Last month I brought you the 2021 PC Build article, which highlighted my choice of components for a brilliant work-from-home and gaming machine. Each component was carefully chosen to ensure an excellent balance between value and performance. But what about peripherals? If you are going to the effort of customising your PC in order to maximise your work-from-home experience, the right peripherals are an absolute must.
I’ve spent a couple of weeks putting a keyboard and mouse combination that is fast reaching legendary status through its paces – The Logitech MX Master 3 mouse and MX Keys keyboard. I wanted to find out if it lived up to the hype and provided the comfort and boost to productivity that I desired.
Disclosure: Logitech provided Blog of Dad with the MX Master 3 mouse and MX Keys keyboard for the purpose of review and ongoing use. Any thoughts expressed about Logitech products in this article are based on my own experiences. For more information, visit my disclosure statement.
Before I begin this review, I need to state that I am a huge fan of past Logitech products. They have found their way into many, many of my PC and gaming setups over the years, from keyboards to controllers, mice, speakers, remote controls and webcams. In my extensive experience, Logitech have consistently delivered products that sit in that most sweet spot where cost and quality meet. I call it the value sweet spot.
That being said, brand loyalty is not something I believe in. At all. In my consumer-oriented mind, I will seek to find the best value product with each new purchase. For the Logitech MX Keys keyboard and MX Master 3 mouse combination to stay permanently on my desk, it has to earn its place. Is it up for the challenge..?
Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys Keyboard – First Impressions
MX Keys Keyboard
The MX Keys keyboard is a thing of beauty. It has an almost sculptural aesthetic and certainly looks like it would be right at home on the desk of any professional or creative worker. Its low profile and minimalistic frame means that it takes up less desk space than many other options, while still retaining the full-sized keyboard layout that is still vital in many professions. There are no incline settings, so it is a one size fits all design. Logitech does produce an optional palm rest designed to go with the MX Keys, but in my experience the slimline nature of the keyboard means that my XL mouse mat provides a very comfortable wrist resting place for an excellent user experience.
The first thing I noticed when I removed the MX Keys from its box was the substantial weight. For such a beautifully slimline design, the MX Keys sure does pack some heft. As I have no intention of throwing it in a laptop bag regularly, I firmly believe this is a good thing. For starters, the weight is an indicator of the quality of materials used in the design. The one piece metal frame not only looks great, but it provides a solidity to the design that it extremely pleasing to use. There is very little flex in the keyboard, with the only movement coming from the pleasing bounce-back of the quality backlit keys.
Small rubber feet, combined with the pleasing weight ensure that the keyboard remains exactly where I place it on my desk, even during the most vigorous typing sessions.
The keyboard layout is reasonably standard, with no extra macro or stand-alone media keys as can be found on some fancy (and bulky) keyboards. Instead, there is a key that switches the functionality of the f keys between their traditional role and some useful pre-sets (including media control). Pressing the fn and esc keys can lock and unlock this functionality, which is a nice (and very useful) touch. There are a couple of interesting unique keys – more on them later.
In the box is the Logitech MX Keys keyboard, a USB-C cable, the Unifying USB Receiver and a quick start guide.
MX Master 3 Mouse
The Logitech MX Master 3 is equally impressive in the looks department as the MX Keys. Together they perfectly complement each other and make for an extremely professional-looking setup. I have spent more time than was strictly necessary for the purpose of this review admiring the new setup.
The MX Master 3 doubles as a nice desk sculpture when not in use, but the impressive form is actually a result of Logitech’s desire to perfect the function of the device. It is built to be comfortable to hold and use for extended periods, and to provide the hand with easy, natural access to the various functions on offer. There is no lighting on the MX Master 3, except for a small green light that communicates certain things when necessary.
The MX Master 3 has a well-balanced weight to it. Holding the MX Master 3 in my hand, I can tell that it has plenty of substance to it, however it glides beautifully over my mouse mat. Fatigue should not be an issue, even after extended use.
In the box is the Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, a USB-C cable, the Unifying USB Receiver and a quick start guide.
Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys Keyboard – Setup
Setup of both components was easy! I simply turned on the MX Keys and my PC’s inbuilt Bluetooth and then selected MX Keys in the Bluetooth menu. A prompt asks for a numerical code to by typed on the keyboard to confirm the pairing. Pairing was fast and the Logitech Options software installation window popped up shortly after. Interestingly, this doesn’t have to be installed for the MX devices to work, but it does enable the full functionality of each device so it is worth installing. Logitech does include a Bluetooth dongle with both the MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys keyboard, so on-board Bluetooth certainly isn’t a must have.
The Logitech Options software launches a useful tour of both the mouse and keyboard upon installation, which is great for understanding some of the unique productivity enhancements built into the devices. While I am usually one to skip though product tours, I did spend a bit of time familiarising myself with my new Logitech devices, especially the MX Master 3 mouse.
There are a lot of little functions that can dramatically speed up work flow built in to the MX Master 3 and they are custom-designed for many of the major applications on Windows PCs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Edge, Chrome, Photoshop and Premier Pro all have unique, pre-defined settings). Some of these functions have quickly become a natural part of my workflow, but I know that there are others that I haven’t yet mastered (excuse the pun). The tour is easily accessible by launching the Logitech Options software at any time, so I still sometimes jump back in and check it out.
Pairing Multiple Devices
Another feature of the Logitech MX series that elevates it to a level of usability beyond anything I’ve ever experienced from my peripherals is the ability to pair it with multiple devices. My experience with this has been flawless. After pairing the Logitech MX Master 3 mouse and MX Keys keyboard with my PC, I then turned on Bluetooth on my laptop and repeated the process. This time I held down the 2nd Easy Switch key on the MX Keys until it blinked. The MX Keys showed up immediately on my laptop Bluetooth and the same pairing sequence followed.
The MX Master 3 mouse has a small button on the underside that is used to switch devices. Pressing it made the 2nd pairing flash and again, the MX Master 3 popped up on my screen straight away.
Once connected, switching between devices is fast, easy and reliable. A simple tap of the appropriate Easy Switch button on the keyboard or base of the mouse makes it happen. The switch is fast, maybe about a second. Interestingly, particularly eager keystrokes are still recorded during the switch, resulting in the typed letters rapidly appearing after the brief lag. As I was so impressed by this, I played around with it quite a bit. As far as I saw, I never lost a letter. For those of us who occasionally need to work at frantic speeds in order to meet deadlines, that level of reliability is extremely welcome!
Logitech Flow Setup
But wait, there’s more! The real productivity trick of the Logitech MX Master 3 is an option called Logitech Flow. This is a multi-device game changer and it is impressive. Enable Logitech Flow on both devices and the MX Master 3 will move effortlessly between devices! I’ll speak more about my experience with Flow soon.
Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys Keyboard – Use
Like I said in the introduction, I have spent a good amount of time putting the Logitech MX combination through its paces. In fact, I am using it right now to type up this review! Word processing is a major component of my workday computer use, but I have also used the MX combo for spreadsheets, photo editing, internet browsing and even a small amount of gaming.
These peripherals are sold separately, but I’m writing this as if they are a bundle because they work so well together. And really, they are designed to complement each other perfectly – aesthetically and functionally. Of course, if you are looking to buy one and not the other, go right ahead. They have both proven themselves to be excellent products in their own right. But if you are looking to upgrade all of the hardware on your oversized mouse mat for productivity or creativity purposes then this combination is going to be hard to beat!
The thing that I first noticed when doing serious work on the Logitech MX combination was just how good it feels. Both the MX Master 3 mouse and the MX Keys keyboard have been designed to feel great even during sustained use.
The keys of the MX Keys feel solid and strong. They are gently contoured to enhance the tactile feel and improve user confidence in finger positioning. For a slimline keyboard, the keys have a great amount of travel and there is an audible click with each stroke. It is not enough to be distracting, but it is certainly reassuring. The keys also have a very pleasing bounce to them. They are extremely easy to press down and the bounce back almost feels as if is propelling my fingers on to the next key stroke. The end result is that I feel less fatigued after sustained writing.
