Upgrade Green: Solar-Powered Typing

by Myron Mariano

Do away with batteries—rechargeable or otherwise—with these solar-powered keyboards
Ever since I started covering anything and everything green, I have always been fascinated with solar energy and its applications. This can be something small, like lining the roof of a house with panels to provide its inhabitants with an abundant supply of “electricity,” or something more pronounced and grand, such as Massachusetts’s Berkshire East (a ski town) generating 100 percent of its power from an onsite solar facility.
Imagine how much news of solar-powered keyboards piqued my curiosity.
The K760 and K750, both from Logitech, takes the already-green concept of rechargeable batteries to the next level, which dispenses their use altogether.
Both created for Apple devices, these two keyboards have solar panels that charge using available light, be it the sun or your room lamp.
To round up the green package, both keyboards feature PVC-free construction, come in a fully recyclable box and contain no printed manuals. (Because, really, does anybody even read them?)
I picked up the K750 at a Cyber Monday sale, preferring a full, wireless keyboard over its more portable brother, the K760. (Apple itself doesn’t offer one.)
Two months in, the K750 remains an impressive piece of equipment.
There was hardly any issue paring the keyboard with my Mac Pro. Out of the box, it carried some charge and I was able to use it right after my machine booted up. Note that the K750 connects to your computer via the included Unifying receiver. In contrast, the K760 uses conventional Bluetooth. This means that you can use the former with Apple tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktops; the latter only works with those that have a USB port.
The keys do not look and feel cheap; typing on them doesn’t produce annoying clacking sounds and doesn’t require heavy fingers in order to register key presses. Function key behavior unique to the Mac’s OS, such as Mission Control and Dashboard, can be accessed by pressing FN along with the corresponding key. (You can download Logitech’s Control Center for free to switch this functionality to what is mapped on the keyboard.)
I have more than adequate sources of light in my room, so I am not concerned with running out of juice in the foreseeable future. Logitech claims (this one I have not tested) that with a full charge, these keyboards will last up to three months in complete darkness.
All in all, these are two very solid choices for someone who wants to introduce an aspect of green in their tech. Quite frankly, the mere fact that you don’t have to worry about batteries, full stop, should be enough justification for you to pick up these beauties.
Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750, $59.99; Logitech Wireless Keyboard K760, $79.99, logitech.com

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