With each iteration, the line that separates a "Smart TV" and a "computer" becomes more ambiguous. For someone who grew up in the era of CRT type TV and old school TV test patterns, Mr Bean's idea of a remote control still makes sense. Smart TVs is almost as functional as a computer, at the very least, it is on par with a tablet - it can browse the internet, run apps and connect wireless peripheral (mostly with ease). The remote control though seems to stay relatively constant, with more buttons, microphone and a keyboard that is homage to a Nokia phone pre-T9 keyboard.
The Logitech K600 Smart TV keyboard aims to make the smart TV work smarter with a full keyboard, touchpad and a D-Pad all in a svelte form factor.
The Logitech K600 feels solid in the hand, there is a distinct feel of a quality build and finish. It is a dark affair with a set of special keys in white on the left, the trackpad and D-pad are also in white which stands out.
Setup is simple. Plug the Logitech USB unifying receiver into the TV, pull the plastic tab that is stopping the batteries from contact, and visit the k600setup.logi.com website. Logitech recommends using the USB receiver for pairing with smart TV for up to 15m range.
According to the official Logitech product site, Smart TV compatibility is limited to:
- Samsung SUHD / UHD (Tizen - 2016+)
- LG OLED / SUHD / UHD (WebOS - 2016+)
However, the K600 setup site gives a lot more options:
- AndroidTV / FireTV (Sony BRAVIA, Philips and others)
- Chrome OS
- Android mobile devices
- LG TV (WebOS)
- Samsung TV (Tizen)
- Other TV Brand (YMMV)
For me, I have a Sony Bravia and the instructions was to hold the FN + 6 keys for 3 seconds. A tiny LED then comes on for 5 seconds to indicate that the setup is completed. A helpful little screen pops up to tell me that some apps don't support certain interactions for now.
The K600 can support up to two Bluetooth connections in addition to the USB unifying receiver. This can be done by holding either the number 2 or 3 keys for 3 seconds until the LED start to blink rapidly. This puts the K600 into Bluetooth discoverable state for 3 minutes. Again you will need to visit the K600 setup website to fully complete the configuration.
The TV remote is apparently the most magical item I own because it can go missing at a top of a hat and take forever to find. I am not apportioning blame to anyone, but I can have up to 4 munchkins at home ranging from 9 months to 11 years old so you can draw your own conclusions on that one. On the bright side the K600 can replace my remote control completely so now I don't have to resort to looking for the remote, or looking for my phone to work as a remote for that matter.
The left side of the K600 has a row of frequently used TV functions such as Home, Back, App Menu and Search. Above these four keys are the left and right mouse buttons. The touchpad is a decent size to work with.
The keys on the keyboard itself is not going to satisfy a keyboard warrior banging out War and Peace, it is noticeably smaller than a full sized keyboard. For the purposes of providing an input to a Smart TV, it is more than sufficient to mash out a bunch of password or type out a search term.
The unit was functional, mostly intuitive, and mostly works. I don't mean I had issues with the keyboard, but that picture above where it says "Please note some apps don't support certain interactions for now"? Take note. Somehow everything will work, it is just which combination of interactions is required to make it work. It does not take too long to figure out when say the touchpad does not work with Spotify, move over to the D-Pad.
Some of the Android TV apps were not fans of the enter key either. Just seems to be a quirk with some apps but not all. Then again I have ran into the same issue with a USB keyboard with some apps too.
The keys are not backlit, which makes it a bit of a problem when I am watching TV in a dark room.
Bearing in mind that all the stars have to align for every feature to work, the Logitech K600 is a pretty outstanding Smart TV Keyboard. I do wish there is better collaboration between a Smart TV manufacturer and Logitech to fulfil the potential this device has. The issues I have with my Sony Bravia are more a nuisance than a deal breaker, and when the remote goes missing, it is a saviour. It certainly makes keying information into a TV app a far more pleasant exercise.
The Logitech K600 Smart TV Keyboard is available here for AUD$99.95. It is not a bad investment to make considering it can connect to up to three devices including iOS.