As you would hope, it can also add to your actual gaming experience. Anyone who fondly remembers the separate optional screen in the Dreamcast’s controllers will be delighted with the GamePanel, as it can show stats and other information in compatible games to leave your main display free for the action. Tilted at the right angle, the G19’s big and clear screen only requires the quickest of glances to see the required information, and is especially suited to slower, stat-heavy games such as RPGs. Right now 80 games are supported, with more on the way.
It’s not all good news, however, as the colour screen and inbuilt OS with the hardware required to run it don’t come cheap, both in terms of power usage and actual price. The G19 is so power hungry that it requires its own power adapter, though it will work as a basic keyboard when not plugged into the mains.
Though not actually available to buy yet, the G19 has a pre-order price of £143.75. Hopefully this will go down when stock becomes widely available, but don’t count on it. The biggest question is, is it worth it? There’s no doubting that it’s an excellent product and that it offers unique features, potentially enhancing both gaming and productivity. But if you’re on a budget and have a good keyboard already, you might just want to get the G13 Advanced Gameboard instead, which offers many of the same features for less than half the price.
‘Lesser’ yet more affordable gaming keyboards such as the Microsoft SideWinder X6 (currently a steal at £43) or even Logitech’s older G11/15 are also worth checking out. If money is no object on the other hand, the G19 is the cream of the crop and you could even consider getting the G13 to go with it.
With multicoloured backlighting and a full-colour screen running its own embedded Linux OS, the impressive and stylish G19 is a high-end gaming keyboard demanding a high price to match. If you have the cash and don’t mind its few minor flaws this is the keyboard to get, but there are cheaper ways to get your gaming fix.
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