Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard ReviewBluePanda - December 12, 2013
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Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard Closer Look:
Before jumping right into the software, I happened to actually look at the quick start guide. It asks you to download the drivers from the support page at Logitech BEFORE plugging in your keyboard to the wall or USB. I happened to still have the driver from testing the G510s (and yes they are the same – it's just smart enough to change the graphics) so I didn't get to try plugging it in without the drivers – though I feel nothing too catastrophic would happen. But, I did like this little picture to show you in the most simplistic way what to do. So if you can't follow these directions – I won't say more.
Moving on to the software itself. All keyboards that have discrete macro keys or customizable lighting usually come with some sort of software. The Logitech driver we looked into last with the G510s is technically the same for the G19s, and just has some slightly different graphics to match up with the keyboard. I liked the last run through of the software, so I imagine this will be good, too.
The software opens up to a main page showing the full layout of the entire keyboard. It glows green (or the color of your current selected profile) for the main keys and lights up the unchangeable profile keys (M1-MR) in their respected orange/yellow color. The house icon at the bottom of the screen is underscored with a blue dash indicating selection.
Clicking the next tab over, the key cap with a capital G gets you to your profile settings and your main macro key control panel. Here you can set your macro keys to whatever you desire. You will also notice several games listed at the top. The software will do a search of your computer and give you a profile for each game it recognizes. There are 273 games listed, all with pre-loaded commands. Although you'll have to assign the commands to the keys of your choice, the list of what you have available in-game is quite nice. I always seem to forget an action key when setting up macros, leaving me to die in a game. You can always refresh the search list and add or save new profiles for different games not on the list.
You can, of course, create your own macros with: keystrokes, multikey press options, text blocks, mouse functions, media key buttons, hotkey options (i.e. Alt-F4, or ctrl + mouse scroll for zoom, etc.), shortcuts to open folder locations, function keys to open a calculator, mail, My Computer, and a whole category for Vent commands. There's quite the variety (and more not mentioned), and I'd be a bit surprised if you couldn't get about exactly what you wanted with a couple macro keys. I had some fun spamming text blocks in chat – annoyed my friends, but works seamlessly.
The next picture icon for the next page of options looks a bit like an old school BIOS screen or just a simple text editor in blue. Here you can manage your applets (the little things that appear on the mini screen). If you are creative enough Logitech provides some basic examples of making your own applets with its included Software Development Kit (SDK) with the software download. Just visit the Logitech website for more information. I will warn you it isn't just simply type what you want, but if you know a little C/C++ you'll be just fine. It will take some playing with in Visual Studio, but at least Logitech gives you full rein on this keyboard.
When you right click on some of the apps you can select "Configure". For example when you configure the Clock app you get something like shown below. You can pick the type of clock face you'd like to look at as well as a few options of how the clock works. Here you can also tell it to display a counter for your unread emails. The movie player app has a simple pop up that allows you to point to a folder directly in which you want it to pull videos from; just remember the sound will play through your speakers/headset – so if you are multi-tasking be aware!
The next page is easiest to guess - a colored light bulb equates to you guessed it, your color options! You get a fun Photoshop-esque color wheel to really pick your colors. You can also choose based on a full 0 to 255 color scale for red, green, and blue. And for those of you who are a little lazy, there are a set of 22 color presets to pick from. Choose one and it instantly sets the color of your keyboard. Cycle through your profiles and set different ones for each mood. The only thing here that seems to be a little annoying is the fact that once you click on a color it is an instant change – so if you click without meaning to, you may have to find that perfect color again. Just keep this in mind; while it's super nice to have immediate response, in can be frustrating if you don't know the RGB numbers to get back to where you just were.
The last icon showing a common chip gets you to the "save" feature. This allows you to save up to five profiles for on the go. It allows you to transport your profiles from PC to PC by simply dragging your profiles from the top down to the empty slots below. A little circle fills in like a pie chart to show you how much memory is available on the keyboard still. If you try to copy a profile already on your keyboard (perhaps having the same name), it will prompt you to Copy and Replace, Don't Copy, or Copy and Keep both items – your typical Windows response. It keeps you from accidently wiping out your favorite settings by accident.
Clicking on the little Gear icon brings up another window with four tabs of settings: General, Notification, G19s, and Profile. The General tab gives setting options to allow the program to run when Windows starts, quick marcros, illumination, graphics and an automated scan for games. I'll let you play with the settings – we don't have all day to go into explicit detail on each of these, but I think you get the gist.
The Notifications tab allows notifications to display on the keyboard panel if you so choose. The G19s tab shows you your firmware version for trouble shooting if need be. Though it does say "This device does not support firmware update." – so I'm not sure if this means it never can update firmware or if this means there is no update available. Either which way – at least you can look to see/say what you have when/if you have problems and need to troubleshoot.
The last page you can bring up is actually the last little icon. The one between the question mark and settings gear allows you to visit the Twitter and Facebook pages for Logitech; I guess so you can "like" it? The question mark opens up the Logitech Help menu – your typical Windows help with contents, index, and a search.