My First Ergonomic Keyboard! Logitech Ergo K860 Review
What is an advanced ergonomic keyboard? Well it’s a keyboard designed to minimize muscle strain and compliment a comfortable posture for people who spent a dangerous amount of time typing in front of a screen. Now there are different types of ergonomic keyboards on the market, and here’s a quick glimpse of what some of them look like.
What I’m interested in is a split keyboard and the reason for that is that today Logitech is announcing the new Ergo K860. They designed it to offer a natural typing experience while also delivering all the wireless features Logitech is known for. Now this is my very first ergonomic keyboard and I’ve spent quite a while testing it. After having used it extensively I’ve got to admit I might end up ditching my entire mechanical keyboard collection, because this is the most comfortable keyboard I’ve tried yet.
Pricing & Typing
All right, let’s get pricing out of the way. It’s $130 USD, which is actually a lot. In fact, it’s $30 more than the Logitech MX Keys, which is another one of my favorites. When you compare that to other split ergonomic keyboards, it’s also way too expensive. Now I’m not an expert when it comes to reviewing ergonomic keyboards, as I mentioned earlier this is my very first ergonomic keyboard, so naturally I was concerned about a few things, especially the curve of the keyboard.
So how long does it take to comfortably type on a split layout without making a thousand errors typing up a sentence? Also, is it really something that’s worth considering if you value your typing experience? Let’s begin with the learning curve. Believe it or not, I picked up my pace after spending just a few hours with this keyboard, but that might not be the same for you. I gave Mike the chance to get used to this keyboard, but he still hasn’t quite adjusted to it yet. In fact, he just straight up told me that this isn’t a keyboard for him and that’s okay. I don’t constantly look down at my keyboard for letters when I’m typing up something since I have memorized most of the key positions. Mike, on the other hand, is not a touch typist because sometimes he uses his left hand to hit Y and the right hand to hit B.
The problem here for him is the split design, because the keys are separated and he has to look down for guidance. I still make a few errors here and there, with B and N, because they are spaced wider compared to the other rows. However, that goes to show that I don’t have all the keys memorized in my head. Some people take typing courses and overtime they become touch typist, meaning they don’t have to look down for guidance because they are basically programmed with key positioning and it’s muscle memory. We have verified with a typist that they can easily adjust to another keyboard within a matter of a few minutes. If you fall into that category you don’t have to worry about getting used to this new layout coming from a standard keyboard.
Hard to go Back
Having said that, I have to warn you that going back to a standard keyboard takes even longer to readjust if you’re not a touch typist. I’m already starting to have issues typing on my notebook, I’m definitely making more typos than before and that freaks me out. Not to mention we review a lot of hardware and keyboards fall into that category, so if I were to switch to another gaming mechanical keyboard for review it’s going to be challenging to get used to the standard layout. I know it seems odd, but it is true.
Ergonomics & Comfort
Now let’s switch gears and talk about ergonomics, because this is where things get a lot better. If you pay close attention to the center portion of the frame, you’ll notice that the keyboard is slightly curved and elevated. This was done to promote a natural posture when typing, while also reducing pronation of your wrists. If you take a standard keyboard for instance, it’s a flat surface with a bunch of keys on it, and when you’re preparing to type you naturally rotate your wrist to adjust to that flat surface. This can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and a whole list of other strain injuries for a lot of people. I have certainly experienced this in the past when I’m glued to a screen for days editing a video or typing up a script. I really haven’t paid close attention to these issues until I started using the Ergo K860, because this keyboard sort of helped me reevaluate the way I use peripherals to get work done. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that, because this keyboard offers a supreme experience when typing without applying any stress to your muscles and it’s just perfect. Another thing I noticed is that my wrists were not deviating that much when compared to typing on a standard keyboard. My wrists are sitting still while my fingers are doing all the work, and this is thanks to that split keyboard design.
The other comfort factor is the wrist rest, and I cannot emphasize enough that it makes a world of a difference when you’re typing for hours. Logitech has made a few tweaks with this model, you get the standard memory foam along with a higher density foam on top, followed by a stain resistant and easy to clean fabric. Take my word for it, it’s really comfortable. Now keep in mind that this wrist rest is not detachable, and I’m okay with that because you need to find a place to rest your hand’s thenar and hypothenar muscles in order to comfortably type on this keyboard in the first place. The downside is that this is a pretty big keyboard, especially when compared to something compact like the Logitech MX Keys. I’m also a little worried about the wear and tear of this wrist rest, because given that it’s attached to the keyboard I’m not really sure how long it is going to last due skin oils and just daily wear. If it gets completely worn out then you might have to end up replacing the entire keyboard because it is just a one piece unit.
