Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard ReviewBluePanda - December 12, 2013
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Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard Closer Look:
Keeping a distance at first, we take a full look at the entire keyboard before really diving into its details. The G19s has a very dark blue base plate around all the keys. If you look closely and at the right angles it actually has a bit of a metallic appearance, like metallic paint on a car (I only wish my car's paint looked this good!). The WASD and arrow keys stand out with their grey-silver color and draw your attention to them as they scream out "gaming keyboard" to you. It makes me think of the low end keyboards that try so hard at having the "gaming" appearance with gawdy red WASD or "special" keys. Though these stand out, they still feel the same as the rest of the keys and visually don't hurt your eyes too much. Besides the LCD screen attempting to reflect a shot of me taking its picture, the only other big item that jumps out at me from this distant view is the big shiny "G" logo as part of the keyboard's center. Do note here that the wrist rest is affixed and shall be for the remainder of the review. It does attach quite easily and does add a substantial amount of comfort in use.
The back of the keyboard is full of regular Philips screws and around eight or so pegs that help alight the keyboard in assembly. This brings us back to me wanting to take it apart – but I guess I should leave it together long enough to review. You can see there are three rubber feet on the lower edge of the keyboard with nothing at the upper edge (I said much about this with the G510s if you need a refresher); but ultimately it's not too bad even on a glass desk. The wrist rest itself has three additional feet that add more than enough support even if you have heavy wrists. The rest also has four clips to hold it on to the keyboard, meaning it isn't going to pop off all the time – and if you break one, well you've got three more (though I don't think this will be a problem).
Looking a little closer at the top of the keyboard, where you are lacking the rubber feet, you can see the little feet folded neatly into the keyboard. They fit cleanly with a "like a glove" feel", which means they actually lay flat when folded in. When flipped up they don't seem super beefy by any means, but so far they have stood up to my incessant banging of keys with no problems. However, I will say that with the feet folded in the keyboard has quite the rake down and away from yourself. I felt it a necessity to use feet out.
Taking a shot of the left of the keyboard you can really see the blue, metallic plate behind the keys. There is a little bit of silver detail marked in around the three sets of macro keys to help outline and accent their existence. The G510s also had this little bit that really seems to add a little class to the keyboard. We'll talk about the profile buttons up top a little more in detail in a bit (I know you are curious). You again see the silver "walking" keys: WASD. They look pretty nice – but as the same problem as the G510s the LED lighting struggles to come through the caps well without looking directly from above. It's not really a big deal in a darker room – but quite noticeable otherwise. Looking at the rest of the keys you can notice that things are layed out in a rather typical key layout, something I just LOVE.
Moving to the right side of the keyboard there is more here for you to question and desire more for – we'll discuss the media keys ahead, I promise. But in this shot focus again on the blue, shiny, metallic plate behind the keys. This is quite a bright room for shooting pictures obviously, so it really shows its full color. I will say once you are in a darker room it is a lot more subtle. It still looks great, but it doesn't scream quite the blue you see here; unless you have a very bright office. I know you red lovers are asking where the red is, but us BLUE people win this round. Your standard indicator lights for caps lock, num lock, and scroll lock are just above the INS, HOME, and PAGE UP keys, and glow in an orange-ish light (much like a check engine light color honestly). There is another indicator that lights up the same color to show when power is sent to the keyboard just near where the keyboard connects.
The big "G" logo is cut into a small piece of aluminum on the wrist rest, giving it a step up in materials from the Logitech G510s. It looks pretty, but honestly has no function. Sometimes the little things can make a difference, but honestly to me this isn't one that really makes me say "woo". I find it more of "how much of the cost is in this?". I like purdy things, don't get me wrong, but I find this unnecessarily and with the wrist rest having a cutout to show it, there's just a hole. It's luckily, or perhaps planned, to not be where your hands actually sit, so I guess there can still be a bit of positive. The logo block gives a nicer overall look, but not much other than that.
