With Corsair locking in an exclusivity deal on the Cherry RGB key switches for their first year and in general with Cherry switches being on backorder sometimes over a year out it’s no surprise that a lot of the manufactures have been reaching out to other options. Razer uses an MX style knockoff with their specifications, SteelSeries introduced their QS1 switch with their new mechanical keyboard, and Logitech actually introduced their new Romer G switches all the way back in September of last year. Well the G910 that houses the Romer G switches has been extremely popular and only a few weeks ago did we finally get one in to test out. I loved the G710+ but with the G910 changing everything from the ground up I really have no idea what to expect. That said I’m excited to see how the new switches perform and find out if the new design is a good as the changes they have made in their mouse lineup have been.
Product Name: Logitech G910 Orion Spark
Review Sample Provided by: Logitech
Written by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Amazon Link: HERE
|Key Switch Durability||70 million|
|Height||19.9 in (505 mm)|
|Width||9.6 in (243.5 mm) / 8.3 in (210 mm)|
|Depth||1.4 in (35.5 mm)|
|Weight||3.3 lb (1.5 kg)|
|Cable||6 ft (1.8 m)|
Large palm rest
Small palm rest
Windows® 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7
Powered USB port Internet connection and 100MB hard drive space (for optional software download)
|Warranty||2-Year Limited Hardware Warranty|
The box for the G910 has the same blue trim that all of the Logitech Gaming products have but for the background they went with something a little more fitting for the Orion Spark name. We have a large photo of the keyboard with its backlighting all lit up and then in the background is a photo of the Orion Constellation. The only other thing on the cover is a photo of the new Romer-G key switch, highlighting what switch the G910 has. Around on the back of the box we do have a lot more going on. We have another photo of the keyboard, but this time half of the photo has an x-ray photo overlaid, just like what we have seen Logitech do with their other gaming peripherals. The main photo has lines going to specific features along with zoomed in photos and short explinations of what each feature is all about. They highlight the G keys, individual key backlighting, the Romer-G switches, and the new ARK control app.
The inner box for the G910 was very cool. It actually has the Logitech G logo cut out of the top showing the blue lining. Inside the keyboard is right on top. It sits in a plastic tray that is formed to keep it from moving around. Up under the keyboard is a second wrist rest as well as the documentation. For documentation you get a setup guide and a safety, compliance, and warranty book. They do not include a disk or anything for the software, you have to jump online to download the latest version.
Photos and Features
Without a doubt the G910 is something completely different from anything else out on the market. They took the same aggressive styling that they introduced on the G602 wireless mouse and later on the G502 mouse as well and packed it into a keyboard. The G910 is a full sized mechanical keyboard meaning it has a full number pad, F row, direction pad, ect. When compared to some of the older G series keyboards it is actually a little smaller width wise but it is still a deep keyboard. Part of the reason for this are macro keys on the side and top on top of the standard keys. The font used on the keys is similar to the font used on the G710+ only this time around they added a design on all of the “gaming” themed keys, specifically the WASD keys, G keys, and the direction pad. This isn’t the first time I have seen a focus on gaming specific keys, a lot of manufactures have even included rubber or textured keycaps for those same keys. I do wish that Logitech would send standard keycaps as well though. The aggressive styling of the G910 is enough to get its point across for me, the extra design is more overkill than anything else. I think they could almost put together a keyboard without the aggressive styling but the same features and open up an even bigger market. I know as I have grown older I find myself preferring cases and peripherals that are a little more subtle but still with the same features like the new switches, RGB lighting, and media controls. That said, the G502 had an aggressive styling but that didn’t stop it from being an amazing mouse, let’s look at the rest of the G910’s features and see how it performs before discounting it.
So the G1-G5 keys on the left side of the keyboard are basically the same as what I saw with the G710+ and even a few of the other G keyboards. The addition of the G6-G9 keys up above the F keys was a nice surprise though. The F row is actually moved a little closer to the number row to make sure the G keys are still reachable. I’ve been saying for years that a would rather have a few macro keys in between the number row and the F row. This isn’t exactly that, but it is a step in the right direction. Up in the top left corner we also have four buttons. The first three let us flip through three sets of macros. The MR button allows you to actually program a macro on the fly without getting out of game or using the software.
