If you haven’t spilt a cup of coffee, wine or water over at least one keyboard, laptop or tablet computer, you’re not a proper worker bee in the knowledge economy. At the very least, someone you know has. Logitech is hoping these mishaps will encourage people to consider the K310, the company’s new washable — yes, washable! — keyboard.
On paper, the K310 is an excellent idea. The chiclet-style keyboard means each key not only standing alone but devoid of the slightly recessed panel that encases the keys on most regular keyboards. Instead, each key floats like the typewriter keys of old. This is great when typing as it serves as additional physical feedback.
It also gives the K310 a unique look, feel and — unfortunately — sound. The K310 is distractingly loud. It’s no doubt fine if you work in an office alone, wearing headphones, but in a shared space it really does clatter like a keyboard of old.
The keys are responsive and, although it’s not an especially slim profile design, the K310 is pleasant enough to the touch. All the basics are catered for — caps lock, number lock and the (in our experience) wholly superfluous scroll lock buttons are present along with their indicator lights.
Each of the K310’s function keys has an additional function as is standard with most keyboards today. Their functions are accessed using a function button sandwiched between the Alt and Ctrl keys on the right hand-side of the spacebar.
With the K310’s best feature being its washability, it’s little surprise that the end of its USB cable comes with a rubberised cover for bath time. The rear of the device warns against scrubbing brushes, dishwashers, water hotter than 50 degrees and wash times of more than five minutes, but despite these caveats we had no problem running the K310 under running water and giving it a gentle rub with a cloth. A bit of shake and it was ready to go again.
Beyond appealing to the accident prone, the K310 is intended for those who’ve made the mistake of reading articles like this one from the BBC that explore keyboard hygiene. Keyboards, it seems, are repositories for microscopic content from people’s noses and guts.
Keyboards, it turns out, can be dirtier than toilet seats; can allow the transfer of food-poisoning instigators like E.coli and staphylococcus aureus; and can generally make an ideal playground for all manner of germs and bacteria.
Shock tactics aside, even though the K310 appears to be as washable as the box would have us believe, it’s difficult to recommend. You see, it’s just not the best keyboard and as we’re going to spend far more time typing on it than washing it, that’s got to be a major consideration.
The sound and look of the K310 leave it feeling like a budget computer accessory and, although the ability to give it a quick scrub once in a while is appealing, at R599 it’s not enough of a feature to win us over. After all, one could buy two regular keyboards — one to use and one in case of a spill — with the same functionality, for roughly the same price. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media