Logitech announced their mechanical gaming keyboard, the G710+, earlier this month and it is available in the United States today. Logitech was nice enough to send me a review unit and I have been using it exclusively on my home PC for the past two weeks. I have put it through its paces, playing some games and doing a lot of typing. Paired with my Logitech Laser mouse, I had quite a setup going and it makes me think more and more about building a new gaming PC.
Shopping for a keyboard seems a lot like shopping for shoes. All keyboards are basically the same except for the features listed on the back of the box, right? Wrong. What many people don’t understand is that there can be a lot of difference between two keyboards and their performance lying under each key. The G710+ boasts a lot of highly desirable features for gamers, a quality build from Logitech, and the components under the keys. All of these features work together to provide a high-performing mechanical keyboard.
First of all, unboxing the G710+, you can’t help but notice the sturdiness and heft of the keyboard. It is heavier than your typical keyboard which makes it feel durable and brings to mind the keyboard scene from the movie Wanted.
Other physical features you will notice include sturdy legs to increase the tilt of the keyboard that maintain the firm grip the keyboard has on your desk. In addition, the keyboard comes with an attachable palm rest for increased comfort. To go along with the heft of the keyboard, it is a wired keyboard and the USB cable coming out of the back of it is pretty beefy and the connection requires two USB ports on your computer.
You can’t help but notice the highlighted-in-orange G-buttons on the left side. These six buttons can be programmed for up to 18 functions per game using the Logitech Gaming Software (downloadable from Logitech.com). The M keys at the top-left are used to configure and switch between your different programmed macros.
With the G710+ taking up two USB ports on your computer, the keyboard conveniently offers a USB 2.0 pass-through port for a USB key or your mouse on the top-side of the keyboard. This is a nice, simple feature that I’m using to connect my mouse. It gives my mouse extra reach now and repositions the cable so it doesn’t drag and catch on the back edge of my desk.
This keyboard is the first backlit keyboard I’ve used that isn’t a laptop. It’s a really nice feature and means I can use the computer easily in low-light conditions without having to turn a room light on. If you’ve ever started gaming in the afternoon and played for a while and realized it was pitch black outside when you stopped, you’ll appreciate the keyboard backlight. The light has five different levels of intensity, including off. You cycle through the levels using a button above the F-keys. The Direction keys (arrow keys along with WASD) are not only grey where the rest of the keys are black can also have their backlight independently controlled with the same five different levels of intensity.
One of my favorite features include the media keys and the volume roller. There is also a quick mute button next to the volume roller to silence everything. I really like the volume roller. When you’re in a game, you don’t have access to the Windows volume slider in the system tray but this roller allows you to fine tune the volume at any time. It also has a really good feel to it with the perfect balance of resistance and smooth scrolling.
In the top-right, you have your typical three indicator lights: Capslock, Numlock, and Scroll lock. In addition, there is an icon with an old Atari controller below a fourth indicator light. A matching icon is on an extra button at the top next to the M-keys. I had to refer to the instructions to find out what this function does and it turns out to be one of those features I didn’t even know I needed. When you hit the game button, it puts the keyboard into ‘Game Mode’ and disables the Windows keys and the Context menu key. This means, you won’t accidentally hit the key and throw yourself out of your game just because you accidentally landed on one of those keys. Particularly given the prominence of the Windows key with Windows 8, I could see it causing some real havoc in the middle of a game
Speaking of Windows 8, I plugged the keyboard into my PC and it was immediately recognized and running fine on Microsoft’s newest operating system.
Mechanical keyboards are of a higher quality than their cheaper rubber-dome counterparts. Logitech brings their usual build quality to the G710+ with their highly anticipated mechanical keyboard designed for gamers. Folks that do a lot of typing should notice a different that makes the experience more enjoyable. Many people like the click-clack of a mechanical keyboard and have missed it since older keyboards. The G710+ is labeled as “whisper quiet” but it still has a fair amount of click-clack, especially if you get going while typing something. With this keyboard I was able to break my personal best typing speed and reach 81 words-per-minute at TypingTest.com. While typing away, the keyboard was making a good amount of clacks but the noise and feel of the key was synchronized with each keypress instead of the sloppy rattle that comes with rubber-dome keyboards. Getting more familiar with the G710+ has also led to a more comfortable experience since you don’t have to bottom out each key press to ensure it registers with the computer. This better sensitivity also improves the in-game experience with more accurate double-taps being registered and the spacebar being more adaptive. The 26-key rollover also helps ensure the computer receives exactly the input you entered. It means “you can press up to 26 keys simultaneously and all the keystrokes are fully reported to your computer”.
I’m very pleased with the keyboard. It is very solid, doesn’t slide away, and has great features like the macro keys and the media keys with the volume roller. The use of mechanical switches also makes each key press more comfortable and require less force to type a key. All the things I like about the keyboard aside, the keyboard does have a few things that I would like to see done differently.
I find the symbols, such as punctuation, and those under the numbers a bit hard to read. With the LED lit up fully or good ambient light, their faded grey makes them less prominent than a normal key and can delay finding a particular key.
My other complaint has to do with the orange macro keys. The macros seem most useful for MMOs and maybe RTS games. I couldn’t come up with a whole lot of use for them in the FPS games I was playing. Even so, it’s a nice feature to have and I’ll have to look into it more to find out what I can make into a macro in order to take advantage of the keys. My actual complaint with the macro keys is their location. Usually, you can just reach up and hit the top-left corner of the keyboard to hit the Escape key. That isn’t the case with this keyboard since you will wind up hitting the G1 key. So far, I have found myself needing to hit ESC a lot more than use the macro keys.
My final change that I would like to see is truly a wishlist feature but I think it would be nice to be able to program the macros without additional software. I can see that it would be pretty easy to do this if you limited the keyboard to just 18 macros but offering 18 macros-per-game, I can see requiring additional software.
To summarize my opinion of this keyboard, it’s a must-buy if you are a gamer or even a frequent typist. You should be able to tell the difference between the mechanical switches and with Logitech’s backing, it makes for a great keyboard. The price is a little high at $149.99 when you can get a cheap Logitech keyboard for under $15 but the build quality follows the price increase and if you build your next gaming computer, it should be included in the list of components.
For more information about the Logitech G710+ mechanical gaming keyboard check out its official page on Logitech.com or if my review has already convinced you, you can purchase the keyboard from Amazon.com.
A review unit of the Logitech G710+ mechanical gaming keyboard was provided by Logitech and did not sway this review. I have been using the keyboard for the past two weeks and base my review solely on my experience with this keyboard and other keyboards that I have used in the past.