All prices correct on amazon.com at time if writing.
For hard-core gamers who need every edge they can get in that multiplayer frag-fest, or who want total mastery of their character in World of Warcraft, having the right gaming peripherals can mean the difference between life and death. In addition to the advantages good peripherals can give you in-game, having gear that is comfortable to use is also an important factor when you spend a lot of time in front of your computer screen. I have decided to start looking at high-end keyboards for those of you who accept no compromise in their gaming setup, and first up is the new, top of the range G19 from Logitech.
G19 Gaming Keyboard ($241)
An upgrade to Logitech’s popular G15 and G12, the main new feature on the G19 is the 320 x 240 ‘GamePanel’ screen, so let’s take a look…
- The G19 looks very good with a streamlined design and smart looking matte and glossy blacks with bluish and metallic insets which match Logitech’s other G-series gear
- The LCD backlighting looks stunning and (apart from the M-key and LCD control keys which remain orange at all times) is programmable to any color
- Despite not having a rubberized coating the keys respond well with a nice click, and provide a good grip with noticeable (if a little on the soft side) feedback response
- Overall excellent build quality with the LCD screen attached by a thick metal bar
- 12 fully programmable G-keys with cycle-able M1, M2 and M3 keys to effectively give a total of 36 keys you can assign to macros, keystrokes, shortcuts or scripts
- Automatic game detection and profile loading
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- The full color LCD screen looks good and works well, displaying RSS feeds, system performance information, clock and calendar info and includes a picture and move viewer and even a YouTube player. The screen is easy to control using the 8 dedicated control keys and D-pad and video looks great on it
- The GamePanel is great for displaying game stats and info in compatible games
- Logitech have stuck with a fairly traditional keyboard layout, with the alphanumeric keys offering a very familiar experience to those upgrading from the G15. This is ok, but it is a bit of a shame that there is no moveable number pad, such as the one featured on the Microsoft SideWinder x6
- The G-keys could be better laid out
- The screen is a bit of a novelty and of debatable long term use although useful for keeping an eye on incoming emails and such-like
- The wide distance between keys can make things a bit awkward at times
- The detachable wrist-rest feels a little flimsy
- All the advanced features of the G19 take a lot of power to run and the keyboard needs its own power supply
The G19 gaming keyboard is a great but of kit for those wanting one of the best keyboards currently available, no matter the cost. Sturdily built, thoughtfully designed for maximum functionality, comfortable to use and beautiful to look at, this keyboard will definitely add to your gaming experience.