The Logitech Pop Keys keyboard caught my eye in a Staples a few weeks ago. It’s a hard keyboard to miss — sporting odd circular keycaps like some old-school typewriter along with fancy colour palettes and dedicated emoji buttons, it really stands out. Plus, it’s a mechanical keyboard — which is even better, in my books.
As MobileSyrup’s resident keyboard
fan addict, I knew I had to test out the Pop Keys. So I began a quest to get my hands on it since the Staples I visited only had a display for the keyboard and didn’t actually have any available for purchase.
Fast forward to now and I’ve got my fingers dancing across a Pop Keys in the ‘Blast’ colour. I’m a big fan of the aesthetics, although my wife thinks the purple/green ‘Daydream’ and pink ‘Heartbreaker’ colours look better.
Circular keycaps could be a dealbreaker for serious typists
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the circular keys. As much as I like the look of these keycaps, I find them more difficult to type on. Maybe that’s a product of muscle memory — I do spend the vast majority of my day plunking away at my keyboard, so it’s entirely possible that the sudden shift from square to rectangle keys is too much for my brain.
That said, it’s something to keep in mind for any dedicated typists out there. If you’re comfortable venturing out to a store like Staples, it might be worth going and trying the keyboard out on the store display before committing to a purchase. What good is a keyboard if you can’t type on it?
Speaking of typing, the Pop Keys use a ‘brown’ mechanical switch, according to Logitech’s website. Looking closely at the switches themselves on the keyboard, they appear to be ‘TTC’ switches. I haven’t heard of them, but after some quick Googling, I learned that the switches are similar to Cherry MX switches, ranging from “mediocre” versions of Cherry counterparts to “slightly better,” depending on who you ask.
Regardless, I like the feel, but if you’re a fan of more tactile switches, these might not be for you. The keys aren’t nearly as loud as the Cherry MX Blue switches in my Durgod board. While my wife likely doesn’t miss the relentless clacking coming from my home office, I do. Unfortunately, Logitech doesn’t offer an option on its site to customize the switches if you don’t want the browns that come with the Pop Keys board. The keyboard itself almost looks like the switches can be removed, but I don’t think they are (and I didn’t try out of fear of breaking something).
One other frustration is the lack of adjustable height options. The Pop Keys board has one position, like or not (I liked it, for what it’s worth, but many likely won’t).
Pop Keys will work with Windows and Mac
Flipping over to the features, the Pop Keys sits somewhere between a typical tenkeyless (TKL) board and a 65 percent keyboard like the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed. It features a full set of function keys but no numpad. As usual, the function keys pull double duty, with F1-F3 letting you switch between three connected devices. F4 will minimize all your windows, F5 handles Print Screen functionality, F6 is a mic mute button and F7 through 12 cover playback and volume controls. Additionally, the Pop Keys board is set up to work for either Windows or Mac, sporting dual function Option/Windows and Command/Alt keys.
There’s also a small group of dedicated keys on the right side, one for activating voice commands in Windows (you can also do this by pressing Windows+H on any keyboard) and a set of emoji keys.
The speech shortcut was neat, more because I had no idea that Windows even had a voice typing system like this. However, I don’t see myself using the shortcut to voice type often. I also found the placement annoying, since I often missed the backspace key and found myself hitting the voice shortcut instead.
Limited emoji keycaps, unlimited software capabilities
As for the dedicated emoji keys, they’re nice to have, but I can’t help but feel like there are more useful options. For example, I’d love a dedicated Print Screen button for capturing screenshots. The Pop Keys gives you four emoji keys and a fifth to bring up Windows’ emoji picker. Of the five keys, the emoji picker was far more helpful since I can never remember the Windows keyboard shortcut for summoning the emoji picker (its Windows+Period for those who don’t know).
The four default emoji are 😍😭😄😂 and the board comes with four extra keycaps for 👍❤️🙏 and 🔥. You can customize which emoji show up when you press these keys using the Logitech Options software and even have different emoji sets for different apps. However, if you want the key function to match the keycap, your options are limited to the eight provided keycaps. Alternatively, you can bind the emoji keys to other functions if you don’t want the emoji, but if you’re doing that, why spring for the fancy emoji keyboard at all?
Along with the Pop Keys, Logitech has a matching Pop Mouse. Matching aesthetic aside, there’s not much going for the mouse. It’s not very ergonomic, which made it an instant write-off for me. That said, it would work fine for both right- and left-handed people, and it even has a remappable third button below the scroll wheel (Logitech says it’s for emoji, but I can think of several other functions that would be better). Beyond that, the Pop Mouse is a generic Bluetooth mouse with some fancy colours.
A decent mechanical keyboard with a unique look
Finally, Logitech says the Pop Keys is good for 50 million keystrokes and has three-year battery life. The keyboard takes two triple-A batteries. I haven’t had the keyboard for nearly long enough to test that claim, but it will definitely vary depending on your usage. I would imagine there will be differences based on how long you use it each day, how diligent you are about switching the keyboard off when not in use and whether you use it with a Bluetooth connection or the included wireless USB dongle.
With all that said, I think the Pop Keys is a great little mechanical keyboard for any fans of the circular key aesthetic. It’s not the best mechanical board I’ve used, but some of its biggest flaws are easy to forgive if you like how it looks. Some people will love the included emoji keys, but for me, they’re not a selling point.
The Pop Keys start at $129.99 in Canada, but there’s also a $189.97 (on sale at time of writing, regular $209.97) bundle if you want the matching $49.99 Pop Mouse and $29.99 Logitech desk mat. You can view that on the Logitech Store.