Okay, now I can end (some of) your curiosity – we're moving on to the upper portion of the keyboard with all the buttons and fun stuff; progressively towards the LCD screen you are DYING to see. Starting off with the upper right section you get a full set of discrete media keys. Again we don’t have to deal with some "shift" key option or function button to access them. They are just there, not taking up space as full keys, but nice, cute little buttons of their own kind. A big mute button is located right next to the volume scroll for quick "off" options when you think you heard a ghost in the house (or maybe it's just the TV in the other room). It's nice to be able to quickly mute no matter the reason; usually it's a phone call for me, but the big button is nice and easy to find.
Just for fun I took a closer picture of the arrow keys. Again the different silver color really sets them apart from the rest of the keys. The nice, lighter silver color accents the right and left arrow keys like it does on the macro keys. It's a nice touch that carries through the entire layout – something I appreciate a bit more than the aluminum chunk on the wrist rest (sorry guys, I just don't dig it). A little black plastic rectangle the width of the full arrow key set reads the model "G19s" on it, giving it again a nice subtle touch without over doing it.
Before we jump back to the left of the keyboard, sorry to drag you along, but I wanted to point out a couple more things. Here you can see where the cable connects to the keyboard – it has two cables fixed together (much like new headphones, though they don't peel apart like them). This branches further on to go one way to a USB plug and a second for an additional connector from the wall power plug. Like I said before, the indicator light next to the cable lights up orange when power is provided via the power brick. You can also see the USB symbol just to the right of the keyboard. There are two USB 2.0 ports that gain additional power from that tackily plugged in power brick – so you do gain a little more than just powering that LCD screen from it. I should also point out the button that looks like a little settings or gear button. This toggles the keyboard lighting on or off; this also includes turning on/off the LCD screen.
Now moving to the left side you can see the M1, M2, M3, and MR buttons, which relate to your profiles for your configured setups. The MR button allows you to set macros on the fly no matter what you are doing without opening the software to change things up, which I did find a bit useful when I just didn't feel like tabbing out of a game to set up something new. The little toggle button that has a symbol designed to look much like an old Atari joystick toggles your Windows key on or off. When slid to the right the LED behind it lights up to match your color selection. This indicates that it is toggled "on" and the Windows keys are disabled. For many of you this is a granted wish to prevent you from accidental presses that take you to your desktop in the middle of an epic battle. No MORE!
Last, but not least, is the Menu key, arrow keys, back button, and settings type button to describe; though I think most of this will make more sense when you see some pictures of the apps – but consider yourself prepared for the final exam. The menu button functions to bring up the configuration options for those apps that have the option. The configuration panel will pop up on your monitor for you to configure rather than the LCD (it relies more on Explorer for some things – so I guess it makes sense it's not on the LCD). The back button does exactly what you'd think; it takes you back! The arrow key are pretty straight forward as well – you can move up, down, left, right, and select using OK in the center. It reminds me of old BlackBerry track ball options. The little settings looking button is the only one that might not do what you think. It doesn’t really take you to settings options. It is what you would call "switch app" and allows you to go back to the menu/list of available apps. Pretty simple really once you play with it. These don't double tap like the ones on the G510s, but do still require quite the bit of force for a reaction.
So before we start to wrap up with some pictures of the LCD screen in action as well as the LED lighting, let's take a good look at what it takes to power up and run this keyboard. First the cables. In the first picture you can see the two ends of the cable as it splits off. The USB cable has a tag on it to tell you NOT to plug it in first. Following the diagrams shown and the instruction manual, Logitech tells you to install the drivers first, then you can plug the keyboard in via USB. The other plug you see is the female end of the power brick connector. Pulling away the tag and USB cap you can see it is just a standard USB plug – nothing too special.
So if you don't recall the power "brick" from the first page – well here it is on its own. It is unfortunately one of the annoying ones that houses all its parts up close to the wall. So if you need to plug something below it – too bad. Make sure you put it in the bottom outlet if you have the option. It is a little bit of a short cable if you don't have a plug near the back of your desk; you may need to consider a power strip if you don’t already have one in the vicinity. Just remember it's going to take up two plug spots depending on your strip. It appers to be a standard Nalin AC adapter providing an output of 5.1V and 2.4 A. It is UL listed and rated to be in the home safely – so no worries on off branded odd cheap stuff from China. The little power plug end connects quite nicely and almost appears, and at least acts, as a single cable.