Rather than include a function layer like everyone else, Logitech went with just a few basic keys and build in everything that you would need the function layer for. Right above the number pad they used a roller for your volume control just like on the G710+ and alongside of it is a mute button. Having a real volume knob is always much nicer than function layer volume up and down buttons. Up in the top right corner you get forward and back, play/pause, and stop for media controls. The play/pause button has an indented shape to hep you find It when in game. They are also backlit to help with that as well. Speaking of backlighting, the button next to the media controls turns the entire keyboards backlighting on and off. You can’t control the brightness on the fly though, you have to get into the software to do that. The last button turns on game mode where the windows is locked. TO the left of the game mode button are the standard number, caps, and scroll lock LEDs. All of the buttons here are all membrane so keep that in mind.
Rather than add additional costs to an already expensive product Logitech went a new direction with the keyboard display that they introduced years ago with the original G15. They dropped the screen all together and in its place we have a slide out piece of plastic that will actually hold your phone or tablet. They call this their Arx Dock. To go with it they also introduced an app on Android and iOS. Using their software you can sync your mobile device to display PC hardware information, control your media, and also display anything the game wants you to display. The example on Logitech’s website for example shows a tach and speedometer on the display while you are in a racing game. The dock doesn’t charge your device so you will need to keep a charging cable nearby.
A lot of keyboards come with a detachable wrist rest but the G910 actually comes with TWO. One has a large pad on the left side where a gamer would typically have their hand, the other is a little more subtle but still has more mass under your left wrist. Personally I would prefer to have one with the large left pad and another than is long all the way across. The wrist rests attach to an unusual frame design that sticks out up under them for support. The design is cool looking but the downside is you can’t run the G910 without a wrist rest.
Typically most keyboards have basic flat design on the bottom but with the G910 Logitech designed all kinds of shapes into the base. In the middle you got have the standard sticker with the serial number, model, and all of the required regulation logos. The G910 has four main rubber feet with the two under the wrist rest being the largest but the two on the rear are also larger than a normal keyboards. There is a small one in the front center as well. There is also a rubber base to the slide out ARX Dock as well. We can see the framing under the wrist rest, I still can’t get over how weird of a design that is. You can also angle the G910 up if you prefer with two wide flip out feet. The feet do have rubber on the end, but there isn’t much, if you use these much I have a feeling the rubber will wear down and become useless on them fairly quick. Thankfully the huge pads on the front should be enough to keep 2 or 3 keyboards from moving.
So here we go, we finally get a good look at the new Romer-G switches. Physically the switches take up about the same amount of space as a standard Cherry MX switch. The difference here is with a Cherry switch the main portion of the switch is in the center and the LED lighting is basically an afterthought with the LED on the top or bottom of the switch. When designing the Romer-G switch they were able to focus on the LED placement, putting it in the middle of the switch and then forming the slider around it.
Given the completely unique Romer-G switches the keycaps on the G910 are designed specifically to work with them. On the underside we can see that rather than the normal stem that you would find on a Cherry MX keycap these caps just have four clips that latch on to the switch. This design in combination with the center mounted LED helps put the light up the middle of the keycap. As for the keycap itself Logitech uses a thin transparent abs plastic with a black paintjob. The legends are etched off, just like most everyone else does for their backlit keycaps.
The shape of the keycaps on the G910 are something I’ve never seen at all before. Rather than having a cylindrical top shape they have an angled design that has hard edges. Some of the caps just have angles on the sides and other caps have the angled shape on the sides and top. Specifically the keys on your left hand have the three sides top shap and everything you would use your right hand on doesn’t. I have no explanation as to why though. With these being oddly shaped, ABS, and thin it’s a shame that there won’t be any replacement keycap options available in the aftermarket like with Cherry MX switches.
With the G91 using a completely new switch and a keycap design that is unique to the keyboard its no surprise that when we look at the keycap profile from the side it’s not using an OEM style profile. There is a bit of a curve to the keycap profile, just like the OEM, but the curve is less pronounced. The G910 isn’t a flat profile, but it is close. What I also found really weird about the keycap profile when I was checking it out is that they aren’t even uniform from row to row. The G keys on the left have a different profile than some of the other keys in their same rows. Even weirder in my option is that the modifier keys on the left side of the keyboard don’t have any profile to them at all. Specifically the left shift, control, and the windows key. If you look close you can see that they are basically flat where the keys next to them are profiled. I don’t understand why because the modifier keys on the right side didn’t have this issue. Those same keys hardly have any of the weird angular shape to the top of the caps as well. Given that they even went out of the way to give the spacebar a matching shape I don’t understand why these would hardly have any shape at all.
