I am tough to please when it comes to keyboards. Not because I beat them up, but because I need them to provide for a wide range of conditions. I need to be able to type on them, because I use a single PC for work and play. This means it must handle typing an MMOs and an FPS before it gets the nod from me. The new Logitech G815 gets the nod.
Logitech’s G815 makes use of its own brand of mechanical switches. The unit I tested had GL Clicky switches, which offer tactile feedback and that satisfying click sound. After using a keyboard with Cherry MX Black switches for a long time, this keyboard doesn’t sound as loud, but instead has a slightly higher pitch of click that carries far enough that my wife noticed I had something different in the office without even coming to look. The GL keys feel much better to me than the Romer-G switches that earlier Logitech boards used and the change is worth it with a smooth, confident bump as you press a key, letting you know your press was registered, without as many mistake presses from surrounding keys due to the force required to press them.
Loading up Final Fantasy XIV causes the keyboard to change from the default blue breathing glow I use normally and instead it lights up several keys that are used in the game.
Besides the change in sound, the keys have are very easy to actuate and the satisfaction of feeling a registered press as well as hearing it helps when typing and playing games. You might not want to use this as your typing keyboard in an office though, because the lighting and key noises might distract others, especially if their cubicle is close to yours. Besides, it shines when playing games, where the only thing low-profile about it is the physical height. Everything else just screams gaming.
Gaming, so much gaming
If you play a lot of games with a keyboard or use a keyboard really often, the G815 offers a lot of handy tricks. The gaming mode key disables the Windows keys and the right-click context menu key and can be set to disable other keys that you might mistakenly press while gaming that you don’t want active anymore. It also offers volume control with a nice big slider and pause, mute, next track and previous track keys that are easy enough to reach, but out of the way enough that you won’t hit them by accident. A USB port is included on the keyboard, which I have been using to charge a wearable or to plug in a controller for games that require some heavy button presses or analogue sticks.
Having a keyboard that lights up isn’t exactly something new, but I like a keyboard that does things for me with minimal hassle. Loading up Final Fantasy XIV causes the keyboard to change from the default blue breathing glow I use normally and instead it lights up several keys that are used in the game, colouring them based on function, from combat to movement, to opening your social menu. The Logitech G Hub can be used to further tweak your options for games, from changing the lighting per key to setting what the extra G1 through G5 keys are used for and any macros you want to use. There are three profiles that can be accessed quickly with dedicated buttons, so you can really set things up just the way you like them for your favourite game, and then still have a profile for the rest.
This keyboard is pretty low to the desk, and even with the foot stands in use, it might be a different angle from what you are used to. Still, it didn’t take me long to get used to this and to appreciate the change in how my hands were resting on the keyboard. The keys raise out of a pleasant-looking aluminium frame, which should provide the extra sturdiness required for those… angry moments in a game. Don’t beat your keyboard up, it isn’t the keyboard’s fault. At least if it is sturdy like this it will survive a few smacks if that is the way you handle your frustration or that accidental outburst. Sure you regret it afterwards, but at least with a tougher keyboard you can carry on playing without going back to your previous keyboard, or ending your gaming session abruptly.
The G815’s biggest issue is its price. The Logitech website lists it at $200, with local retailers selling it for R3,000. It is a hefty sum to spend on a keyboard, meaning I don’t see this being used outside of the professional, enthusiast and prosumer market. That being said, I have loved using it, and it is going to take a while to get used to my old slugger again.