titleIn a market that is slowly filling up with mechanical keyboards, there have only been a few companies’ recently who have been making higher end rubber dome keyboards, Logitech being one with their G510. Logitech recently reintroduced their whole gaming lineup with the exception of the G710+ and we jumped all over the chance to take a look at what they are doing with their “bread and butter” keyboard.  Its Logitech, we have high expectations, hopefully they will be able to beat them.

Product Name: Logitech G510s

Review Sample Provided by: Logitech

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Dimensions

 (L x W x H): 51.8 x 21.3 x 4.8 cm

Weight

1.2 kilograms

Anti-Ghosting

Six key Anti-Ghosting

Report Rate

Two millisecond

Macro Keys

18 Programmable G-Keys

Backlighting Colors

16 Million Colors

System Requirements

Windows® 8, Windows® 7 or Windows Vista®

Mac® OS X 10.6 or later

High-speed USB 2.0 port

Internet access and 80 MB of hard disk space for software download

Warranty Information

1-year limited hardware warranty

Package Contents

Keyboard

Palm rest

Software CD

User documentation



Packaging

Logitech may have only added an s to the name of the G510s, but the difference is much clearer when looking at the packaging compared to the G510 that I took a look at previously. They dropped the green them all together and went with the same look that we saw with the G710+ in their “science” theming.  That means the front of the box is covered in a picture of the G510s and half of the picture is an x-rayed image of the keyboard. I love that there isn’t too much going on here other than the nearly full sized image of the keyboard and the Logitech brand.

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On the flip side we have another overall shot of the G510s, but this time without the x-ray half. There are lines leading from key features to small write-ups explaining the features. Just like the front of the packaging, they kept things simple and to the point here.

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Inside you will find the keyboard right on top when you open everything up. Of course they keyboard is wrapped up in plastic to protect it from any scratches. The cord is tied up and tucked away just above the keyboard. Up under it all you will also find the wrist rest and all of the paperwork. For paperwork we get a setup guide, feature guide, a safety compliance and warranty page, and a paper asking for feedback as well.

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Pictures and Features

Fans of previous Logitech keyboards are going to see a lot of similarities in the G510s to previous models. Logitech has taken an if it’s not broken don’t fix it approach once again but considering the popularity of this design I don’t blame them. This is a design that has been used for years all the way back to the original G15 but with small tweaks to improve on the design. One of the big changes we can see right away from the G510 is a different color scheme on the top half of the keyboard. This time, around the keys themselves we have a glossy finish in what looks like a dark blue or green depending on the light. The outer edges are finished in a satin flat black. This is a little different than with the G510 where is had the satin flat black around the keys and the glossy finish on the outside. Of course we also have the optional wrist rest as well and that has a slightly grippier black finish.

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Starting over on the left side we have all 19 of the “G-Keys”, Logitech’s macro keys. There is a little styling around the keys that we haven’t seen before on a Logitech keyboard but other than that things are about the same as on the G510. The font used on the keys is slightly different, basically bold when compared to the last G510. 

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Controlling your three different profiles is all up in the top left corner for easy access. They are split up into M1, M2, and M3. The MR button is actually for programing macro keys on the fly without the software at all. The joystick switch on the right side of the image when flipped on puts the keyboard into game mode turning off the windows keys to prevent you from accidentally bumping it and getting forced out of game in the middle of something important.

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Just like with the G510, Logitech is sticking with the built in audio card over having a USB port on the keyboard. For controls you have microphone and headphone mute buttons with small led lights that will light up to let you know each is muted. It’s still a little weird that there are two audio mute buttons on the keyboard though.

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Much like the second generation G15 the LCD screen on the G510s is fixed at a specific angle. Really if you put this next to the second gen G15 the screen is unchanged. The buttons under the screen have a little different finish and are slightly concaved.

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Up in the top right corner we have all of the media controls. This is something that Logitech has done better than most for years now. You have easy to find and use media keys including play/pause, stop, skip forward, and skip backwards buttons. For volume control there is a nice wide control wheel. This is the same wheel that the G19, G710+ and G510 had, why change it if it works. Next to it is a large and easy to get to mute button.  

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Around the direction pad you can see a little bit of styling has been added with the silver touches in the two corners. This is also a great photo to see the finish around the keys a little better, it is fairly glossy. As for the direction pad itself, this time around they set it out a little by coloring the keys in a light grey and just like the rest of the keys they did change the font, meaning in this case the arrows are thicker and also the heads are wider than on the G510.

