Tom's Hardware Verdict
Despite being noisy thanks to stabilizer rattling and case ping, Logitech's Pop Keys is still a pretty good (if niche) wireless mechanical keyboard for the aspiring Instagram influencer.
+ Long battery life
+ TTC Brown switches
+ Emoji keys
+ Simple software
Uncomfortable keycap shape
Sounds rattly and hollow
Keycap legends are stickers
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Emojis are more popular than ever. The Emoji Movie earned over $200 million, and more recently emojis made up the album cover of Certified Lover Boy by Drake. So perhaps it's no surprise that Logitech has jumped onto the bandwagon with its Pop Keys, a 65 percent mechanical keyboard with Bluetooth connectivity, TTC Brown switches and five dedicated emoji keys. And if the emoji keys weren't enough to make this compact keyboard stand out, the keyboard has circular keycaps that make it look a little like a typewriter--except much smaller and more colorful than the typing devices of pre-emoji days.
Logitech Pop Keys
|Media Keys||With FN|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||12.65 x 5.45 x 1.39 inches (321.2 x 138.4 x 35.4mm)|
|Weight||1.7 pounds (779g)|
|Extra||Four extra emoji keycaps|
The Logitech Pop Keys is a 65 percent mechanical keyboard featuring TTC Brown switches, wireless connectivity for up to three devices and of course, those five dedicated emoji keys--which are programmable but only to other emojis.
The design of the Pop Keys looks like a sort of Gen-Z typewriter, thanks to is round, flat keycaps. There are three flavors available for the Pop Keys, which Logitech calls Daydream, Blast and Heartbreaker, or purple, yellow and pink, respectively. I got the Heartbreaker, aka the pink board.
The colors aren’t personally my thing, especially in conjunction with the eggshell keycaps. But at the same time, this shade does fit the whole Heartbreaker theme they’re going for. If you want a keyboard that looks like those chalky heart-shaped Valentine’s candies, here you go.
When I received the Pop Keys, I didn’t know anything about what switches were being used until I started typing. Logitech doesn’t exactly tell you this in any of its marketing material. As soon as I pressed a key, though, my face resembled the “expressionless face” emoji. I felt the tiny tactile bump that embodied the MX Brown switch, and while this isn’t Logitech’s fault, I am just not a fan of Brown switches. I find them to be confused about whether or not they want to be linear or tactile. More on this later.
When I removed one of the emoji keycaps, I was surprised to see that these switches are manufactured by TTC and not Cherry or Gateron; they are just MX clones. I never really see TTC pop up on the mechanical keyboard market, so I respect Logitech for using TTC here and not Gateron or Cherry.
Speaking of removing keycaps, the only removable ones on this board are the emoji keycaps, and that’s because Logitech includes four extra caps that have the thumbs up, fire, praying, high five and heart emojis on them. I will say that these are an appropriate choice for extras, especially the heart emoji, because who doesn’t use that at some point?
Also included in the box is Logitech’s Unifying Receiver that connects to any USB port for RF wireless connectivity, although Bluetooth is also an option.
Because the Pop Keys is a 65 percent board, there's also a row of function keys, and I need to give credit to Logitech for this because the layout is fantastic. You get dedicated media keys and even a microphone mute button on this board, perfect for the influencer audience Logitech is likely aiming for.
Unlike most wireless mechanical keyboards, the Pop Keys uses two AAA batteries. While that may be a turn-off for some, Logitech claims that the batteries should last three years, which is probably longer than the stickers on the keycaps will last with regular use. Unfortunately, we don’t have a way to test battery endurance on such a large timescale, so we can’t verify this claim. But unless Logitech's claims are wildly off, battery life isn't something you'll have to worry about very often.
Despite the 65 percent board layout, you do lose out on some key features (no pun intended) to make way for the emoji row. For example, the home key and page up and down keys have been replaced. Again, you can remap the emoji keys, but only to other emojis.
