA batteries, yet we can’t help but wish the batteries were rechargeable.
It’s just a pretty, happy face.
The POP Keyboard is a simple, general-purpose keyboard that works well enough for emoji fans (and not speed typists). It will appeal to casual computer users, students trying to spruce up their workstations, and social media addicts who are always on the go. The bright, small board is pleasing to the eye and will impress…at first.
However, as you go deeper into the game, you’ll notice how limited the board is. The entry-level Drop ENTR Mechanical keyboard is a good option if you’re looking for a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard for under $100. The Razer Pro Type Ultra, if you’re prepared to spend a bit extra, offers both improved looks and expanded functionality. Otherwise, if you go for the POP, know what you’re getting: buy it for the aesthetic, and keep it for the smileys.