With all that out of the way, how does the G13 actually perform? Its moulded shape is comfortable for extended periods of time, and though initially stretching my thumb to fully cover the stick was painful, after an hour of play it was no longer an issue. Buttons also felt nice and crisp, with the only complaint about response being that pressing down on the thumb-stick is a little too stiff. Playing some RPGs and RTSs presented no problem, basically because in these cases all you really need the pad for is as a button repository.
In Call of Duty 4 though, because of the way the G-keys are all packed together rather than the more staggered and divided layout of, say, the Cyborg Command Unit, I frequently found myself pressing the wrong key in a hectic firefight. This did become less frequent over an extended period, but overall my good old keyboard simply felt more comfortable. Only once I started using the thumb-stick for things like leaning, jumping and crouching did I find the G13 offering unique advantages compared to a keyboard and overall more intuitive to use.
Also, though it's not an issue in COD4 where you can only carry two weapons at a time, in other FPS games having no 'number' keys above the G-equivalents of WASD is rather limiting and sometimes downright frustrating.
Overall then, the G13 Advanced Gameboard would have been a better product if Logitech had copied Saitek's gamepad in two things: a real analog thumb-stick (preferably switchable to digital mode to become a four-way button pad when required) and a row of usable gaming keys above the indented WASD ones. However, these complaints are minor compared to the overall experience, which as with most Logitech peripherals is very good.
Interestingly, the G13 is also incredibly handy in certain productivity scenarios. Used in conjunction with a graphics tablet, for example, its macro functionality and flexibility combined with a small footprint (compared to a full keyboard) make it a useful tool. Even in addition to a normal keyboard, it's highly recommended for anyone who uses lots of complex shortcuts or regularly performs actions requiring repeated sets of key-presses.
Generally available for around £60 online, the G13 is the most expensive gaming keypad out there by a considerable margin, but justifies the premium with a whole load of exclusive features and excellent build quality.
While not quite the consummate marvel we had hoped for, despite its flaws Logitech's G13 Advanced Gameboard is the most desirable gaming keypad on the market and justifies its high price with features like a programmable LCD screen and backlighting in any colour you could want. We can't wait to see how the inevitable sequel turns out.