For the cord on the G910 Logitech went a completely different direction than everyone else. The cord isn’t detachable and they dropped the sleeved cord design. In fact the cord is just a basic thick plastic with nothing worth noting. They didn’t even fish for an extra marketing port with a gold plated cord like most other manufactures. What they did do though is manage to run all of the backlighting and keyboard off of one plug, keeping things simple.
The G910 Orion Spark uses the same Logitech Gaming Software that they use for all of their gaming lineup. The basic look of the software hasn’t changed for a while but the do continue to update adding features and support for new products. Logitech’s software was the first to support multiple devices and set the standard for what peripheral software should do so going into my testing I had high expectations but also high hopes. When you open it up there is a large photo of the G910 right upfront. Down along the bottom we have all of the page options as well as a small photo of the G910. Where the small photo is you will see all of your plugged in Logitech devices here, it just happens that in my testing I didn’t have any other Logitech devices hooked up. Depending on what device page you are on it will change what page options you have down there.
The first page is the gaming page. Here Logitech zooms in on the left side of the G910 where the G keys are located. Here we can click on a G key and set what you want the key to do. You can set macros, open programs, or anything else you can imagine. At first I thought you were limited to just editing the G keys but on the left you can actually select any key on the keyboard and edit its function. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t let you click the keys in the G910 image to do this though. Up top you can set profiles or even select games/programs that you want to activate specific profiles.
With this being Logitech’s first full RGB mechanical keyboard, the lighting portion of the software was of course my biggest focus. To make things simple over on the left you can select from four different lighting modes. Each mode changes the options in the menu to the right as well as on the keyboard. You can program the lights individually in their freestyle mode, this lets you click on in individual keys or drag and select multiple keys to set to each color. The lighting zone mode is different that what I have seen from other manufactures, here you can make or select from zones and then set specific colors for each zone. Next is the commands mode where it will light up all of the normal game keys. You can also turn on the non-game keys in a different color or brightness if you prefer as well. Then Last is the effects mode where you can select from five different effects. Each effect has its own individual options as well so you can change things like the effect speed, colors used, and even the direction of the wave effects.
Like SteelSeries and Razer, Logitech has also built into their software the ability to be able to record your typing and do heat maps of use. This is a great way to be able to see what keys you use the most when gaming and rearrange your mapping to be more effective. They have two modes here, one maps out how many times you click a key and the other shows how long you hold a key. This is important because in some games you might only click a direction key once but hold it down as you walk around.
Because the Logitech ARX app runs through their gaming software there is also a setting page. Here when you setup the app it will pop up and ask you to approve the device. You can also manually connect, see and control all of the devices you have authorized, and turn the ARX service on and off all together. I love that they let you run it on multiple devices. As someone with a few tablets and phones it is nice to be able to program them all and just use whatever is close.
As always when it was time to test the G910 I replaced my main PCs keyboard. This way it would see game time as well as everyday internet browsing and all of my writing as well. Adjusting to the G910 did take a little time. The indented keycap design isn’t something that you see on any other computer. Even after adjusting to the keyboard I really couldn’t get used to the design both because they were a little too indented but also because the shape of the keycaps isn’t consistent across the keyboard. I spoke with Logitech about this and I was told they actually designed the caps to have more “shape” to the caps that see more use in gaming. The other issue with the keycaps that took me a while to adjust too was that there is less of a gap between each key than you see on most keyboards. The switches aren’t spaced closer though, the caps just have less of a taper from bottom to top. This causes me to have more typos (I even had a typo when typing typo) with my fat fingers. That said I do like that the space bar is angled back not forward, on keyboards I plan to use a lot I like to flip the spacebar both for comfort and also to prevent the one edge from wearing.
Beyond the keycaps though this was our first look at the new Romer-G keyswitches that Logitech designed along with Omron. I spoke about the design earlier but now that we are talking about their performance there are a couple others things to note. For starters they designed the switches for gaming use so much like a few of the other manufactures the switches have a high actuation point to help speed up response time. The overall throw of the switch is still just like a Cherry MX switch not a short throw like SteelSeries did with their new switches. Logitech also designed the Romer-G switches to feel like browns so they do have a tactile feel just like browns. The other half of the focus for gaming was making sure that the new switches can handle the extreme use. They designed the new switch with two contact points meaning that even if one fails the other still makes contact. The switches are rated at 70 million key presses where a Cherry MX Brown is rated to 50 million. So how do the switches perform? Well they do feel a lot like a Cherry MX Brown although I think they feel slightly mushy in comparison. By that I mean that when bottomed out they don’t have as much of a solid feeling, still worlds better than a non-mechanical keyboard though. The raised actuation point, much like with the Razer switch, isn’t noticeable to me when gaming or typing but given how bad I play I’m all for any advantage I might be able to get.