Right underneath the palm rest Logitech has implemented palm lift, which comes in two step increments. It comes in handy when you’re typing in a standing position, just so you get that optimal straight hand posture with the increasingly popular sit stand desk. I’m planning on investing in a sit stand desk in the future, so I will most definitely be taking advantage of this palm lift adjustment.
Keys & Features
The keys on the Ergo K860 are great. It uses the same mechanism as the MX Keys, so you get a solid, fast, and pretty tactile experience, with a respectable amount of travel distance. I love the fact that they kept it low profile. However, there is one big problem, and that is that this keyboard does not have LED backlighting. This is really odd, because if you look at the MX Keys that cost $30 less, it comes with smart backlighting and ambient sensors. The lack of this feature is certainly going to be a deal-breaker for a lot of people out there. Having said that, Mike brought up a valid argument, if you’re a touch typist you wouldn’t necessarily be interested in backlighting because you wouldn’t need to look down for guidance, but I guess that’s a topic for another day. Really they should have included LED backlighting in this keyboard in the first place, because at $130 USD not including that feature is really a missed opportunity or a cost-cutting effort from Logitech, and I’m disappointed in that.
Coming back to the basics, I liked the design of the Ergo K860. The graphite colour matches really well with the Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, and I like the contrast the palm rest offers. The keyboard layout is essentially a copy and paste from the MX Keys. Literally every single key is the exact same minus the split in the center. You still get a numpad pad, which is cool. This is a wireless keyboard and it runs off of two AAA batteries. Now you might be thinking to yourself, well that’s kinda dumb, but I’m actually okay with that because battery life is supposed to last for up to two years. That’s great longevity and it makes sense because you don’t have LED backlighting or any smart fancy ambient sensors. The replaceable batteries also means that you don’t have to worry about a charging cable. The keyboard can be paired via low energy Bluetooth or the unifying receiver, so it’s a very simple plug-and-play solution. By the way, it is compatible with both Windows and Mac. It’s still features Easy Switch, meaning you can switch between three different devices instantly. Also, it has Logitech Flow support, and if you recall reading my MX Keys review you know how much I love that feature. When having to work with multiple systems this set of features is pretty amazing.
The last thing to go over is the driver software. It’s very simple, just like we saw with the MX Keys and the MX Master 3. As you can see, I’ve paired all three devices using one unifying receiver and it works flawlessly. Jumping into customization, you can program the top function row to any command that you desire, and there is a load of options that Logitech has pre-coded already. You can also switch the F1 to F12 keys to standard mode and you can check battery status at the bottom.
Who’s this for?
The two final questions that needs to be answered are who is the Ergo K860 targeted towards and should you consider upgrading to it? If you’re someone thinking about switching from a standard keyboard to an ergonomic keyboard, skip this one. At $130 USD it is just way too expensive for an experiment, because you can spend a lot less on Amazon and try out an ergonomic keyboard to see how you like it. The learning curve might take a while to get used to, and you might even not end up liking it at all, so that would be a little disappointing if you had decided to pick the pricey Ergo K860. In my opinion, it would be best to start with something basic, see how you like the style and the feel, and then maybe consider the K860 one or two years down the line.
Now if you are using an existing ergonomic keyboard, and if you’re thinking about upgrading to something with more features like Logitech Flow and wireless connectivity, then the Ergo K860 could be a great option. However, you need to consider a few things. For starters, it doesn’t come with LED backlighting, and I think that’s my biggest problem with this keyboard. Having said that, for touch typist it might not be deal-breaker. Secondly, as I’ve stated a few times, I also am not a huge fan of the price at $130 USD. It is just way too expensive. If you can find this keyboard on sale for less than a $100, then it is something that’s worth considering.
To conclude, do I see myself switching to this as my daily driver moving forward? Absolutely, because it’s just really comfortable to type on and I love the fact that you get a natural typing posture without stressing your wrists. That to me is definitely a welcome break from traditional keyboards. However, I am concerned about going back to a standard keyboard because if I’m reviewing a mechanical gaming keyboard in the next few weeks or something then it’s going to be a tough transition. Well that’s it for this review, let me know what you all think about Logitech Ergo K860. Is it something that you’re interested in? Also, if you are using an ergonomic keyboard right now, let me know what you are using and what your experience has been like.