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The WASD buttons have been given the same treatment as the direction pad. All four keycaps are finished in a light grey metallic finish that is a big contrast from the black color of the rest of the keys. Here you can see the font change better as well; they used basically the same font but made it bold making the letters stand out more. This looks to be the same font that they went with on the G710+ as well, they also highlighted the WASD and direction pad in the same light grey finish as well.

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There isn’t anything spectacular going on with the cord here. It doesn’t have a protective weave on it or anything to help it stand out. It should be noted though that the G510s only uses one USB plug where some other keyboards use two or in the case of the G19 it has one plus extra power.

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On the flip side of the G510s we have a section in the middle of the board that has all of the important information like warnings and certification logos from everyone and of course your serial number as well. Looking around the rest of the bottom at how the G510s interacts with your desk (aka feet). I found it interesting that of the six feet on the keyboard only two were actually made of rubber to keep it from moving around. The other four are just hard plastic. The same goes for the two flip out feet to tilt the keyboard up as well. The actual height that they raise the keyboard is minimum as well (about one centimeter).

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Now that we have gone over all of the G510s’s features here is a picture of it next to the older G510. The differences between the two keyboards are limited to the finishes and colors on the top of the keyboard and changes in the font on the keys as well but we already covered the new font. This refresh isn’t huge, but considering the fact that the G510 was an extremely popular keyboard it might be all Logitech needs to keep things fresh and to keep it matching the rest of their lineup.

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Software

Even years ago Logitech was an innovator and a leader with their Setpoint software. As impressive as that software was at the time, the difference between that and their Gaming Software now is amazing. I have talked about it before with other companies, what sets a top level company apart from everyone else is the software. Specifically I love seeing software that works with an entire product line and is flexible. Logitech’s gaming software picks up all of the Logitech products you are running at the time and allows you to control them all. On top of that it will have the correct picture of your keyboard/mouse/gamepad as well. This is great for a Logitech fan for example who might have multiple products sitting around or in my case I could have the G13/keyboard/mouse all hooked up at any one point. This means less programs running in the background as well.

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Unlike a lot of other product these days, Logitech does still limit the customization to the macro keys on the left side of the keyboard. I would love to see this expand and let everyone setup custom macros on any key, this combined with the software’s ability to swap profiles when you get into a game it could open up the usability of all of their keyboards.  Even so, with 19 macro keys that you can program multiplied by the three on the fly swappable profiles you should have a key for any and everything. Each key can be programed to do nearly anything from standard keystrokes to mouse functions. I also love the build in Ventrilo functionality, normally you would have to bind things to unused keys in vent and then bind your closer macro keys to the unused keys.

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Of course the software also supports the G510s’s LCD screen Applets. Here you can select how you want the display button to function as well as select each of the apps that you would like to be able to see. Remember you can also go out and download other screen apps from around the net as well. Even cooler is there are a LOT of games and programs that you might run every day that also support the screen on top of what Logitech has provided you.

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The light bulb option down on the bottom is where you can set the color scheme for each of the three macro profiles. There is a selection of preselected colors or you can use the color wheel to get your favorite color just right.

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Last but not least is the profiles page. This is where you can manage multiple profiles that you have created. This allows you to load, export, and even search through your past profiles. Even better is this is also where you can access the onboard memory on the G510s. What you can do is slide your profiles down onto your keyboard keeping them active even when you switch to another pc.

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Performance

Going into my testing with the G510s I had a good idea what to expect really. I used a second generation G15 for a very long time and I spent a lot of time with the original G510 as well, with the main changes being limited to cosmetic changes I knew I would be fairly happy with it. This is most likely how a lot of the future G510s customers will feel as well. A lot of people who have been using their Logitech G510 or G15 for years will be considering this one just as a refresh or for a secondary computer. Because of that I can’t complain too much about the keyboard layout too much, it has worked for so many people for so long. Personally I prefer the smaller macro area on the G710+ because I have less use for them. In fact if Logitech made a keyboard with the LCD screen and no macro keys at all I would be all over it. The same goes for the number pad, it would be great to have a small version for LANs that doesn’t take up too much of the limited space you have at events.