Now let's talk about the LCD screen finally. While off it clearly appears to be some sort of screen. It's about 2 by 1.5 inches and just leaves you to wonder how it will look when on. The metal bar it sits on actually lets it rotate to different viewing angles. So depending on how tall you are, or how tall you sit in your chair, you won't have to worry about the viewing angles. You can put it exactly at the angle you need to see it with a nice, smooth, continuous rotation. It doesn't lay quite flat or reach quite a full 90 degrees in angle, but there are plenty of angles to grant you the proper view.
Powering up the keyboard and plugging it in for the first time (and you will see this every time you boot up), a lovely Logitech logo and G series logo display on the screen in white with a black background. If you are quick you will also see it display "G19s" across the screen; it is just a bit harder to catch with the camera. It will boot to either the "Switch to Program" screen or whatever the last app it was you used. We will just bring up one app at a time to give you an idea of what comes by default. I will say there are some configurable options for some of these within the software, but for the sake of time we'll just go over the basics. First up is the LCD Clock – quite simply, it's a clock. Next from there is a timer and countdown dial. You can run one or the other or both at the same time. You can time just how long you've been kicking ass, or perhaps set a timer for when you need to stop playing and head off to work or class. I will say the countdown timer doesn't exactly do anything when it reaches zero. It doesn't flash, doesn't make noise, or really do anything – so if you aren't watching it don't count on it having a meaning.
One of my faviorte apps is the next one – videos! You can actually watch movies on the little screen. It will play the sound through your speakers/headset. You need to point a folder to it within the software/configuration to tell it where to look for movies. It seems to play .avi files and .mp4 files just fine. It will not display .mkv files in the list – so at this time there appears to be no support for them. Once you do point the software to a folder you can see a list of movies, TV shows, or whatever videos you have in that folder. You can then play them just like on your computer. I had to use an old favorite and display the only true captain of the Enterprise.
You can equally point the software to a pictures folder to cycle through a specific set of pictures or all of the pictures you've ever taken. Like the video player you can have the software include subfolders so pointing it to "Pictures" will include your "Grandma's Visit" and "Pron" folders – so keep this in mind. You do have a few other options in the pictures app, allowing you to change the time each images is displayed and choose between four different transition screen patters (or select random like me).
Looking back at the list of apps we are slowly making it to the bottom of the long list that comes included by default. The next item up is the Logitech LCD RSS reader. In the configuration you can actually subscribe to your favorite news feeds and have it automatically switch between them on a given time interval, allowing you to stay up to date without ever stopping your game.
The next app is the Performance Monitor. I was using my EEPC to power up the keyboard for pictures so you can see the true dual core with two meters – one for each core. Plugged into my main machine with it shows only one CPU meter. Perhaps the eight cores it sees with Hyper-Threading enabled is too much for it to display. I don't know what the cut off would be – I imagine four cores, but unfortunately for you I did not turn off Hyper-Threading to see. The RAM meter at the bottom is a percentage of total RAM, so it appears the same despite what machine you are using.
The last app in the default list is the YouTube app. Opening it up you can select from various top video options based on popularity, recently added, etc. You are then able to scroll through a list of videos and pick something to watch while you are waiting on a friend to join the game or whatever the reason you may want to do so. You don't have the option to search for a specific video, but you can get more from a specific author or have it open up what you are watching in a browser on your monitor. So it's a little fun I suppose. The final shot of the screen I share with you is the profile selector – this allows you to quickly switch between profiles you have saved without opening the software. It's quite nice – mine is a bit more populated after booting up on my main rig.
Depending on other programs you have installed on your machine you may have additional apps show up. I later discovered a Logitech Webcam Viewer option (since I have a Logitech Webcam installed) and an additional app from Core Temp! So I'm sure there's other out there as well. You can also create your own or download others have created – just do a quick Google search.
The last couple pictures of the keyboard I want to share with you are some of the backlighting. Lit up in white with the room lights on – this is about what it looks like. My office is a bit darker (as I'd imagine most of yours are) and you are able to see the lighting and different colors much easier.