At just under a kilogram, the Logitech CRAFT lands on your desk with a loud thud. The latest 960g addition to Logitech’s already impressive lineup of productivity tools promises effortless precision for users willing to shell out the S$329 for it. How will this new contender fare amidst the ever-growing array of creative processing tools? Let’s find out.
First impressions are important, and the CRAFT starts off great with its premium looks and feel. The keyboard is nothing short of sturdy, and yet surprisingly sleek. It almost looks portable if you’re still into lugging keyboards that don’t fold on demand. Cleverly nested in the top right corner is the unassumingly simple power switch, accompanied by a single Type-C port for direct USB connection. (Plus points for future-proofing!) On further inspection, you’ll also find a few nifty tools such as dedicated screenshot and calculator buttons. My only qualm is the lack of adjustable leg stands. But really, it’s a minor quibble if you’re resourceful enough.
Speaking of impressions, the keyboard also features concave indents on its alphanumeric and navigation keys. They helpfully ease typing, and the indents also cradle nicely into your fingertips no matter your typing style. The keystrokes are practically whisper silent, and the individual buttons are held very firmly in place, without the wobble you see on cheaper quality keyboards. Unfortunately, the typing experience wasn’t as pleasing as initially thought, as the downward key travel felt extremely shallow at 1.8mm and just doesn’t give quite the same amount of satisfaction as button-mashing on a mechanical keyboard.
Now, on to the fun stuff. The dial, or as Logitech affectionately dubs, the Crown, is a marvelous little inclusion you’d want to turn your hand to. With a little setup, you can easily configure what the Crown does when you touch, turn, or press down on it. Download Logitech Options if you don’t already have it, and you’re good to go.
Setting up on the JARVIS-esque interface is as simple as literally choosing an action and selecting what that translates to. The Crown also cleverly adapts to whatever application you have active, contextually changing its functions as you switch between your tools. For example, on Adobe Photoshop, the Crown allows you to manipulate opacity, saturation, layers and even lets you cycle through your history panel. On Illustrator you get to adjust brush stroke, width, and colour. It’s pretty nifty too on Microsoft Office, letting you quickly scale text and image size, but as I’ve said before, it isn’t my go-to keyboard for day-long typing.
My personal favourite though is the ability to tab switch on web browsers. If you’re a procrastinating FOMOer like me, you will know the pain of having to Ctrl+Tabbing through all your browser tabs one by one. The Crown lets you do that faster, and even lets you go backward. Woohoo! No more moans of disquietude when you tab forward one too many.
That said, I have mixed feelings about the Crown’s startlingly camera-shutter-like feedback. It’s a nice add-on but honestly, I’d have preferred something that sounded less disconcerting.
Moving on, another great aspect about the CRAFT is its integration with the FLOW wireless architecture – it has the ability to simultaneously link across up to three devices. Running a desktop and a laptop at the same time? Pair them both up with the CRAFT and you’ll be able to switch inputs between them effortlessly with the press of a button! No more playing pass-the-parcel between multiple computers.
As for battery life, the unit I received came pre-charged, and it’s still going strong after 3 days of moderate use. Sources mention battery life of about a week with the backlight turned on, and up to three months without. An LED on the top right warns if you’re critical.
As of writing, the CRAFT supports 7 applications – the big three from Microsoft Office, and four from Adobe’s Creative Suite. Or 8, if you count tab-switching within web browsers. It detects other applications like Telegram and Origin and but your options are still otherwise very limited. More may be in the pipeline, so keep your eyes peeled.
The CRAFT, albeit pricey, is worth consideration if you spend the majority of your day tirelessly manipulating the intricacies of multimedia. If you’re a designer on the hunt for a productivity tool that doesn’t come as a separate peripheral or takes a toll on your computer’s performance, then this might just be the thing for you.
Novelists and gamers who are all in for the typing experience may have to look somewhere else.
The Logitech CRAFT hits Challenger stores mid-September. Expect to see it in all other shops starting November.