I was perfectly happy with the Apple Magic Keyboard for the Mac, but when I built a new Windows-based PC machine I didn’t enjoy having to switch between two separate keyboards to control both computers at the same time.
In February 2020, I reviewed the Logitech MX Keys full size keyboard, and since then I never felt I needed to use the Apple Magic Keyboard again. It was soon put in a drawer, and the MX Keys keyboard became my go to keyboard for both my Macbook Pro and Windows PC. Over the last 19 months, the MX Keys has been a perfect solution for working with up to three separate computers or tablets. Its build quality, feel and battery life has been reliable over this period, but one thing I wished for was that it was smaller, just like the side of the Apple Magic Keyboard.
Well, Logitech has now released exactly this – the MX Keys Mini – which features the same great keyboard, but in a smaller mini form factor. Is this keyboard perfection? Let’s find out…
It comes in three colours – white and silver, pink, and this space grey graphite colour. There are also two models of the MX Keys Mini. The first is dedicated to the Apple Mac and iOS echo systems, and this disappointingly comes in just white and silver. The second model is the one I am reviewing in this video, which is an all around hybrid model for all platform systems – from Bluetooth enabled Macs, to PCs, tables and mobiles. The keyboard labels are slightly different to the Mac-centric model, the function and control keys have been switched over and the delete key has been swapped for a sleep button on the Mac model, but everything else including the default smart keys are the same.
In the fully recyclable box you get the MX Keys Mini keyboard, there is a short USB-C to USB-C cable and a bunch of paperwork, including warranties and how to dispose of the rechargeable battery at the end of this keyboard’s life. Written on the box there is a visual guide on how to get the keyboard setup.
On most Bluetooth enabled devices, it is as simple as switching on the already charged MX Keys Mini keyboard, then going into your Bluetooth discovery settings and selecting the keyboard from the discovered devices.
Once paired you can just start using the keyboard, wirelessly, and with the same level of quality and comfort as the full size MX Keys keyboard. For further customisation you will need to install the LogiOptions software onto your desktop. With this software you can check for firmware updates, customise the function keys that run along the top of the keyboard, change some more low level settings and set up hotkeys for use in certain applications.
The keyboard measures a little bigger than the Apple Magic Keyboard, on all sides, but more so in its overall height. If you like a little more tilt on your keyboard the MX Keys Mini might just be for you, as it rises a little higher than Apple’s own wireless keyboard.
It’s a lot heavier than the Apple Magic Keyboard, but I prefer that, as it makes it harder for the keyboard to move or be nudged around the desktop surface. The extra weight is mostly due to its materials, which is a mix of aluminum and plastic, and the big battery that takes up the width of the rear rising bar of the keyboard.
Battery Life & Charging
This battery helps power the keyboard for up to 10 days with the backlit keys enabled or 20 weeks with the backlit keys turned off. Logitech has built in hand-proximity sensors that detect when your hand is near to the keyboard and illuminate the keys, and there is also an ambient sensor that will adjust the backlit keys to the lighting in your room, and as a result, also save battery life of the keyboard.
Charging the MX Keys Mini is done with the supplied USB-C cable or any other USB-C charging cable that you might have connected to a power supply or powered USB-C port. The LED on the top of the keyboard keeps you informed of when the battery is running low and that the keyboard requires charging along with its charging status and when the keyboard has been fully charged. Sadly there isn’t a fast way on the keyboard to check on its battery levels, you have to resort to checking the battery icon in the LogiOptions app for this instead.
Just like the full size MX Keys keyboard, the keys sit slightly higher than the Apple Magic Keyboard, so they have slightly more travel to them. I personally don’t mind this, but I know some people prefer less key travel. The keys on the MX Keys Mini uses the more traditional, scissor mechanism. As a result, the keys depress firmly and give a good level of cushioning and return. To press (or miss-press) any key on the sides or edges still depresses the key firmly, making for fewer mistakes or miss-typed characters when touch typing or typing fast.
Being a hybrid keyboard, the keys themselves have a mix of Mac and PC characters and functions labelled on them. This may make them look a little cluttered, but when you create a keyboard that can juggle between operating systems, this is acceptable. Again, any seasoned typist isn’t looking at the keys on the keyboard most of the time. The top smart keys on the MX Keys Mini is a little different to the full size version, in that a few key smart keys have been replaced with a few new additions.
The three top left smart keys from the full keyboard carry the ability to easily switch to a different system – be it another Mac, PC, tablet or mobile. Holding down these keys will initiate the Bluetooth pairing function, whilst a simple tap will switch over to them instead. But with the first three smart keys being used to swap systems, we lose out on many of the smart function keys from its bigger brother.
The first function keys to go are the two display brightness buttons, which isn’t a problem if your connected monitor display doesn’t offer this functionality. Mission Control, LaunchPad and Show Desktop have also been removed on the Mini; and in their place Logitech has chosen to replace these with Dictation, Emjoi keyboard, Screen Grab, and Microphone mute functions instead.
Personally I am not too happy about some of these function choices, but for people that specifically use these functions I am sure you might be jumping with joy right now. But for me, because of these now redundant functions, the Mini keyboard also loses its previous and next audio buttons, and only a sultry play and pause button remains, which for me is a terrible omission if you listen and navigate music apps a lot like I do. As I said earlier, it isn’t the end of the world, because you can swap the functionality of these function keys, and that is exactly what I have done to get my audio keys back.
So is it keyboard perfection? Well, there is a lot to like from the Logitech MX Keys Mini keyboard, it does everything the full size keyboard does, but it achieves this in a much nicer, and more compact footprint, and with the same level of battery performance as its bigger brother. It does come with a few compromises; such as the loss of the numeric keypad for easy number entry, and as you have heard, I am not a big fan of the revised smart function keys – however with the LogiOptions software I am able to remap the ones I know I will not use.
My final concern is the price. The Mini cost the exact same as the full size keyboard, at $99 or £99 from Amazon, and this is a little more than Apple’s own compact wireless Magic Keyboard. So the price is a little confusing. Personally I think the sweet spot for this Mini keyboard should have been slightly less, at around $75 / £75, or increase the price of the full-size version. Either way, you have to think about all the extra functionality that the MX Keys offer you, over Apple’s own. The price of this keyboard may be high for some, but its features and quality is certainly justified. If you are looking for a solid keyboard to juggle between different systems or even an alternative replacement to an Apple Magic Keyboard, then I would certainly recommend that you give the Logitech MX Keys Mini your consideration.
0:00 – Intro
0:18 – Brief overview
2:11 – Unboxing
2:26 – Installation
2:53 – Customisation software
3:10 – Comparisons to Apple Magic Keyboard
4:09 – Charging and Battery life
4:37 – Typing comfort
5:32 – Smart Keys
7:10 – My Impressions