The other half of the new switches is the full RGB backlighting that comes up through the middle of the keyswitch. With the G19s and G510s I had complaints that the RGB backlighting was dim in comparison to the single color backlighting of the old G15’s and our G710+. The G910 on the other hand is capable of bright backlighting in any color you want. The color reproduction is good, a lot of times we have to use a red to get a proper orange but the G910 was spot on. Most importantly the keyboard is capable of individual key backlighting, something the older membrane keyboards could never do. Using the software you can set each key to its own color, set up lighting zones, or even run effects. Logitech has also worked with a few of the game designers to add in special effects to go with what’s going on in game. A good example of this is in GTA, when you have the cops chasing you your keyboard actually flashes red and blue!
The G keys on the left and up above the F keys for macros don’t typically end up being very useful for me but the one thing I love about Logitech Gaming keyboards is having the ability to program a macro on the fly. Even for someone who rarely uses them I found myself making a few here and there messing around. I didn’t really have any need for the ability to flip between three macro layers though. The left side keys are easy to reach when gaming but the four keys up above the F row are just too far away from me to reach while gaming. If they were in place of the F keys they would be perfect. I did however put the media controls to good use, especially the volume roller.
The swappable wrist rest looked cool when going over the features but putting it to use was a little hard. The thinner wrist rest wasn’t long enough to use at all. The longer model that is included wasn’t to bad for my left hand but did nothing outside of gaming. In fact both actually got in the way outside of gaming. When I tried to use a standard wrist rest with the keyboard I couldn’t get the pad close enough to the keyboard. Typically in this situation I would just remove the wrist rest but the G910 has a framing up under it that is built into the keyboard. Hopefully in the future Logitech considers making it removable and including a rest that better supports people when they get out of game. I know even the biggest pros still browse Reddit and post on their social media.
Last but not least, how did the new ARX Dock and App work? Well I used it with my tablet a few times as well as with my phone. Functionally it worked fairly well but there were times were it would disconnect. More importantly I couldn’t find a list of games supported currently, there only seem to be a few right now. The most popular gaming right now is League of Legend, Logitech worked very close with Riot with the old built in screen but currently they don’t support ARX. Hopefully they add support there and to other games, I’m told that right now they have 10+ games integrations being worked on. In the end ARX is a cool idea but it is going to be a little longer before it is mature and has enough games to really justify it. It would be a nice bonus to have a full power USB charging port along with a few short charging cables, with that I would be sure to always keep my phone in the ARX dock.
Overall and Final Verdict
Without a doubt the G910 Orion Spark is a drastic change from the what they did the last few years. With the G510s and G19s they just rebranded and continued to sell basically the same product. The G910 isn’t just an RGB version of the G710+, they brought it in line with the new styling that we have seen on the G602 and G502 mice, introduced new key switches, and gave everyone the RGB backlighting they want. With so many changes it’s no wonder that I did have a lot of feedback both good and bad. The 910 was polarizing for me. While using it I fell in love with its kick ass backlighting and learned to hate the overly shaped and wide keycaps. The software was easy to use and full of features just like it always is. I also loved the use of real media keys rather than just leaning on a function button. The new Romer-G key switches weren’t perfect, they did feel a little mushy, but they performed well and the tactile feedback was good.
Then on the other end of the spectrum the wrist rest was frustrating, the lopsided design was only useful for one hand and it couldn’t be removed. The new G keys up above the F Keys were a cool idea but even with my large hands I couldn’t reach them, I hope they consider putting them below the F Row in the future rather than dropping that row all together. I also would love to see them use a little less of the unneeded weird designs like the design etched into the WASD and direction pad. Gamers like a little flash but I think just as many people want a clean keyboard with the gaming features.
So is the G910 Orion Spark the keyboard to pick up? Well for me personally the aggressive styling is a little too much. It’s a shame really because I love most of the actual features. I would love to see Logitech bring out a similar model packed full of the same features but with styling closer to their new MX Master mouse. That said I really don’t think any of the completion has perfected their RGB keyboards as well so the G910 is still a great option for anyone looking for a full RGB keyboard.
Live Pricing: HERE