The pleasurable typing experience is very welcome, as I was a little worried about moving to a slimline keyboard from my previous, traditional setups. In fact, the lowline nature of the MX keys enables me to rest my wrists comfortably on my XL mouse mat while I type and the enjoyable typing feel means that I’m not heading back in a hurry! The only thing that I have noticed is that I have had to get used to the slightly different position of everything. Initially, when typing I hit the wrong key more often than usual. However, it hasn’t taken long to adjust and the change has certainly been worth it.
The backlighting on the Logitech MX Keys is a great feature. Each key is clearly lit, which makes working in dark environments so much easier. Logitech have cleverly incorporated a proximity sensor that turns off the back light when no movement is detected and automatically turns it back on when your hands are near. It works very well and, importantly, conserves the battery life of the wireless keyboard.
Earlier, I mentioned that there are some relatively unique keys on the Logitech MX Keys Keyboard. The alternate keys to F3, F4 and F5, for example, are quick access to desktop views and notifications. Above the control keys (insert, home, page up) is a row of three buttons for quickly switching between connected devices. Next to that are dedicated calculator, screenshot, right click (with scroll lock as the alternate function) and a very handy screen lock key. For me, the screen lock key is my absolute favourite of these, as anyone with an adventurous toddler knows to lock their screen before walking away!
The MX Master 3 is just as pleasurable to hold and manipulate. It has a feeling of strength and quality to it, yet it glides effortlessly across my mouse mat. The slightly raised and angled hand position is comfortable during long sessions in front of the computer – something that is becoming increasingly important the older I get. The buttons are well positioned, although I am having to train myself to take advantage of the extra functionality on offer. It is sometimes too easy to rely on old inefficient habits and I have to remind myself that with the MX Master 3, there is often a better way.
Logitech MX Master 3 MagSpeed™ Electromagnetic scrolling
One feature that has been extremely easy to adapt to and intuitive to use is the improved scroll wheel. The clever design of the Logitech MX Master 3 means the scroll wheel can respond differently depending on how much force is used. Small movements of the wheel result in precise, line-by-line scrolling of word documents, articles, social media feeds and Excel documents. However, a firm flick of the scroll wheel sends a spreadsheet rapidly scrolling. Logitech states that the MX Master 3 can scroll 1000 lines in a second and in my experimenting that is pretty accurate. I did find that it was much easier to scroll down a page than up a page, due to the mechanics of moving my finger on the scroll wheel.
Logitech call this innovation MagSpeed™ Electromagnetic scrolling and it really is impressive. When moving slowly, the scroll wheel of the MX Master 3 provides pleasing tactile feedback through a ratchet type of mechanism. A good flick of the wheel and it automatically enters free spin mode, which enables the fast scrolling. Again, if have spent more time than is strictly necessary admiring (playing with) this.
A Mode Shift button directly below the scroll wheel enables the user to toggle between ratchet and free spin modes.
The second great innovation of the MX Master 3 that I have taken to immediately is the horizontal thumb wheel. Programs like Excel have always incorporated horizontal movement, but I am increasingly taking advantage of it in programs like OneNote as well. As the world moves beyond printing as the primary purpose of word processing, opportunities for increased productivity and innovative ways of collating or presenting information, incorporating horizontally, have opened up. It’s about time that the ability to scroll horizontally became a thing!
In different applications, the purpose of the horizontal wheel changes. For example, in Photoshop it defaults to adjusting brush size and in some browsers it is used to navigate between tabs (which is surprisingly useful).
Positioning the MX Master 3 is very precise, but again it took a little bit of use to “train” my hand when moving from my (also-excellent-but-for-different-purposes) Logitech G gaming mouse. For the first hour or two of use I occasionally overshot my mark. I assume that is just to do with the difference in weight, but I’m not really sure. Whatever it was, after a couple of weeks of use I now find that my cursor ends up exactly where I expect it to be.
Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys Keyboard – Battery and Charging
I have had the Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys Keyboard on my desk for a couple of weeks now, which I thought would give me enough time to gain some proper insight into battery life in regular use.
