|Logitech G15 2007 Programmable LCD Gaming Keyboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 12 November 2007|
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While the Logitech G15 2007 Programmable LCD Gaming Keyboard features illuminated keys, there is one small problem I encountered during the daylight hours where the rooms' lighting is brighter than that of the keyboards. Logitech uses an opaque translucent plastic instead of the standard bright white paint to mark the characters. So when the back-lighting is off, the keys all become difficult to make out. The image below was taken with a flash, and even so the keys are a difficult to make out; at least compared to keyboards marked with bright white letters.
Logitech introduced the 160 by 43 pixel GamePanel LCD screen in the new G15 2007 Gaming Keyboard. This feature helps to give gamers critical information to help them win. Not too many games are compatible with the feature (listed in the specifications from page one), and the information it displays is really more supplemental information than anything else. Out of the box you can also utilize the GamePanel software to:
For listed and compatible games, there was nothing extra which was necessary to have the GamePanel LCD display additional information while in-game. When Titan Quest: Immortal Throne was loaded the GamePanel LCD immediately displayed the game name, and then three different information screens rotated thereafter. I was pleased by how easy this worked, but I was left unimpressed by the very limited support for more popular games. The lack of a customizable interface also leaves something to be desired; although there is a free G15 software development kit available if you are keen to programming.
In the image below, all of the back-lit text appears bright and clear. That's because this picture was taken at a 90-degree angle from directly overhead the Logitech G15 2007 keypad in a completely dark room - which means it represents the absolute best lighting possible from the keyboard. Even in this image, which I would consider a baseline, there are already indications of dark edges near the upper portion of each key button.
I then moved the camera position to a 45-degree angle, similar to the location an average user would have while seated in relation to the Logitech G15 2007 Programmable LCD Gaming Keyboard. In the image below you can see how the upper portion of some characters are completely missing, especially the "!", "@", and "#" symbols as well as the "Tab" and "Caps Lock" keys. While not shown (I wanted emphasis on the letter keys), the block of six buttons above the arrow keys (starting with "Print Screen" and ending with "Page Down") were all the worst off.
Now for the real bad new: the image above had to receive a 40% increase in contrast just to have similar brightness to the baseline image, otherwise you would hardly be able to see the back-lit keys at all. Perhaps I could make a suggestion? In future iterations of the product, make the illumination much brighter with focused LED's.
When I first discovered that there were two USB ports on the backside of the Logitech G15 2007, I was relieved that I wouldn't have to keep reaching behind the computer to plug in certain devices. While most mouse cords are as long (and usually longer) than the cord on this keyboard, it seems understandable that I might try to use other USB devices in these ports.
Logitech labels these USB ports "Full Speed", which is misleading. Officially, all obsolete USB standards, which presently include USB 1.0 (1.5 Mbps) and USB 1.1 (12 Mbps) are referred to as Original USB. Only the current standard of USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) is referred to as Hi-Speed USB.
When I plugged in the Logitech G9 3200 dpi Laser USB Gaming Mouse, it lit right up and didn't miss a beat. The large collection of mouse products I had collected also worked without a hitch. This was attributed to mouse peripherals requiring 1.5MBps, or in certain rare cases (such as Laser mouse products) they may require the 12 MBps that USB 1.1 provides. Suffice it to say, the ports work well with every mouse available, from the most simple roller ball to the complex laser.
But when I plugged in a simple OCZ VBoost USB Flash Drive the system immediately displayed a "USB Hub Power Exceeded" warning. Trying to plug in my camera worked fine (albeit slow), but my Motorola L2 cell phone would also give the Hub Power Exceeded error. Eventually I would discover that while the product is named G15 2007, it has the USB compatibility of 1997 because Logitech used USB 1.1 ports when it should have used the 2001-established standard of Hi-Speed USB 2.0.
On the underside of the Logitech G15 2007 Programmable LCD Gaming Keyboard you will discover a very subtle piece of ingenuity. Nearly all keyboards have legs that swing out towards the back of the device, which is fine for most stationary keyboards. But when the gaming heats up, its very possible to have your keyboard shift and move on you, which is why Logitech has designed the legs in a transverse configuration; allowing them to remain extended and never collapse.