A beautifully engineered wireless keyboard, and the dial is handy for creative tasks.
When you’re charging this much for a keyboard, the marketing team has its work cut out. While an official Australian RRP hasn’t been announced, the US price gives a fair indication it won’t be budget. See that knob embedded in the top left-hand corner of the Logitech Craft? That’s not a knob, my friends. Heck, it’s not even a Dial (™ Microsoft). This, ladies and gentleman, is a Crown.
As the Craft name suggests, Logitech want you to use that Crown for more than slamming up the volume in Spotify (although it can do that). Instead, Logitech has worked closely with Microsoft and Adobe to allow the Crown to control various features in the companies’ Office and Creative Cloud apps.
The usefulness of the dial varies enormously from application to application. In Photoshop, for example, the Crown can perform a huge number of convenient jobs. Open a photo and twiddle the dial and you can easily adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation of the image. Select the brush tool and the Crown options automatically change, allowing you to alter the size and hardness of the brush without having to swish your mouse towards the sliders at the top.
It’s not just handy for creative tasks, either. If you’re a numbers jockey, constantly doing battle with unwieldy Excel spreadsheets, the Crown provides the option to scroll horizontally across the worksheet. Click on a chart with your mouse, and you can use the Crown to scroll through different chart styles, colours and layouts.
In other apps, the Crown options are more frivolous. In any of the major web browsers, you can use the dial to scroll through open tabs, which doesn’t feel like the must-have feature I’ve been waiting to pay this much for. Word is hit and miss: I can’t think why I’d want to scroll through document Theme options or change the text justification with a scroll wheel, but selecting a paragraph of text and then being able to adjust the font size simply by twiddling the knob is convenient.
Disappointingly, none of the application features are customisable – the Crown can only be used to control those features pre-programmed by Logitech. And while the keyboard’s software offers to control apps beyond those of Adobe and Microsoft, no other applications worked in our tests. Logitech promises wider support is on the way.
You certainly can’t fault the build quality of the Logitech Craft. The Crown itself is pleasingly weighted and smooth, reminiscent of luxury hi-fi equipment. A gentle tap on the left-hand side of the Crown allows you to move from one option to the next in the unobtrusive on-screen menu that appears when you place your hand on the dial (see the screenshot below). And you can press down on the dial with a satisfying clunk to perform tasks such as pausing music.
The keyboard itself is excellent too. Each key is hollowed out to fit the contour of your finger, there’s the perfect amount of travel under each key and it’s immaculately spaced. I’m fussy about keyboards, but I was rattling away at full working speed after only a few hours with the Craft. It’s a solid slab of chrome, too – it feels expensive and it won’t slide away under the fingers of even the most furious typist.
My slight quibble is that the automatic backlighting, which is meant to kick in when your hands approach the keys, is highly erratic. Plus, for reasons unknown, the Craft refused to connect via Bluetooth on my Lenovo ThinkPad X1,; plugging in the supplied USB dongle did the trick, but I’d rather not sacrifice a USB port.
What of battery life? Logitech claims the keyboard will last seven days of solid 9-to-5ing between charges, and that seems about right from my observations.
After only a few days with Logitech Craft under my mitts, I’ve got a huge amount of affection for the keyboard. It’s lovely to type on and the Crown controls are genuinely useful in a number of everyday scenarios for people who make heavy use of Microsoft and Adobe apps. But I’d be hard-pressed to argue that it’s massively boosted my productivity or transformed the way I work. I’ll miss the Craft Keyboard when Logitech asks for it back, but not as much as I’d miss the money I’d need to shell out to replace it.