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Best Keyboards for HTPC (Top 3)
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If you’re in a rush, or don’t want to read the entire guide, then we’d like you to know that we have voted the Logitech K600 TV Keyboard with Integrated Touchpad and D-Pad as the best keyboard for HTPC! However, if you’re looking for something more compact and remote like, then the Rii 2.4GHz Mini Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad is an excellent choice!
Home Theater PCs (HTPC) are an integral part of any modern living room. They combine style and convenience with great multimedia capabilities. But this begs the question: Are you really going to keep using a remote to control an HTPC? Why not get a keyboard with much more functionality? This is why we have compiled a list of the best keyboards for HTPC!
Choosing the best keyboards might be tricky. A product might seem great on the surface but you’ll end up running into problems later on. For example, someone who has long nails prefers low profile mechanical keyboards, whereas someone who is budget conscious may want to go for a keyboard under $50. Similarly, for finding the ideal HTPC keyboard, there are a couple of essential features you want to look out for.
Firstly, you need a keyboard with a strong and stable wireless connection. You’re likely going to be using the keyboard some distance away from your machine. So, a good wireless performance that holds up as the years go by is crucial. Nothing is more infuriating than a poor connection.
Another important thing to consider is the battery life. If you find yourself plugging the keyboard setup more often than you actually use it, then that’s a problem. No one likes a device that runs out of fuel at the worst possible time. That’s why a good battery life is important. This is especially true if you play games such as osu, you don’t want to run out of juice in the middle of a gaming session right? It also ensures that the device will last long. In many cases, battery life is tied to the longevity of the device. You might even have to make fewer battery related repairs.
Lastly, you should consider the size and key layout. Depending on your preferences, you might like a small or a large-sized keyboard with different layouts. People with arthritis or carpal tunnel need to be super careful when choosing keyboard since they require a special layout, similarly, accountants or finance professionals prefer a keyboard with an elaborate number pad for Excel. Feel free to explore and pick the one that works the best for you. Always look to limit arm strain so you can type comfortably. Other “nice-to-haves” would be a touchpad or LED/RGB backlighting. While not essential, a trackpad is always nice to use. Backlighting will ensure you can use your keyboard in the dark. It’s all important for those late-night binge sessions!
All things considered; we’ve made a curated list about the best keyboards you can get for your HTPC. Read on to find out!
Top Keyboards for Home Theater PCs [Reviews]
Logitech K830 Illuminated Keyboard
The Logitech K830 looks sleek and modern with its minimalistic look. It’ll pair up well with any home entertainment system. It has a 10-meter Bluetooth/Wireless connection range. It’s not amazing but it’s certainly good enough. The keyboard layout is quite good – you’ll find all your usual keys along with some nice function buttons. These function buttons open up new doors for convenience. You can play/pause, drop out of video playback mode, adjust screen brightness, and a lot more. You’re well set in terms of media and shortcut keys that are easily accessible.
Next to the keys, you’ll find a trackpad. Unlike other options on the market, this one comes with dedicated mouse click buttons. The trackpad itself is fairly standard, if unremarkable. You won’t find laptop levels of responsiveness, but it certainly gets the job done! A great addition.
This keyboard really shines when we take key responsiveness into account. Pressing the keys and typing on this keyboard is a great experience. The keys have good finger distance and reach for comfortable use. On top of that, the keys are backlit with adjustable levels of brightness. That means, you can use the keyboard in the dark. This is a great feature if you’re in a dimly lit “movie theatre” kind of setting. However, the function keys are not backlit which might be a problem for some users. Battery life is good enough that you don’t have to plug it in every now and then. It should last you more than a day even with heavy use.
Logitech K600 TV Keyboard
The Logitech K600 is an excellent keyboard for any user. It’s practically tailor-made for the living room thanks to its small footprint, lightweight design, and intuitive layout. Like most Logitech products, the K600 looks great with the matte black finish. Where it excels is in wireless performance. The keyboard has a wireless range of up to 15 meters which is more than enough for most households.
The connection is secure and strong – you can operate the keyboard even when there are obstructions. Touch latency and input lag is about as low as can be with Bluetooth technology. You can easily switch between up to three devices with just the press of a button. That means you can use this keyboard with your PC, Smart TV or even Android/iOS devices.
The keys have rounded edges and are satisfying to press down. They are smooth, responsive, and perfect for users who want to type without any strain. It’s also great for people who are used to touch typing. But the positives don’t end there. You’ll find a high precision trackpad as well as a D-pad on this keyboard.
The trackpad is a joy to use and makes scrolling through long lists much easier. The D-pad is great for navigating the traditional grid layout of most smart TV menus. Conveniently placed media keys allow you to adjust the volume, screen brightness, and many more options. Lastly, the battery life is excellent and will likely last you a long time if you take care of your keyboard.
Rii K18 Plus Wireless Keyboard
The Rii K18 Plus is probably the closest you can get to a desktop keyboard layout. It’s essentially the same, except the numpad has been swapped out for a trackpad. Combined with 3 LED backlighting, this layout has been a hit for many users who want a more robust and full-fledged keyboard. The backlighting is bright enough to be used in dim to moderate light and you can easily adjust the brightness.
