Logitech's g15 keyboard: Is it just all show?
By Staff Writer - CEVO|Divito
Upon inspection of the craftsmanship, it seems very solid and of good quality. It is not like other Logitech or Microsoft keyboards that are light and seem easily to smash. No doubt you could do damage to it, but for those who feel uncomfortable when pressing hard on their current keyboard, that problem will be alleviated. The LCD display flips open easily, and does not seem easily breakable which can avoid small accidents. The wrist tray is thin and light, yet flimsy enough that should something happen, it won't immediately snap on you. The keys are surrounded by what seems to be a simple aluminum plate which is a nice touch and gives the keyboard a good contrast.
Because this keyboard is USB, everything worked once I plugged it in, minus the display. The keyboard comes with the software for the LCD display and for the new "G" keys. As well it includes other software, namely the GameSpy Arcade software, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Roger Wilco and Ricochet Lost Worlds. Using the CD, I encountered an error for the original installation of the Logitech software, citing something regarding a Windows installer issue.
Upon visiting the FTP of Logitech and downloading the version uploaded there, there was no issue and it installed fine. Not sure if that will be an isolated case or not, but should people get this keyboard and have that issue, that is the simple solution.
The layout is just as standard as normal keyboards, with the exception of the LCD display and the new command buttons located to the left side of the keyboard. If you've no doubt seen pictures, there are 18 added "G" keys that are in groups of 6 that can become bindable for games and what have you.
Just under the LCD display are standard features of most keyboards, like a volume adjuster, and media player functions such as back, forward, play and stop. To the left of the center console under the display, there is a switch that you can turn off the Windows key when in game (Thanks Frog). And to the left of that, directly above the "G" keys, there is the macro-related buttons. There are also a light (for the backlight function) key and mute button located to the right of the LCD display.
There is also two USB ports on either side of the LCD at the very top of the keyboard to allow for camera or mouse connectivity without the hassle of dealing with working with the back of your computer in a cluttered environment.
With the software, some simple things are shown and they rotate every so often. One screen shows a clock, and the date. The other shows CPU and RAM percentages. Reading about the LCD display, I found this in another review - "There is a program called LCDHype that can be used to create scripts for added LCD screen functionality. How truly useful the LCD will be is yet to be determined, but the prospects are great."
Seeing that and also seeing an SDK on the CD leads me to believe that tools can be given to program coders and game coders to add different functions and information to the LCD display which makes for great possibility.
The "G" Keys
As I said, there are 18 new keys on this keyboard. The software included is very easy and functional and allows for quite extensive customization. You can assign the keys normal keystrokes, macros (a set of keystrokes), and you can use the default configuration, making them use the F functions and numbers 1 through 6. You can also assign them functions, such as opening your e-mail, My Computer, media player, the web and the calculator. AND, you can also make them shortcuts for your programs.
Not to mention, you can set up 3 total macro sets, adding even more functionality should you be able to use all those keys. All in all, this is a very useful feature and quite well done.
At first glance however, the games it scanned for use, only returned with Warcraft 3 and Half-Life 2. I don't really have time to explore more into this issue, but I really don't think it'll be a problem assigning them through to other games.
Update - An easy way to use it for CS, is to assign some macros. There is a record feature that you can use to record the time it takes in between each key you press. So for instance, buying guns in CS or any game, you can record, and then press b, 1, 4, or whatever you'd like within a certain time and it will work in CS. However, the only problem I encountered was if you record too fast. It might be a laggy server you're on and won't register the keys.
I'm so used to my Microsoft keyboard, and when I line up my hands on the keys, my pinky finger on my left hand always aligns with the end of the keyboard, so my instincts found me placing my hand over the new "G" keys at the left side, instead of by "Shift" etc... where I need to be typing. This will take a learning curve for others who have the same issue.
Next we can talk about the backlit settings. Upon pressing the light key, the first setting is applied, which emits a nice blue glow over all the keys (NOT like the Saitek which also lights in-between the keys, this just lights within the key). It also lights the media player buttons at the top. The second setting really is no difference to the first, at least to my eyes.
All the keys are easily readable, however, upon simple inspection, some of the letters and other keys aren't completely lit. It is easy to notice some spots around the outside of the key's contents that just do not receive lighting.
This isn't horrible or anything, but lacks overall polish and can probably be annoying to some people. Some keys for instance, on this particular keyboard, the F keys, have some that are brighter than others and the Print Screen key, labeled as:
The letters r from "Scr" and q from "Rq" are not lit really at all but the other letters are. This is apparent over quite a few of the keys, and while disappointing, isn't the biggest issue for me personally but works against the overall quality of the product.
This is a solid and very useful and functional keyboard. To note, the keys make a fairly standard clicking noise when typing at a good rate, but are quite soft as well. It is a perfect balance for my personal tastes. The LCD seems like an excellent addition, which has the potential for incredible expansion in the future.
The "G" keys are a nice touch, but seem slightly over the top unless you can utilize all the functions and abundance of extra keys. And the lighting, while very beneficial and quite slick, is not completely well done or polished for such a hyped up keyboard. However, if you're in the market for a new keyboard, one that is solid, stylish and functional, this keyboard, despite its price is definitely for you.
- Backlit feature
- Programmable keys, and lots of them + Extensive/easy to use utility
- LCD with huge potential
- Stylish look
- Solid, sturdy construction
Comments and Discussion Click HERE
- Large for most bags
- Some keys aren't lit as well as others
- "G" keys might be a waste for some