While a casual keyboard user may not take issue, the sound of this keyboard is, well, rough. There’s no other way for me to put it. The case is extremely hollow, and the switches are obviously not lubed, because there is an immense amount of spring ping. The stabilizers are also as dry as can be.
As I mentioned earlier, the switches that the Pop Keys come equipped with are TTC brown switches, which aren’t my thing. Brown switches are light and their tactility is hardly noticeable, so I sometimes am not sure whether I should count them as linear or tactile. They’re a boring choice to me, but some typists do like the combination of speed with the minor additional feedback that you won’t get with something like a red switch.
Logitech’s product page for the Pop Keys advertises the sound to be “Old-school and oh-so satisfying.” Logitech, you goofed here, because while plenty of people are infatuated with ASMR typing videos on TikTok, this board sounds far from relaxing.
With sound aside, typing with the Pop Keys wasn't oh-so-satisfying, and that’s putting it lightly. The keycaps are round and designed to mimic a typewriter, which is cool, but they are also very slick, which caused a lot of typos during use. On top of that, the legends on the keycaps are stickers. Yes, you heard me right, Logitech is charging you $100 for a keyboard with stickers on the keycaps.
Aside from the round keys, the main feature here is the emoji keys, and while they do work, I believe that Logitech should’ve just used one or two keys, because five feels like a bit much. As I take a look at my iPhone, I realize that I really only use one or two emojis, one being the “crying tears of joy,” the other being the “dizzy face” emoji. I’ll send these when I’m feeling overwhelmed, bored or tired, but maybe that says more about me than the board itself.
Perhaps Logitech was smart for claiming that this keyboard gives you an old-school feel. Because when people think of typewriters, they think of how loud they are. But the thing is, there’s a difference between loud and unpleasant and loud and satisfying. As a keyboard enthusiast, I wouldn’t go near this keyboard because it doesn’t sound satisfying at all. But the average user might be okay with the rattle and clank because it feels “old.”
At the end of the day though, the keyboard works and the typewriter silhouette saves Logitech because the untrained ear may be tricked into thinking that this is what a real typewriter sounds like.
I decided to tone things down for the gaming test for the Pop Keys, so instead of killing zombies, I played a few matches of Halo Infinite, and the board worked as well as any mechanical keyboard equipped with brown switches. The switches were light enough at 45g to swap weapons fast, while providing just a tad of tactility. Surprisingly, my fingers didn’t slide off of any of the keys, which was something I was expecting due to the slickness of the keycaps and their lack of a concave curve.
I also didn’t notice any input lag, which was a nice surprise since this keyboard isn’t marketed as having Logitech’s lightspeed technology.
Looks are a bit deceiving here, because even though the Pop Keys is visually the polar opposite of a gaming keyboard, the performance of it and sound can match the overall gaming experience of any of the cheaper MX Brown gaming keyboards on our best gaming keyboards list.
The software Pop Keys uses Logitech's Options software, which doesn’t do much more than allow you to choose what emojis you want to use. That’s okay, though, because this isn’t a gaming keyboard. The process of selecting emojis is easy; all you need to do is click on which one you want to be remapped and then you’re given a list, similar to what you've probably seen on phones.
Using the Pop Keys reminded me a lot of the AngryMiao Cyberboard R3, in that it’s not for everyone. The performance of the keyboard is good enough to where I would recommend this to someone who is looking for something aesthetically different to work with, because the 65 percent layout has enough keys on it for most people and even poor mechanical switches are almost always more satisfying than membranes.
To be honest, besides the sub-par keycap printing and loud acoustics, there isn’t much wrong with this keyboard besides the price. Its emoji row makes it interesting and different, as does the type-writer-style design.
So if you don’t mind some clanks and clacks, this board can be a good way to change up your workspace--or even your gaming space. But if you don't think the emoji keys are something you'll use all the time, there are definitely more traditional options that feel and sound better at this $100 price. Although you may be able to find a Logitech promo code to make it a bit more competitive.
Myles Goldman is a freelance writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews keyboards and cases.