Everyone's idea of a high-end gaming keyboard is different. Logitech has taken the LCD route for some time with their G15. The ability to have extra information showing while in a game can be helpful. Of course to follow up the G15 they had to really up their game, and because of that we have the G19. The smaller LCD screen of the G15 was given an upgrade to a larger full color screen and the ability to change the lighting to any color. Today I'll be taking a closer look at the G19: is it really the gaming monster Logitech makes it out to be?
Product Name: Logitech G19 Keyboard
Review Sample Provided by: Logitech
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Even though I didn't review the G15, I have owned two of them. I was surprised when the G19 showed up in almost the exact same packaging, other than the picture on the front being different. Of course that means you will spot the G19 on the shelves quick. Everything else you need to know can be found somewhere on the package. Specifications are tucked away on the top edge of the packaging along with a feature listing on the back. There are no windows or ways to view the G19 through the packaging, but they made sure there are pictures from every angle on each side of the package. Inside the package, the keyboard was bagged to prevent any scratches. The wires, CD's, paperwork, and power cord (wait what?) are all tucked away along with the keyboard.
The G19 uses the same software that the previous models use with just a few small updates. The software is broken up into two parts, the LCD manager, and the Key Profiler. The LCD manager controls all of your currently installed Programs for your LCD. You can configure, disable, and enable and of the specific programs. You also have the ability to set the LCD's brightness and control if the programs will rotate through automatically.
The Key Profiler controls the 12 macro buttons on the left side of the keyboard along with giving you the ability to set the lighting color for each of the three available profiles. The great thing about the G15's software is the ability to set the G keys to do or run anything. Not only can you use a key to open any program, run any script or macro, type any text block, you can also have it open up folders! Scripts and Macro's are normal with a gaming keyboard, but some of the features give you the ability to go beyond gaming and even get a little work done.
There is no hard and fast way to test out a keyboard, as with mice, it is very subjective. I spent almost a month with the G19 before I was really able to give it a subjective look. I've broken it down by area to make sure I cover everything.
I spend almost all of my time on the PC watching TV shows and movies on my 2nd monitor, to me it is very important to be able to control what's going on quickly and easily. The same goes for volume and mute control, if something loud blasts my ear drums I want to be able to turn the volume down quickly. Having owned two of the 2nd gen G15's I was very impressed with the change to the volume wheel. The wheel gives you easy and accurate control without worries of the buttons going bad. Next to and above the wheel you can find the Mute and media controls. Placed together they are perfect for tuning your media experience while on your pc, and in my case while in game (yes I watch movies while in game).
Being the "G"19 obviously you expect it to perform in game, that is what its designed for right? As I talked about before the 12 programmable keys have the ability to do anything you want, this is perfect for someone who wants to take a few things that would do in game and simplify. Personally, I never found the need for 12 macro's but someone who plays MMO's a lot may be able to put each to use. I would almost like to see the ability to program all of the normal keys also similar to what Razer has done with their keyboards. This would put the macro keys closer to your normal WASD keys for easy access. The game mode switch makes life a little easier preventing you from opening up the start menu if you bump the windows key. The LCD while in game is a little out of sight and is only functional if you look away from your game. The geek in me loves putting it on performance mode and watching the CPU and Ram usage. None of the games that I personally play has built in software for the screen, but Xfire and media center both do giving me a reason to look down. The built in clock is perfect for someone who needs to get out of game at a specific time (bedtime psssh yeah right!) If you didn't have a 2nd monitor like I do the screen could show need to know information from outside of game. I think the person who would benefit from the screen the most would be a hard core WoW player, Logitech includes software specifically for WoW that shows all of the info you need to know while in game. Lastly, the keyboard itself responded quickly in game giving the slightest advantage when coming around the corner face to face with an enemy.
With my 2nd gen g15 I did experience an issue with the paint rubbing off of the keyboard after about a year of heavy use. The 1st gen G15 was known even more for this problem. I can't speak for the overall quality of the G19 without long term testing, but it does look to have a similar surface to the 2nd gen G15. I also noticed a paint chip on one of the keys. The one thing I can attest too is Logitech will stand behind their product, G15 users who experienced the paint issues in and sometimes out of warranty had Logitech send them new keyboard with no questions asked, as long as they continue that level of service you should have nothing to worry about.
Obviously the G19 isn't an ergonomic keyboard but the wrist rest does make it considerably more comfortable. My only issue is with the mushy keys, each key stroke you bottom out the keys because there is no defined click or action to the keys. Bottoming out each key effects your comfort over long periods of time.
So the G19 has a long list of kickass features that are useful for both gamers and workaholics alike. Of course not all of them are the most helpful, and with a price of just under 200 bones the G19 is out of range of most budget minded gamers. But! as with most things that us enthusiasts buy, the G19 has a wow factor that no other keyboard can hold a candle too. If you're looking to add to your e-pen0r you can't go wrong with the g19. For those World of Warcraft players out there, Logitech has you covered also. With all of those extra features mean you have to plus the keyboard into a power outlet on top of the normal USB connection.
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