A great low profile mechanical keyboard designed for office productivity rather than gaming. Connect to your Mac, PC and iPad and switch between them at the touch of a button.
Price at review
Best prices today: MX Mechanical
Logitech makes pretty good keyboards. They’re a staple of our best keyboard lists, be it for Mac or iPad, because outside of Apple’s own keyboards, this is the safest bet. You almost always get something well built with good key actions and useful software features.
It seems odd then, with mechanical keyboards becoming all the rage among enthusiasts and home working has exploded in recent years, that Logitech mechanical keyboards are only available in the gaming-focused G-series.
With the MX Mechanical, the company is finally putting that right. Available in tenkeyless Mini ($149) and full-size ($169) variants, it combines the craftsmanship of the company’s mechanical gaming keyboards with its excellent productivity features and software. All in a more professional design that would be welcome in any office – at home or on the go.
For those who like to type
Mechanical keyboards become a thing lately. Tired of the shaky, low-travel keys on laptop-style keyboards (like Apple’s Magic Keyboard), avid users have flocked to good old mechanical click keys. Sure, they make more noise (even the quiet ones), but they to feel so much better, with more spring and that excellent click feel when the key is actuated. Gamers love it too, for its durability, faster response times and more intentional feel.
You can also replace the keycaps on many mechanical keyboards to make your keyboard look the way you want it. Logitech uses Kailh’s new low-profile Choc V2 switches in the MX Mechanical and is available in linear, tactile and clickable variants. I tested the tactile (brown) switches, which I think work the best to give you that intentional mechanical feel with a little less typing noise. The typing action is as good as you’d expect with a premium switch like this, with great response for a low-profile keyboard and minimal key wobble.
The Kailh Choc V2 uses the same round crosspoint stem as Cherry MX switches. This is probably the most popular stem design and it gives you the best options for aftermarket keycaps (Logitech does not make alternative keycap sets available). But be warned, regular keycaps don’t work well on low-profile switches. They do technically work, but with the shorter keystroke, they will hit the keyboard deck all the time. Low profile keycaps compatible with the Cherry MX stem are harder to find but should work fine on the MX Mechanical.
Made for work, not gaming
While you can of course use this keyboard when playing games, it was purposely designed for office productivity.
That means no macro keys or macro programming in the included Options+ software, although I hope this comes in an update. The Fn keys have keyboard shortcuts, including mic mute, emoji, and dictation, along with staples like brightness, key brightness, and volume.
As with most keyboards these days, you can access normal function keys by holding down the “fn” key. The MX Mechanical lets you lock this down by pressing fn and Esc, which will be welcome to programmers and others who find themselves wanting to press F8 a lot more than muting their mic.
Speaking of keys, they’re backlit in a single white color, which goes well with the two-tone graphite keyboard (it’s not available in other colors). There are seven levels and six different effects, so you can create a small nice, but not nearly as much as an RGB keyboard. Logitech built the deck with a proximity sensor, so the backlight turns off when your hands leave the keyboard for 30 seconds and turns back on as soon as they get close again. An ambient light sensor also adjusts the brightness of the backlight: dimming when there’s not much light and brighter when sunlight streams in through your office window.
It’s all in the service of longer battery life. Logitech says you can expect about 15 days of normal use with the backlight on and 10 months with the backlight off. I left the backlight on, but kind of turned it on low, and the battery only dropped from 100 percent to 85 percent after five days. If you need to charge, there’s a lone USB-C port in the back right corner.
As with much of Logitech’s other MX gear, you can connect the MX Mechanical via Bluetooth or Logitech’s proprietary Bolt USB-A wireless dongle. A Bolt dongle can handle up to six compatible Logitech devices, so you only need to use one of your precious USB-A ports for multiple mice and keyboards.
The keyboard itself can be paired with three different machines (Bolt or Bluetooth) and switch between them with dedicated keys. It’s the kind of thing that multi-device users will appreciate. And yes, that includes serving as a Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad or iPhone, both of which work great. Switching between typing on my Mac and iPad with the tap of a key was a joy.
Then there’s the Options+ software, which basically replaces the old Logi Options Mac app. Options+ allows you to remap the functions of all Fn keys, the Insert/Home keypad, and the top keys of the numeric keypad. There are both global and optional per-app settings for all of these, and they sync in the cloud if you sign in to a Logitech account.
The software is intuitive, engaging, and useful (and it’s a universal app, ready for your next Apple Silicon Mac), but somewhat limited compared to some of the features you get in the G Hub software for the company’s gaming keyboards. . Keyboard macros in particular would be a welcome addition.
Should you buy an MX Mechanical?
The MX Mechanical probably won’t satisfy the hobbyist looking to completely customize their keyboard, but it’s not meant to be. It aims to combine that great mechanical feel with the software features of Logitech’s existing MX Keys products, while looking “office ready”, and it does a great job.
It is attractive, well built and feels good. The battery lasts a long time and the software to adjust the main functions is thoughtful and simple. It pairs with up to three devices (Mac, PC, Linux, even iPad or iPhone) via USB or the company’s Bolt USB-A wireless dongle, which is included.
Mechanical keyboards aren’t for everyone, but if you want a nice low-profile option with features geared towards productivity rather than gaming, you’d be hard pressed to find a better solution.