So… I picked up the revamped Logitech G15 keyboard today because I had heard good things about the original, and the reviews of the second revision were also positive. After having used it for a few hours, I decided to throw my two cents out on to the ‘net. There’s not much point in me taking pictures, since the thing looks exactly like the ones on Logitech’s website.
Hardware wise – it’s an excellent product. The keys have a good feel to them, and the whole keyboard feels solidly built. The positioning of the gaming hotkeys is simple, and makes sense. Aside from WoW, I can’t think of too many games where more than 6 keys are readily accessible, and you’ve still got a total of 18 customizable keys, by selecting the different memory groups. I haven’t actually tested it, but it feels as though my typing has sped up because of the improved “feel”.
One thing that concerns me… and it’s not well documented is the fact that the USB hub on the keyboard fails to provide accessibility for my USB flash drive. When I plug the same drive into a normal USB port, Device Manager in Windows XP tells me that the device is pulling 200mA. It makes me wonder what would happen if I were to plug in my MX518 into one port (like they show in their pictures) and a USB headset into the other plug… what’s the point in providing USB ports if they can’t power the devices you’re using? The idea is great… it’s just poorly implemented. For Rev 3, add another USB plug to the computer side of things to provide power for the USB hub.
I will say one thing – illuminated keys rule. It’s VERY handy being able to look down at your keyboard in the dark to find the key you’re looking for, while not relying on the reflected light from your monitor. In reading the reviews and product specs, I thought that it might be too gimmicky, but it’s actually useful.
Now… software. Logitech… start taking notes.
If you want to impress the gamers who want the best performance out of their system, make your hotkey management and LCD apps all rolled into one process. Intelligent computer users know that separate processes doesn’t always mean slower performance, and I doubt that I’d start losing any performance when playing CounterStrike:Source, but there are 1337 players out there who don’t know any better. One process looks prettier than seven.
Secondly – let me hide the damned system tray icon!!! You’ve been letting users do this with MouseWare and SetPoint for ages, so why stop now? Keyboard mappings is something that I’m probably going to setup when I first start playing the game, but after that – let the software work in the background without cluttering up my system tray.
Also – where did my OSD go from SetPoint? I found the on screen volume indicators VERY useful when I had my MX3200, and it’s a bit of a shame to not have it available at all. I know the G15 is marketed as a gaming keyboard, but you should at least provide some functionality to make it an everyday keyboard as well. You’ve got the media keys there, but they do absolutely nothing for me information wise.
Long story short – the software does what it’s supposed to, but doesn’t provide many options. You’ve got the codebase for most of this stuff in your SetPoint software, so why not port some of that over? It just seems like a big step backwards from what I’m used to getting from Logitech in terms of ease of use and functionality. If anything, you should have taken SetPoint and added onto it. That way I can manage my G15 and MX518 (or G5/G7/G9) all in the same place. It’d make a bit more sense, no?
Now… would I recommend this to others? Possibly. If you’re looking for a simple keyboard for everyday use, save yourself the money and get a Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 – it’s much cheaper and much simpler. If you are a gamer that can actually make use of the special key bindings, I’d say go for it. The quality of the keyboard is excellent, and it took me nearly no time at all to get used to the slightly different layout from my MX3200 keyboard.