|Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Monday, 22 October 2012|
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Gaming Keyboard Final Thoughts
I found myself warming to the Cherry MX Brown key switches the more I used them, but they remain an acquired taste. Some people will prefer the linear action MX Red or MX Black switches for a gaming keyboard, but I think that the tactile but non-clicky MX Brown switches might represent a pretty decent compromise if you're going to use a keyboard for lots of typing and lots of gaming.
The Logitech Gaming Software works well, but doesn't break any new ground in capability or features. It automatically identifies the applicable Logitech mouse and keyboard you're using, but its help system remains generic and thus isn't as usable as it could be, especially given that the keyboard comes with no documentation, sometimes leaving you to guess whether your device has the capability you're trying to get help on or not.
The most interesting feature this keyboard has is its dual-zone lighting. I don't think it makes that much difference in actual use, but it does look cool. Some other vendors have started shipping keyboards with optional, differently-textured caps for the WASD cluster, letting you find them by feel. This is something Logitech should consider.
The mechanical keyboard renaissance means that this G710+ is up against some pretty heavy competition. It seems that a new mechanical gaming keyboard is announced every time you turn around, and price competition is starting to heat up. This means that people looking at this keyboard will be cross-shopping competitors' products like the Corsair Vengeance K90, which offers 18 definable keys based on Cherry MX Red switches but costs $30 less. At $149.99, it's not the most expensive keyboard Logitech makes, but the G710+ is still a very expensive keyboard.
Logitech G710+ Conclusion
Keyboard and mice are some of the most "individualized" components in your computer system. As such, different people will prefer different keyboard layouts, functions, and "key feels". In any case, mechanical switch keyboards are significantly more expensive than keyboards that use rubber dome or membrane switches, so consumers looking at this type of keyboard will spend more time evaluating them than they would a $10 generic keyboard, since a keyboard at this price level is going to be a long-term purchase.
The Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is sheathed in dark gray plastic with light gray accents, and a bright orange bezel around the six macro keys. The keys are black with gray lettering that lights up when the keyboard illumination is turned on, but the WASD and arrow keys are molded in silver plastic to visually distinguish them. The orange bezel around the macro keys struck me as a little garish but probably works well for the intended gamer demographic.
The top and bottom of the keyboard case are heavy duty plastic, and the keys themselves are snapped into a thick metal base plate, which gives the keyboard a significant dose of weight and stability. The quality of the Cherry MX Brown switches is excellent, of course. The USB cable, rather than being sheathed in mesh braiding as is the custom these days, has instead a very thick rubber coating that makes it about the size and weight of a standard AC power cord. It's a little odd but works well; in my experience, braiding tends to snag on things and start frazzling in short order.
The functionality of the keyboard is very good. I was surprised, but pleased, to see that all the media keys work without any software required on both Mac and Windows platforms. The Logitech Gaming Software adds a robust suite of macro functionality although it's nothing you won't see in other vendor's gaming keyboards. Six definable function keys, with 18 definitions available via the M1/M2/M3 keys, should be enough for almost any game, although having only six macros available at any one time might prove limiting in some of the more complex RPGs. The reversal of the regular and shifted legends on the keys is dictated by the location of the under-key LED, but can still prove potentially confusing.
The value proposition is the weakest point of the keyboard. For $149.99 (Newegg/Amazon), the G710+ is significantly more expensive than competing keyboards with similar or better functionality such as the Corsair Vengeance K90, Razer Black Widow Ultimate, or Thermaltake eSPORTS MEKA G.
The Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard will please any serious typist or gamer, but its price makes it a tough sell when so many less expensive alternatives exist.
+ Cherry MX Brown key switches nicely balance regular typing with gaming
- More expensive than competing keyboards
Final Score: 8.65 out of 10.
Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.
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