I am squarely in Logitech’s sights with its latest release: the $149.99 Logitech MX Mechanical Mini keyboard for Mac. I spend all day working on a MacBook Pro using an external keyboard, I far prefer the tactile feedback of mechanical keyboards, and I am frustrated by the fact that virtually every mechanical keyboard in my collection is designed for Windows – so I have to keep remembering how to do macOS-specific commands with Windows-labelled keys.
Small Form Factor, Tactile Quiet Keys
I could go with either full-size or compact, but in this case we are looking at a mini keyboard minus the numeric keypad. This size is ideal for use in small spaces and is a heck of a lot easier to stuff in a backpack if you’re on a hybrid work routine or travelling.
Construction is very solid (it’s almost chunky) with an aluminum top case for strength. It’s also got some green credibility thanks to the use of post consumer recycled plastic (47% in my Space Gray review unit and 36% in the Pale Grey version).
Let’s talk about the keys. Logitech chose to go with low profile Tactile Quiet switches. They offer superior travel to chiclet-style keyboards, but the click is very muffled. Good for working in a shared space, but to me at least, less satisfying than the distinct clicking sound offered by most mechanical switches. It was comfortable to type on, and there are flip-out feet to raise the typing angle, but I do wish there was an option for clicker switches.
USB-C Charging, But Wireless-Only Operation
The MX Mechanical Mini for Mac charges using USB-C. Logitech says to expect a full day of use out of a 15 minute charge. Fast-charging may not seem like a priority for a keyboard with USB-C, but this one is wireless only. You don’t have the option of using it as a wired keyboard, so it had better charge quickly if you accidentally let the battery run down.
By wireless, Logitech is primarily looking at Bluetooth. There is no USB receiver in the box and the keyboard does not support the Logitech Unifying Receiver that many people might have lying around. Only the Logi Bolt receiver.
For the majority of buyers (most of whom would simply be using Bluetooth anyway), this should not be an issue, but it is something to be aware of.
Excellent Battery Life for a Backlit Keyboard, But..
I had mixed feelings about what I thought was one of this keyboard’s real strengths: battery life.
On a positive note, Logitech rates battery life at up to 15 days of use on a charge. And I was hitting those numbers. That may not seem like a lot (Apple’s wireless keyboards will go for months on a charge) but this is a backlit keyboard and that backlighting makes a world of difference. I’m accustomed to having to charge at the end of every week with my current wireless, backlit keyboard. Going three times that long between charges is amazing.
However, Logitech accomplishes this feat by using sensors to turn off the backlighting when your hands are away from the keyboard and turning down the brightness automatically based on ambient lighting conditions.
This, I didn’t care for, especially turning off the backlight altogether.
My problem is that I never learned to touch type, so I am always looking at the keyboard. I prefer dim lighting, so the backlight is important. And the way I work, I tend to type a few words or sentences, then pause for a few seconds to collect my thoughts. That pause is just long enough for the backlighting on the keyboard to turn off. I’ve been using this keyboard for several weeks now and ended up adopting a little wave or brush over the keyboard to wake up the backlighting before starting typing. Having to do so is annoying and over the course of a day that extra time adds up. I would gladly take a hit to battery life if I could set that timer for 15 or 20 seconds.
You can change lighting effects using the keyboard itself, and you can turn off backlighting altogether if you download Logitech’s Logi options software, but so far as I have been able to find, there is no way to stop the keyboard from automatically turning off the backlighting. Even if it were possible to adjust the amount of time before it shuts off, that would be a huge improvement.
Not everyone works the way I do, obviously, so the way this feature works may not be an issue at all for you.
Logitech has always done a good job of offering multi-device support, and the MX Mechanical Mini for Mac continues that tradition. You can connect up to three devices (Mac, iPad or iPhone) and switch between them at a push of a button with Easy Switch. It also supports Logitech Flow cross-computer features.
Logitech MX Mechanical Mini Keyboard for Mac Key Specs:
- Connectivity via Bluetooth
- White LED backlighting with smart power saving features
- Easy Switch connectivity between up to three devices
- Charges via USB-C with battery life of up to 15 days (up to 10 months with backlighting turned off)
- Works with Logi Bolt USB receiver (not included)
- Aluminum top case, plastic components include 36% to 47% post consumer recycled plastic (amount depends on color)
- Available in Space Gray and Pale Grey
- Includes USB-C to USB-C charge cable
- Flip out feet
- Power switch
- 12.30 x 5.17 x 1.02-inches, weighs 21.58 oz
- MSRP $149.99
The Logitech MX Mechanical Mini keyboard will be a welcome option for many Mac (and iPad) users — at least those looking for a small form factor, wireless, and/or mechanical keyboard. Having a Mac-native keyboard instead of having to remember the Mac equivalent of Windows keys is a big win. So is the two-week+ battery life, although that does come with a potential convenience cost. The deciding factor for fans of mechanical keyboards may well be whether the Tactile Quiet switches offer enough of a “mechanical” typing experience, or you want something a little clickier.
Disclosure: Logitech provided a keyboard for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review.