The trackpad is huge, allowing you to drag your fingers much more comfortably. However, the responsiveness may be a hit or miss. Sometimes, it works amazing. Other times, it can get finnicky. Nonetheless, the large sized trackpad is a great addition. Wireless performance is fairly standard. You might run into problems with obstruction and longer ranges. But the Rii K18 gets the job done for most home users.
The Rii K18 has great keys with a smooth font and the perfect size. Most people will find typing on this device very familiar. That’s because it tries to emulate the laptop typing experience. For the most part, it gets that right. This is a great feature that sets the Rii K18 apart from the competition.
If you’re looking for a keyboard with all the functionality that you might need, then this is it. The media controls are also placed in the right spots and offer much needed convenience. While they are not backlit, the keys are bright enough to be seen in dim lighting. Battery life is alright, although some users have reported great performance while others have shared mediocre experiences.
iPazz Port Bluetooth Mini Wireless Keyboard
The first mini wireless keyboard on this list comes from iPazz. It’s a solid offering with a smattering of features that will appeal to any user. You can think of this keyboard as the “jack of all trades”.
At first glance, the layout might seem overwhelming as there are too many keys in a tight space. But you’ll quickly get used to it thanks to the ergonomic and intuitive design. Once you pick it up, your thumbs and fingers will naturally gravitate to the necessary keys.
There is a standard D-pad for grid navigation as well as dedicated buttons to emulate mouse clicks. While the trackpad is quite small, it’s responsive enough and most users will not complain about the added feature.
You won’t find laptop grade keys on this keyboard. The keys might be small but are a joy to type on. They are very clicky and great for thumb typing. If you are familiar with a game controller or a remote, then you’ll feel right at home. You don’t have to place the device on your lap or a flat surface for smooth typing. Just holding it like a controller is more than enough.
The backlighting has three different colors for you to choose from. It’s decent enough for most lighting environments and most users haven’t had any complaints. While the device comes with IR learning, setting it up is a bit complicated. If you’re willing to bear through with it, it’s a handy feature. Battery life is good enough for most users as well.
Rii 2.4GHz Mini Wireless Keyboard
The last keyboard on this list is the Rii 2.4 GHz Wireless Keyboard, another one from Rii and also comes in a mini package. The design on this newer model has been upgraded from the previous black and white scheme, giving it a more modern look. Definitely a big upgrade, it all comes down to preference though, some users prefered the older classic look, but we think this one is a lot more appealing!
In terms of performance, this keyboard offers amazing value! It has a wireless range of 25 meters which is stellar for a mini keyboard. Much like the iPazz Port, you can use this device like a controller by holding it in your hands. It is also backlit and the keys are in the QWERTY format, great to type on, especially with your thumbs.
The keyboard comes with two D-pads. The touchpad supports multi finger functions, so you can do single clicks for a left mouse click and double for a right. The design is great, it looks almost as if it were a game controller!
The touchpad at the top is fairly responsive, and there is quite a lot of space for you to navigate. However, it an excellent DPI adjusting feature. This is a boon for users who like to tweak the sensitivity of their touchpads. It also has a built in rechargable battery which can easily last for about a month, so you do not have to worry about battery replacements at all!
What sets this device apart is the mousepad which works just like the ones on a nice laptop! This is an extremely rare feature that we have not seen on most HTPC keyboards. Over all, a great durable, small sized HTPC keyboard that is packed with a bunch of different functions at a very affordable price.
We’ve looked at five different HTPC keyboards on this list. Each of them has its unique perks and benefits that will suit a different type of user. However, there are three that we are putting forward as our top recommendations.
Firstly, the Logitech K600 is a tried and tested product with great reliability, convenience, and performance. It has the longest wireless range of all keyboards on this list as well as the strongest connection. This is excellent for users who prefer low latency or have furniture and corners that might act as obstructions. The trackpad is very responsive and the keys are extremely light and fun to type on. On top of all this, the battery life is great too. While there’s no backlighting, we feel it’s a worthy trade-off for all the features you are getting.
Next comes the Rii K18 Plus Wireless Keyboard. If you’re looking for a full-fledged keyboard typing experience in your living room, then it doesn’t get better than this. The keyboard has beautiful 3 color backlighting that makes the device great to look at and easy to use in most lighting conditions. The keys are large, tactile, and nice to type on. While the trackpad is huge and offers good real estate for users, the responsiveness may vary. The battery life is also not remarkable. But these are minor inconveniences for the powerful typing you can get done on this device.
Lastly, the Rii 2.4 GHz Mini Wireless Keyboard packs a huge number of features in a small footprint. Unlike the iPazz Port, the layout is intuitive and clean for most users to understand and easily pick up. The keys are great for thumb typing, the added mouse pad feature and the rechargable battery with excellent life really set this device apart. For many, this is a great keyboard to have.
All things considered; our top pick goes to the Logitech K600. It ticks all the boxes and doesn’t try to go out of its way to include gimmicky features. It has all the functionality you will ever need. Whatever the device tries to do, it does it better than any on this list. You won’t go wrong with the K600.