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Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard
Logitech is one of the most prominent peripheral brands in the world and certainly my first port of call when considering a new mouse or keyboard. Almost all of the high-end machines that come through our labs seem to get bundled with Logitech gear, which is a pretty good indication of quality.
The Logitech G15 gaming keyboard, is much more than “just a keyboard”.
It's quite big, due to the extended set of keys on the left (more on that later). All of the keys are actually transparent, and then painted in black, leaving the characters transparent, so the light from the blue LEDs underneath shines through, like Saitek first did with its Eclipse keyboard last year. However, it suffers from the same problem as the Saitek in that when you reboot your PC the keyboard light defaults to on. I generally only need the light on when I'm gaming in the dark, so I would have preferred a setting to do this.
The action on the keys was pleasant – no complaints here. It felt fine for gaming and the angle of the keyboard was good. However, when it came to typing, I struggled immensely. I've been using the Enermax Aurora at work, and a Microsoft Multimedia keyboard at home and not had any issues transitioning. However, with this, I found myself constantly pressing the wrong keys, and shifting my words entirely over by one letter. The keys look slightly smaller and densely packed than say the Enermax, perhaps as a space saving measure.
After typing for a while on it, I have started to get used to it – but I've never had this much trouble adapting to a keyboard. I also found I was getting pain in a finger I don't usually get pain in. Related? Possibly. But then I do tend to abuse my hands somewhat riding mountain bike trials. So who knows what is to blame.
One reason this keyboard is really cool for gaming, is there is a switch for turning off the Windows keys. When playing a game, accidentally pressing the start menu key is incredibly annoying – on slower machines, it can be enough to crash the game!
On the left hand side of the keyboard, are 18 custom, programmable keys. These are programmable to perform both simple and complex keystrokes. This can be great for certain games, where assigning a few repetitive keystrokes to a single button can really save time. Above the keys, you can choose what bank of macros you are using. For instance, you could have different macros for different games or applications giving a total of 54 programmable keys.
Recording a macro is pretty smartly done, as you don't need to code or use special software. It's done there and then inside your application. Just press the record button, select the button to assign a macro to and then perform your key strokes.
A limitation of this system, over something like AutoHotKey, is that it can't record mouse movements. However, there is almost always a keyboard shortcut for most things you want to do with a mouse anyway. You can choose to record natural pauses, or leave them out for speedy macros. However, this seemed to be a global option and it would have been nice to be able to change this setting on a per macro basis.
As a warning, there have been cases of people being banned from World of Warcraft for using G15 macros.