Review of Logitech K835 tenkeyless mechanical keyboard

Logitech has set out to prove that mechanical keyboards aren’t just for gamers with too much disposable income and an unhealthy obsession for blinking lights! The Logitech K835 is a tenkeyless (TKL, meaning a regularly sized keyboard without the numpad) mechanical budget keyboard. It has an open-body design built on an aluminum plate on a plastic shell featuring either TTC tactile (“blue”) or TTC linear (“red”) key switches.

The K835 is the tenkeyless equivalent of the K845 (but without the backlighting), even though it may more closely resemble the K840 at first glance. If you want a programmable and colorful display of back- or keycap lights, then the K835 isn’t for you. A gaming-quality keyboard without the stereotypical gaming light-show may be the better option if your computer is in a bedroom. It also makes the keyboard look more business professional.

The lack of keyboard lights sets the model apart from Logitech’s other G (gaming) branded — and more expensive — mechanical keyboard options. In practice, this may make a difference if you haven’t memorized key positions and constantly glance down at them while in a dimly lit room. That’s terrible for your typing speed and eyesight, so you shouldn’t do that anyway. At only 69 Euro (84 USD), it’s less than half the price of an equivalent Logitech gaming keyboard.

So, other than a light show, what do you lose out of compared to Logitech’s more expensive mechanical keyboards? Not much, as it turns out. Most keyboards operate with a pulling rate of 100 Hz (10 ms latency), with the more expensive ones at 1000 Hz (1ms). The K835 is a USB2 full-speed input device with a polling rate of 250 Hz (4 ms latency). This is perfectly reasonable given the build quality and price. It’s not like you’ll notice it or care about the difference unless you’re entering a million-dollar tournament.

Functionality-wise, the K835 has the same multimedia keys and feature set. The key-caps are a standard thin single-mold with pad-printed labels. Every product photo on the Logitech website carefully hides the pad-printing outlines. Logitech has saved more than a buck avoiding the more expensive double-shot injection molding process required to let light through the keys. Luckily for you, Logitech passed the savings on to you!

The keycaps are regular Cherry MX-compatibles instead of the Logitech Romer-G keycaps that Logitech uses on many of its gaming keyboards. In other words, you can easily source replacement keycaps if you want something that looks different or if a key breaks or its print wear off.

The K835 has a Windows key lock option, a feature typically only found on more gaming-oriented keyboards. This is the only place where the K835’s cheapness compromises its usability, though. The Windows key lock is typically indicated by disabling a key’s back- or key-cap light. But the K835 just doesn’t have key lighting! So, you press the Windows key — and you must remember to turn off the Windows key lock if the Start menu doesn’t open. Logitech could have solved this by adding an extra status light next to the scroll lock and caps lock status lights.

The G-branded keyboards tend to have a powered USB port at the back of the keyboard, but you don’t get this with the K835. You do get keyboard feet that can raise the default 4˚ angle to 8˚, however.

The K835 is available with off-white or black keycaps and with either tactile (blue) or linear (red) key switches. That's not the whole truth, though. Availability seems to be limited by market, with most regional keyboard layout variants only being available in one color or with one type of switch.

At the time of writing, the Logitech K835 is only available in the following countries and regional keyboard layouts: France, Germany and Austria, Norway; Denmark; Sweden; and Finland, Brazil, Mexico, China, Japan, and South Korea. I’ve asked Logitech about U.S. and U.K. availability, but I didn’t get a response. As mentioned earlier in the review, you can easily source compatible after-market keycaps for the K835 for your keyboard layout. Assuming it has the same number of keys, of course.

Mechanical keyboards are notoriously difficult to keep clean. However, the K835’s open-board design makes it easy to clean with a brush or compressed air. The design compromises a bit on the sound dampening you typically get with a more traditional enclosed design. The K835 doesn’t come with any sound-dampening material in its chassis. If you want a more quiet keyboard, then you can install sound insulating foam and lubricate the key switches (video) in about 20 minutes.

TKL keyboards are ideal for people with regular or narrow shoulders or little available desk space. Check my keyboard size guide to help you pick the most ergonomic keyboard size for your physique.

Mechanical keyboards are expensive and the tenkeyless form-factor doubly so (even though it contains less material to manufacturer.) I was surprised to find a mechanical tenkeyless keyboard from a major brand for less than 110 Euro (100 USD). I almost scratch at the Logi branding to see if there was another brand name underneath. You could do a whole lot worse for your money, and doubling your purchase price won’t give you double the quality. The money you save would be put towards other components of your gaming station, anyway.

The Logitech K835 TKL is a solid option for casual gaming and everyday use. It only comes with a one-year warranty (region-dependent) compared to the typical two-year warranty on Logitech gaming keyboards. The build quality feels solid, and I believe it’s likely to last at least a couple of years. You get a lot of value for your money with only a few compromises.