For those of you who haven’t used a Logitech G510 or G15 previously lets go over what to expect. For me, especially considering I have covered a lot of mechanical keyboards recently, the keyboard was a bit of an adjustment. Being a rubber dome keyboard it will be extremely quiet but it also has a slightly mushy feeling. To a lot of people this isn’t a downside at all as there are people who don’t like mechanical keyboards. But just going off of the trends we are seeing at our events and online mechanical keyboards have been spreading like wildfire. It’s a little disappointing that the G510s is the only option to get if you want the LCD screen, I would love to see a version of the screen that isn’t attached to the keyboard at all as well as one built into a mechanical keyboard like the G710+. The separate version would get Logitech sales on people who have gone with the competition even.

Speaking of the G510s built in LCD screen, in the past it has been a source debate in the past. Some people don’t see the point in the screen at all while others can’t live without it at all. I personally fall in between. The biggest selling point is the integration Logitech has with many of the games on the market. Although I always find it impressive to boot up a new game and look down and find out its supported. But for me, I find it to be way more useful for the boring functionality. For example when you are in game you can look down and keep an eye on time or CPU and memory usage. See for me, the in game functions are all things I would rather be in front of me in game. Looking down to my keyboard is taking my eyes off the game, a perfect chance for someone to come out of nowhere and get you. Another good function is being able to see what song is playing and where you are in the song while being in game.  

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While we are on the topic of listening to music, I absolutely love the media controls that the G510s has. Being able to control the volume with a scroll wheel is very useful, much more than the push button volume controls that you get with some other keyboards. Even worse, a lot of the keyboards on the market have media keys that require the use of a function key. The G510s’s media keys are much easier to use and are up in the top right corner of the keyboard where you can get to them without really looking.

While the keyboard performed great during my use, there was one thing that I would like to see them improve on. The backlighting as a whole could use a little more brightness. Along with that, the new bolder font also caused some patchiness on the letters. It took me a while to be able to get a photo of the patchiness but I did get the cause figured out. All of the lighting comes all the way up from under the rubber domes, as it turns out the plastic that attaches a key cap to the keyboard itself causes the darker areas. This wasn’t noticeable with the original G510 because its font was smaller. As for the backlighting there are a few reasons why I mention it. When comparing the G510s to the G510 there wasn’t a difference at all. But when you put it next to the orange G15 it is a little dimmer and when you figure a lot of the competition now uses mechanical keyboards where there is an LED for every key, it’s even more important. I suspect that this is related to the LED’s being capable of 16 million colors where our G15 only does orange. Once again, the G510 has been extremely popular so this isn’t a deal breaker for most people, but I do want to point it out.

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Overall and Final Verdict

I was a little torn with the G510s, on one hand hardly anything has changed from the previous model. But frankly the G510 was so popular; I really don’t blame Logitech for not wanting to mess with the formula to much. The G510s is a perfect upgrade for someone who isn’t interested in a mechanical keyboard or for anyone who can’t live without Logitech’s built in LCD screen. I personally did have a few small issues, the same issues I have had with the G15 in some cases and G510 as well. For one, I would really like to see a USB port on the keyboard for me to be able to plug in my mouse. This helps me keep my desk fairly clean. The built in audio card is nice for the same reasons, but I wasn’t a fan of the keyboard completely turning off while windows installs the new audio device every single time I plug in my headphones.  The backlighting was a little dimmer than I would prefer as well.

There are still all of the benefits to the G510s as well though. I find the LCD screen to be very useful when using Ventrilo for example as well as using it as a way to keep track of time while in game. I also love the ability to pick any color I would like for my backlighting coloring, this is something that you don’t get in the world of mechanical keyboards. Where the G510s really shines is with its media controls and the Logitech Gaming software. I know a few people who won’t use anything other than Logitech based on their software alone. Their software covers all of their product line, allows you do almost anything, and is very easy to use. You don’t have to sign into the cloud like some of their competition and you only need one program no matter how many Logitech devices you are using. That last part is important because once I start using one Logitech product I feel the need to switch everything over just to keep everything simple.

At the end of the day, the G510s might only be slightly changed from the last model but I still have to give it a recommended. Logitech makes a good product and follows it up with their amazing software. There is still room for improvement with the G510s and for those mechanical keyboard enthusiasts I think that Logitech really needs to look at options to get people a mechanical keyboard with a LCD, then they might just take over the world. 

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #30534 29 Apr 2013 19:34
Happy monday everyone, today we take a look at the G510s Gaming Keyboard!

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