Hands-on Review – Logitech MK950 & Zone 300 WFH Kit

This will be a bit of a different review to normal, as I will be reviewing what is technically two products – the MK950 Signature Slim Combo and the Zone 300 wireless headphones – as a combined “Work From Home Upgrade Kit”.

The MK950 Combo features the Signature Slim K950 wireless keyboard and Signature Plus M750 wireless mouse, both of which are pre-paired with the included Logi Bolt adapter. Works right out of the box.

The first impressions upon opening this box will be a mix of confusion and curiosity, maybe with a hint of nostalgia thrown in. There is nothing to look at on these devices that draws any oohs and ahhs, they are familiar and comforting for older users, despite the slimness of the keyboard perhaps, while still appealing to the younger working generation who will appreciate the sleekness and expanded functionality of these devices. Let’s start with the keyboard…

In a departure from current styles, the keyboard has flip-out feet to raise the keyboard into an 8 degree incline. This homage to the old-school keyboards is welcomed for those who loath wrist-rests for one reason or another. I count myself amongst that particular loop in life’s big Venn diagram. The K950 is quiet and easy to use with scissor switches and minimal key travel. The actuation force required to type is minimal, which makes it perfect for touch-typists and those with some form of wrist or hand injury such as OOS/RSI, tendonitis, arthritis, etc.

At first glance, you’d see a standard keyboard layout, However the key where [Insert] normally is located is now a change-language key. This allows a handy change of language of your keyboard if that is what you need, or unleash hell on your typing if you don’t. For me, this was a strange preset and thankfully the companion software – Options+ – will allow you to remap that back to what it should be. Still a hassle that the end-user has to undo a custom assignation.

Speaking of the software, Logitech Options+ used to be a serious negative for the brand, but hard work and a lot of listening to user-feedback has resulted in a stable and feature-rich hardware add-on that looks to only improve as updates are rolling out regularly with new features and supported hardware added each time. There is so much potential in this, the biggest being the Smart Action system which I have mentioned previously, that it’s worth putting aside any past experiences, and diving in to explore the expanded potential.

There are a number of new features being released, and the hype at the moment is the new AI prompt builder. Using the Options+ software, you can assign a trigger-key and when that key/combo is pressed a window will pop up that links you directly into ChapGPT3.5 (or v4 if you have a subscription) and allows you to set ‘recipes’ that will define the context for your prompt. Choose the type of query – the recipe – and enter your keywords, and the software will craft a comprehensive prompt to send to ChapGPT on your behalf, and will display the results in the console window so you can adjust the prompt or take the text. That said, it’s something that is not really necessary for those it was aimed at but will be a hit with those who need it the most. You could say they scored a win with an unintentional bank-shot.

The M750 mouse takes up little real estate and is comfortable enough in my hands. It is compact and has textured sidewalls for an easy but non-slip grip. The scroll wheel is near-silent and aside from your standard three button mouse, there is the addition of two buttons on the left side of the mouse. If you are using it right handed then they naturally rest under your thumb. I found mapping them to Prev/Next worked really well for me. With the software you can set globals as well as app-specific commands, so while prev/next works great in browsers and eBook readers, mapping those keys to edit > undo/redo for apps like Photoshop and InDesign made workflow so much smoother and more instinctive.

It’s a more basic mouse than some of the usual Logitech fare, but for a work system, it does an excellent job. Surprisingly better and more than you might expect from a mouse that would look equally at home with a tail leading to a 486 system. Don’t judge this ‘book’ by its ‘cover’ by any means. There is a removable cover under the mouse for a single AA battery and a storage slot for the Bolt adapter. Note that there is also a ‘pocket’ on the M950 keyboard to store the USB transceiver, under the battery hatch too.

As with all of the recent releases from Logitech, these can link to multiple devices across the OS spectrum. To take it to the extreme, let’s say you are jumping between a PC, your Android phone and a MacBook. You can flick between them with a touch of a button on the keyboard, and a press of a button on the mouse. Type, into that device, get a reply… copy it into a memory buffer that I assume must be located within the keyboard, switch to another device and paste that text as though you typed it. Great for on-the-spot research during video calls or if you are working from home and need to pull information off your personal system.

