Logitech G19

Back in April of 2009, we brought you a brief first look at Logitech's G19 gaming keyboard. A year later, the G19 is still the flagship of Logitech's range: Paul Urquhart takes another look to see if it's still worthy of the hype.

NameGaming keyboard: Logitech G19
Summary:Fantastic gaming keyboard but unnecessarily expensive if you don't get the full use out of the LCD.
Rating:3.5/5
RRP:$400
Contact:logitech.co.nz

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Back in April of 2009, we brought you a brief first look at Logitech’s G19 gaming keyboard. A year later, the G19 is still the flagship of Logitech’s range: Paul Urquhart takes another look to see if it’s still worthy of the hype.

If you’re an avid gamer, media enthusiast, or just a plain old tech junkie, there is no denying that the G19 keyboard from Logitech is seriously drool-worthy.

In the same vein as novelty oversized speedometers screwed to car dashboards and rear-view mirrors attached to sunhats, having a full colour LCD screen plonked on top of your keyboard just screams excess. It is damn cool though.

Ignoring the screen, the G19 also happens to be a fantastic gaming keyboard, built on the successful heritage of the previous G11 and G15 boards. I’ve been to more gaming tournaments than any grown man ought to have, and the vast majority of amateur and professional gamers alike are using Logitech keyboards due to their resiliency and responsiveness.

The G19 has a fully backlit US-layout keypad and number pad, media playback and volume controls, plus twelve programmable macro keys and three macro profile buttons. There is also a switch which disables the Windows keys – i.e. the one between your Ctrl and Alt keys which knocks you back to your desktop if you accidentally hit it whilst playing a game. Very handy.

Not only are all the keys backlit, you can also customise the lighting to be any colour under the sun, and have a different colour scheme assigned to each of the three profiles. Personally, I found three uses for this system – firstly, it helps you know which profile you are currently using; secondly, some colours are easier to see than others in different lighting situations; and lastly, you can choose a colour to match your mood. Trust me, there’s nothing like banging out an angry email with your keyboard glowing blood red.

Going back to the main feature, the LCD screen can perform several functions. Using the bundled software you can set the screen up to display a clock, your inbox, music or media information, CPU and memory statistics, and you can even watch videos and YouTube clips. It’s also programmed to display certain information and statistics, like health and ammo counters, from dozens of games, but support for modern titles is a bit hit and miss.

You’re probably thinking that this all sounds a bit gimmicky, and the sad truth is that you’re right. I got over the novelty of watching YouTube clips on my keyboard after approximately three and a half eye-squinting minutes, and when gaming I never bothered to take my eyes off my monitor long enough to notice what was happening down on the mini-screen. The rest of the applications where also a bit pointless, but there is a Software Development Kit for it so, who knows, there might still be a few killer apps in development by the community.

At the end of the day, aside from the screen the G19 doesn’t offer a whole lot more than Logitech’s other recent release, the G110, and is almost three times the price. But hey, if you have the cash to splash and you are after that point of difference, then the rest of the keyboard certainly isn’t going to let you down.

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Paul Urquhart

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