Well, as I write this I still haven’t needed to charge either the mouse or keyboard!
The Logitech website states that the MX Keys keyboard is good for 10 days on a single charge or 5 months with the backlight disabled. I have used a combination of both and the Logitech software informs me that the keyboard battery life is “good”. It doesn’t provide any more detail, such as a percentage, but I guess that level of battery management isn’t really necessary.
The MX Master 3 mouse is faring even better. It still registers as “full”. That shouldn’t come as a great surprise, considering Logitech state that the MX Master 3 can last up to 70 days from a full charge. Still, it’s nice to see the impressive claims about battery life reflected in my real-world experience. Will mine last 70 days? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m pretty sure that the time between charges is substantial enough not to bother me at all. Even better, If I’m ever caught out with a depleted battery on the MX Master 3 mouse, I can gain an extra three hours of use from just a one minute charge. That is handy!
Both devices come with a USB Type C cable for charging. I have only plugged one of them into my computer and so far the only action it has seen is charging my phone (which doesn’t live up to its battery life promises…).
Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys Keyboard – Logitech Flow
I can’t exactly describe the implementation of this as “perfect”, but it is really, really good. I’ll get the not quite perfect stuff out of the way first, because it really is minor (considering the good stuff that is about to follow). The biggest of these is a slight lag when switching from one device to another. This is understandable when you consider what is actually happening and not terribly inconvenient, but it is noticeable. The second slight issue is that the MX Master 3 doesn’t always register the attempt to move from one device to the other. This mostly happens when attempting to quickly switch back moments after a successful switch. It has occasionally resulted in a couple of moments of confusion as I attempt to locate my mouse pointer.
The final slight issue that I have noted was one time when my wife took the laptop to use while I was working on the main PC. After a few minutes my mouse cursor disappeared. After a couple of seconds of frantic waving, my wife called down the stairs, “I think you are controlling my mouse!” It has only happened once, but it did make me think that disabling Logitech Flow is probably a good idea when you are not using it. This takes seconds to do. As a side note, that experience did highlight some impressive reach for a Bluetooth connection as the laptop was upstairs and my townhouse is full brick with a concrete slab between us.
Now to the good stuff. Logitech Flow has the potential to be a productivity game changer for those who move between multiple devices in their work day. Despite the little quirks mentioned above, it does work. And it works well enough to be more than just a gimmick. Logitech Flow can genuinely streamline and simplify aspects of a multi-device setup.
The most simple pleasure of Logitech Flow is having a single keyboard and mouse for both my laptop and desktops. I use a dual screen monitor setup on my desktop, so by connecting the laptop via Flow I can now have a monstrous 3 screens of real estate. Despite the slight lag, it is still an effective way of working across the vast amounts of spreadsheets, documents and browser windows that I often have open simultaneously. The laptop can be positioned off any of the four edges of the desktop screens, so the flow of Logitech Flow is very natural.
More advanced (and arguably more beneficial to productivity) use comes in the ability to copy and paste from one device to the other. Simply use ctrl C to copy on one screen, then use the Logitech MX Master 3 to move to the 2nd device and press ctrl V. It is magic!
For a particular part of my workflow (editing images on one device to use on another), this is the brilliant simplification that I have been looking for. It is far faster and simpler than saving to a cloud solution or even the shared drive of my Synology NAS. I can just have the image exactly where I need it with minimum fuss. It’s the seconds that this process takes that add up to minutes over a work day and hours over a year, that make the investment in this setup so worthwhile.
The Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse is a brilliant creative/productivity mouse in its own right. Likewise the MX Keys keyboard is an outstanding peripheral that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Together, however, the Logitech MX combination is a thing of beauty – a pair of peripherals that impressively complement each other! The innovations embedded into the MX series go well beyond being cute gimmicks – they genuinely have the potential to streamline workflows and improve productivity. There is a small learning curve, but it is worth it. The key is to take the time to get to know each device and fully understand the benefits it brings. Beyond the innovative benefits, even in the most basic forms of use, the MX Master 3 and MX Keys combination is a joy to use. The high quality build and materials combined with great user comfort makes it hard to beat!