The battery life claims of 36 months per battery for the keyboard and 24 months on the mouse are tough to swallow, and I’m betting Logitech won’t want to wait while I test that claim, so I’ll have to say that it’s one consumers will have to take on faith. I daresay that the actual lifetime will vary in the relation to the usage patterns – heavy users who are banging away on the keys all night every night may need to swap them annually, while low-usage folk such as myself might never need to replace them, having upgraded 2 years down the track before any batteries ran out. That said, when I saw that the default OEM batteries, supplied, are not generic no-brand cells but proudly wear the Duracell uniform, I had to pause and consider the quality. So, with that in mind, it’s fair to say ‘quite believable, really’ though with a caveat about usage affecting those numbers.

Overall, each item is great in and of itself, and as a wireless upgrade that works across multiple devices, there’s every reason to give this serious consideration. Where they really come into their own though is in the modern work-from-home era. When paired with something like the ZONE 300 and perhaps their recently-launched Brio Webcam, you have the perfect WFH setup, giving you all the tools to keep your productivity going, teleconference and Zoom-call with ease and clarity. The MK950 combo is available in Graphite (black/grey) and Off-white (pictured above).


Zone 300 Headset

Ever since I got my first pair of cordless headphones back in the early days of the original PlayStation, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect wireless solution. My desk is always cluttered, and cords only add to the chaos, so wireless is a must for me. However, most wireless headphones I’ve tried have been plagued by battery issues. The inconvenience of having to stop what I’m doing to swap out batteries or waiting for a recharge has been a constant frustration. So, when the Logitech Zone 300 headset arrived for review, I was eager to see if it could break the cycle. After using it for a little while now, I’m happy to report that it has exceeded my expectations… with a few caveats.

First off, the Zone 300 comes with a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that provides up to 16 hours of talk time and 20 hours of listening time. This means I can go through a whole day without worrying about the battery dying. Even better, a full charge takes only two hours, and a quick five-minute charge gives me an extra hour of talk time. I can even charge the headset while wearing it, thanks to the USB power-only cable, which is long enough to stay out of my way while I work.

The dual Bluetooth connectivity is another game-changer. I can connect the headset to both my laptop and phone simultaneously, allowing me to switch between devices effortlessly. This feature is particularly useful during a busy workday filled with calls and video conferences. The headset automatically switches between devices, ensuring I never miss a call.

Comfort is another strong point for the Zone 300. It’s lightweight at just 122 grams and features soft earpads that make it comfortable to wear all day long, even with glasses. The dual-mic system ensures that your voice is heard clearly, thanks to the noise-cancelling microphones that filter out background noise. I can even adjust the sidetone to my liking, which is a nice touch. It is important to note that the noise cancelling feature is in the microphones, not in the headphones themselves, therefore you will still hear all the noises around you while wearing the headphones. Those on the other end of the conversation, however, should not be impacted (as much) by the noisiness of your environment.

There are, however, a few downsides. The headset only charges via USB, which means there’s no data or audio transmission through the cable. All sound is carried via Bluetooth, which might be a dealbreaker for some. Additionally, the headset is mostly plastic, making it less durable than models with more metal components. I’d recommend keeping it around your neck rather than tossing it into a bag to avoid damage.

The software adjustments for the equalizer seem to have minimal effect, which was a bit disappointing. Also, while the noise cancellation works well for outbound audio, it doesn’t help with inbound sound. You still need a quiet environment to hear clearly. Lastly, the small buttons can be tricky to manage, especially for those with larger thumbs, though this does get easier with practice.


Overall, if you don’t have a Bluetooth headset for gaming or the office, the Zone 300 is a good starting point. I would recommend them if you are comfortable with “average” for incoming sound quality and “above average” for mic quality.

Rating:

Posted in partnership with: KIWIreviews.nz

Disclosure Statement: These units were supplied by Logitech expressly for the purposes of review. No fee was offered or accepted for this impartial review.


