Over the years Logitech has earned itself the reputation of making some of the best gaming focused PC peripherals in the industry. Around March of 2013, looking to keep up with the competition, Logitech relaunched their “G” series of PC peripherals. Among the products redesigned was the company’s popular, monochrome LCD screen sporting G510.
At an MSRP of $119, are the monochrome LCD, 18 programmable G keys, and fairly good looks of the slightly revamped G510 worth the asking price? Let’s find out.
What’s in the box?
The G510s ships in Logitech’s usual black packaging with an X-Ray view of the product printed over most of the box. The only thing included in the box, besides the keyboard of course, is a plastic wrist rest and a print out of something called a ‘user manual.”
The main thing differentiating the G510s from all the other membrane keyboards in the $79-$120 price range is the 2 1/2 ” LCD panel that runs along the top of the frame. Out of the box, the screen can be used to monitor PC resources, the time, RSS feeds, and to set up timers. While all of those things can be neat, things get interested (read: useful) when combined with games or 3rd party apps like EVGA’s Precision X, Teamspeak, Coretemp, Warframe, or one of the other games that support the Logitech’s GamePanel technology. While I’m sure some could find some use for the screen in-game, I mostly found myself using it during normal browsing–usually for checking how much of my computer’s RAM I was using with 40-100 tabs open (I know I have a problem. You don’t need to tell me).
As I mentioned before, the keyboard comes packaged with a plastic wrist rest. While it’s not the luxurious wrist cushion that comes with some of the G510s more expensive competitors, it matches the look of the keyboard nicely, and should work fine for people who need the extra support.
Along the top right of the keyboard you’ll find a set of dedicated media keys, including a smooth volume scroll wheel. Moving to the top left of the keyboard, you will find the profile select buttons, a quick macro button, and a game mode switch that disables the windows key. You also get a pair of headphone and mic mute buttons for the input jacks along the top left of the frame. These made it easier for me to hook whatever headset I was using at the time without feeling around in the dark for my PC’s audio and mic inputs. While I did find the mic and headphone jacks convenient, I would have liked see a USB pass-though on a keyboard in this price range.
18 programmable G keys line the left side of the keyboard. While most will be more than happy with just 18 customizable keys, those that find that 18 keys aren’t enough for their intense Dota 2 sessions can switch between profiles using the M1-3 buttons for a total of 54 programmable buttons to choose from. If that’s not enough, you could always jump into the included software to reprogram the entire keyboard.
The G510s feature the standard North American layout with all the keys being the proper size (no frustratingly large enter keys found here). For a membrane keyboard, the keys are fairly satisfying to press without giving you the gloriously satisfying/annoying clacking that you would get from a mechanical keyboard. Finally, the keyboards anti ghosting is limited to 6 key presses at a time, so you should probably avoid situations where you need to type with your face.
Aesthetically, the G510s is a fairly plain-looking keyboard that should fit right in with most set-ups. The outer rim of the keyboard has a black satin finish, while the inner face plate is a glossy dark blue. The keys are all black, save for the WASD and directional arrows, which are grey to give you a bit of contrast. For me, the best part of the G510s’ looks was the lack of finger smudges that showed on the glossy blue face plate, screen, or black frame. Apparently this is due to the use of “advanced surface materials.” While I don’t know exactly what that means, it seems to work.
With that said, I do think Logitech could have easily improved on the keyboard in a few minor areas.
First off, we have the rubber feet found on the underside of the keyboard that are supposed to keep it from moving around. While the two along the palm rest do keep your keyboard from shooting around your desk like an air hockey puck, anything more than a slight nudge tends to bump the keyboard away from its intended position. Logitech could have easily included a couple of grip pads along the top of the keyboard to prevent this.
Then we have aforementioned wrist rest that hooks to the keyboard using a pair of plastic clips that correspond to notches on the bottom the of the keyboard. While I didn’t personally run into this problem, I don’t really see the two thin pieces of plastic standing up to you taking the wrist wrest off and on.
Lastly, we have the LED backlighting. The backlighing is even but a bit dim for my taste. There’s also no way to adjust the brightness from the keyboard. The LED control button next to the LCD screen only allows you to turn the lights on or off. To actually adjust the brightness, you’re going to need to fuss about with a slider after you install the accompanying software. Speaking of software…
Like the rest of Logitech’s gaming peripherals, the keyboard works with the easy to use Logitech Gaming Software. Setting up key bindings is dead simple. Picking which one of the millions of colors is easy as playing around with a slider. After you have your various game profiles set up for your various games, you can store up to five of them on the keyboards onboard memory to take with you on the go.
While the G510s is OK choice for someone looking for a membrane keyboard at the MSRP of $119, it really shines at the usual street price of $79.99. It’s not the most feature rich option out there, but it gets job done. And at that price, it a hell of a good deal.