05 December 2016

Experiences with a Logitech G610 keyboard

As I was looking to replace my aging Cherry rubber dome keyboard I ended up picking up a Logitech G610 mechanical gaming keyboard from Bol.com with Cherry MX Brown switches.

My main reasons for picking this particular keyboard:

  • inexpensive (for a mechanical keyboard)
  • tactile feedback (which is a touted benefit of mechanical keyboards, when using the correct switches)
  • key sensitivity of Cherry MX Brown switches is close to that of rubber dome keyboards
  • backlight (I often work in a dark or darkened room, so that was a nice bonus)
  • non-baroque design: looks like a "normal" keyboard, which isn't exactly a given with gaming apparel

So upon unpacking the keyboard I immediately noticed its weight, it's pretty hefty when you're used to those cheap rubber dome keyboards.

Layout

The second thing I noticed was the layout. I had taken extra care to get a keyboard with a US layout (since that's what my Cherry has).

This is where my expectations met reality. See, there are two major types of keyboard layouts, ANSI and ISO which we can simplify to "small return button" and "big return button". In the US they generally use the ANSI layout (except Apple I think, bu tthey deviate from the ANSI standard as well) so that's what I was expecting, unfortunately what I got as an ISO layout US QWERTY.

For none of the keyboards on Bol.com it was listed whether the layout was ANSI or ISO (same goes for Amazon.de for that matter), Logitech also didn't list this information anywhere and to top it off uses a misleading image of an ANSI layout keyboard (probably a real us keyboard).

I have since confirmed with Logitech that they do not sell these keyboards with an ANSI US layout in my region.

While annoying that in itself wouldn't have been reason to send the keyboard back.

Software

So I mentioned in the introduction the keyboard has a backlight, I really like this on the MacBook so I considered this a plus. Alas, the backlight doesn't default to something sane (like white) but instead goes over the keyboard in a of wave like pattern while cycling through colours.

The only way to change this is by installing Logitech's software, but as soon as you exit this software the keyboard goes back to its default wave-pattern-state. Which means that when using an alternate OS (I use both GNU/Linux and Mac OS heavily) I'd likey be stuck with the "default" pattern.

I'd assume there would be workarounds for this but I didn't really investigate (for reasons that will become clear later).

Feel

I had read stories about how mechanical keyboards "feel" vastly different from regular rubber dome ones and how many people really can't get used to the them which is one of the reasons I was a bit hesitant to spend a lot of money one one and why I picked one that feel-wise should be rather close to a rubber dome one. I'm happy to report that based on my short test-run this shouldn't have been much of an issue, the keyboard appeared pleasant enough on and the difference in "feel" from a regular keyboard was something I think I'd get used to in short order.

Conclusion

In the end I had to return the keyboard because a couple of keys didn't register (notably "tab", "q" and "w") and due to the above disadvantages I decided to just refund the keyboard instead of getting a replacement. If not for the defects I'd probably have kept it as the hardware itself seemed solid.

This means I'm still looking for a replacement for my current keyboard, perhaps I should just take the plunge and buy an Unicomp although their noisyness is scaring me off a bit...

Tags: Hardware Keyboards