Key Features: Signature Slim Combo – MK950
:: MAKE WORK-LIFE MAGIC – When we work from home, our lives become blended and we need tools designed for all aspects of life. The Signature Slim Combo puts a little bit of magic at your fingertips. So whatever today asks of you, you can get it done.
:: MOVE BETWEEN YOUR PERSONAL AND WORK COMPUTERS – Use one mouse and keyboard across more than one computer – even different operating systems. Connect them via Bluetooth or Logi Bolt Receiver to effortlessly transfer text, images, and files between computers like magic.
:: YOU’VE GOT OPTIONS – Blend work and life to do more than you ever dreamed of using your Signature Slim Combo MK950 with the Logi Options:: App.
:: MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU – Personalize your F-Keys effortlessly. Assign simple functions on your keyboard and mouse like opening a browser, streaming music, and more. Take control and optimize efficiency with customized shortcuts.
:: SAVE TIME LIKE MAGIC – Choose ready-to-use Smart Actions created to help you jump between work and personal life. Simplify your routine and tackle multiple tasks with a single click or keystroke to get it done faster.
:: UPGRADE YOUR SPACE – The sleek design and quality-build of the full-sized Signature Slim Keyboard K950 uplifts the style rating of any desk. That’s complemented by the Signature Plus Mouse M750 and its comfortable contoured shape – making a great combo made with recycled plastic.
:: QUIET TYPING – Focus on the task at hand thanks to quiet typing and clicking. The Signature Plus Mouse M750 with SilentTouch technology produces 90% less click noise.
:: SCROLL WITH PURPOSE – The Signature Plus Mouse M750 with SmartWheel allows you to scroll through documents line-by-line, or fly effortlessly through a long webpage. (NOTE: Mouse is not supported by iOS.)
:: SWITCH TYPING BETWEEN YOUR LAPTOP, TABLET OR PHONE – You can pair the Signature Slim keyboard K950 to three devices and switch between them with the tap of a button.
:: WORK ON NEARLY ANY PLATFORM – Don’t worry about your device’s operating system. You’ll be able to connect wirelessly and work on Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux , ipadOS, iOS and Android.

You can read the original press release [-here-]

Key Features: ZONE 300 HEADSET
:: BE HEARD CLEARLY – Be heard clearly with dual noise-cancelling mics on the extended boom, both equipped with a customized algorithm to suppress background noises.
:: GREAT AUDIO PERFORMANCE – Enhanced dynamic speaker drivers deliver clear audio for calls and more. Compatible with common calling applications across almost all platforms and operating systems via Bluetooth.
:: STAY CONNECTED – Seamlessly switch between computer and smartphone. Pair up to 6 devices and connect to 2 devices simultaneously with multipoint Bluetooth. Move freely about your home or office and stay reliably connected, even 30 meters away if you have a clear line-of-sight and no obstructions. Wireless range may vary depending on operating environment and computer setup.
:: ALL-DAY BATTERY LIFE – Get up to 20 hours of listening time and 16 hours of talk time on a full charge. (Battery life may vary based on user and computing conditions.) A 5-minute quick charge gives you up to 1 hour of talk time.
:: ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT COMFORT – Ultra lightweight design weighing just 122g, padded headband, and comfortable earpads make all-day use possible.
:: MORE RECYCLED MATERIAL. LIGHTER FOOTPRINT – Logitech is committed to creating a more sustainable world. The plastic parts of Zone 300 are made with 42-55% post-consumer recycled plastic – 42% recycled plastic for Rose and Off-white, 55% for Black, excluding printed wiring assembly (PWA), cables, and packaging. By carefully selecting components such as the battery and magnets and redesigning the circuit board, we were able to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1kg per product, equivalent to charging a typical smartphone 122 times.
:: CUSTOMIZE THE EXPERIENCE WITH LOGI TUNE – Take control of your music and meeting experience with Logi Tune. Adjust sidetone, mic level, and EQ for your preferred audio experience using the Logi Tune app for Windows, Android, MacOS and iOS.

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