The Logitech G19s

Logitech G19s

Logitech G19s

When I look for a gaming keyboard it is not just about gaming alone. I also spend a lot of time writing on my PC, so, the question of response, feel and durability is important to me. Also, I care about style and having a board that looks good on my desk and matches the rest of my setup also comes into play. When I got to try out the Logitech G19s gaming keyboard, I made sure to take my time playing games, working on writing and school work and trying out all the different features and then asked myself, does the Logitech G19s meet all my needs as well as price.

Logitech G19s

So let’s get right into it. One thing about any review be it video games or hardware is the question of, how can the reviewer give an honest review if their job is to continue to review products and maintain relationships with companies. I found after a lot of trial and error, that the key is to recognize the different aspects of people’s decisions in purchasing a specific product. For the Logitech G19s, a big issue is price and at $199.99 it is completely understandable. What you have to do is really look at all the features and then your own needs, wants and budgets and ask yourself is it all worth it.

Logitech G19s

Let’s start with the LCD panel. I loved my little screen on my older Logitech keyboard. I am the kind of person that will have my performance monitor up on the screen and looking at it. With the Logitech G19s, I found the game panel feature well done and am constantly surprised at how many games show up in the display. I admit I never think of using the video playback or image slideshows, but I know people that have. There are also applets you can get to work with it and as a guy who used lots of mods in games like World of Warcraft, I liked this feature a lot. So this is just one feature, but you have to understand that it is also a decent amount of the cost, so for me it is a plus and I will use most of the features. If you would not then right there you should consider a different keyboard be it from Logitech’s other offerings or somewhere else.

Logitech G19s

Some of the features most people will use are the programmable keys. This is mostly for gamers as this is a gamer keyboard, but you can set the keys to do anything and I know one or two people who use programmable keys for work or school including audio and video editing programs. You can also set the keys to work with your mouse or microphone, for functions in Team Speak and other voice programs. Backlighting is also a feature more and more people use so having up to 16 million colors is cool. You can create profiles, set a specific color to a specific key and have different settings per game or program. I personally like just setting different colors for say W,A,S,D even though on this keyboard they are already painted differently.

Logitech G19s

The Logitech G19s also has two USB ports. Now I read other reviews to see what other people view as a con because it may not seem like a con to me. In this case, many people look at the fact that the G19s requires a USB connection plus a power connection as a con. I guess I can understand just based on the fact that there are other keyboards that do not require this. I however, do not see it as a con. I use a ton of USB devices so having extra ports is nice and on other keyboards I found sometimes they were underpowered. Power for me is not an issue so I rather know I am getting the most out of the ports, the LCD screen and backlights than worrying about plugging in another device.

Logitech G19s

Let’s get back to the price point. Another con talked about was boards the construction. I will admit here that even considering the different features, I did kind of hope the board would feel different. Now typing, even for hours, felt find one this keyboard. I like the height and size of the board and the key placements are perfect for me. As was the response, no ghosting and the key presses felt good. However, I have felt this way with other keyboards as well with a lessor price point. I consider all the technology that went into the Logitech G19s to justify a higher cost, but I wish more was done with the materials used on the board itself. Some people said the plastic felt cheap, but I don’t see that. I have seen and felt cheap plastic on toys, controllers and other keyboards and the Logitech G19s is not cheap, but for the cost I think there could have been more accents to the keyboard to really make it stand out. It is like having a BMW, but the inside is like a Nissan Altima, still very nice, but you expected a little bit more from BMW. As said, I like the feel of the keys, the media buttons and even the volume control, but a little higher end on the materials would have made the cost more understandable.

Logitech G19s

So is it worth it? To answer this question you have to ask yourself will you take advantage of all the Logitech G19s has to offer and does the style fit yours. For someone who is constantly on the keyboard, be it work or play, you will get a lot out of this keyboard, but if you have no need for say, the display or the macro buttons, then a different model would be best for you. One important thing to consider is longevity. I used my previous Logitech keyboard for a long time and still use it at work today. It is still just as good today as it was 3 years ago and still looks good. Even something simple like UV coating so the keys don’t fade is something to think about if you don’t want to drop more cash on a keyboard anytime soon. This is definitely a board for the serious keyboard user who wants total control, visibility, features and style. There is no doubt the Logitech G19s has that in spades.

[Our Hardware Reviews]

SteelSeries Apex [RAW] Keyboard

Hey internets! This is Liz Poisonkiss, altruistic gaming hedonist extraordinaire!

Once again, I got my hands on a great product that I just have to talk about. The SteelSeries Apex [RAW] keyboard is an overall win in my book. Oh, let me count the ways!

steelseries-apex-raw

First off, I must clarify something so that this review gains some perspective. I use my keyboard a LOT. I wear down most keyboards really quick.  I’m constantly writing papers for my graduate program, composing emails, and doing some pretty intense PC gaming. So I was glad to get my hands on the Apex [RAW] keyboard.

This keyboard’s a little bigger than my other one because it extends down to form a  hand rest at the bottom. I’ll admit to preferring a smaller keyboard to conserve space but what it lacks in compactness it makes up for in performance. It’s low key profile and responsive keys don’t miss a beat as my fingers fly across the keyboard. The anti-ghosting modifications don’t let my game slow down when every second counts. Also, don’t you just hate it when you’re gaming full screen and in the middle of a heated battle and suddenly the game minimizes and your start menu pops up? Yup, you’ve hit the Windows key. But never fear, this keyboard gives you the ability to disable the Windows key and avoid all that mess!

steelseries-apex-raw

Not to mention all the freaking macro keys! There are 17 macro keys with two levels at your fingertips that give you the ability to instantly access 34 macros all customizable via the SteelSeries Engine. That’s a refreshing time saver!

Oh, another deceptively simple but nifty feature that the Apex [RAW] keyboard has is drainage holes. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been writing late at night while enjoying a steaming mug of brain go-go juice (coffee) to have it spill all over my keyboard. At that point my work is abruptly interrupted as I run with my keyboard to the sink and say a silent prayer to the computer gods that my keyboard will not be a completely sticky unusable mess. At least I know that with this keyboard I stand a chance.

steelseries-apex-raw

Compared to its big brother (SteelSeries Apex) the Apex [RAW] gives you the essentials you need for a fraction of the price. For only $69.99 you get top notch long lasting performance on a budget (some of us have to pay tuition).

One more thing, I’m writing this review on my Apex [RAW] keyboard and I completed one semester (4 months) of work, emails, gaming, and it survived two coffee/drink spills. That’s why this keyboard wins.

liz

Tech specs:

Connection: Wired USB

Cable: 6ft rubber coated

Build: Plastic

Key switch: Rubber membrane

Backlighting: 8 brightness levels of white light

Gaming: 17 dual layer marco keys, extra arrow keys, Capable of disabling Windows key.

USB pass-through: No

Audio pass-through: No

Goodies: Low-profile keys, Anti-Ghosting technology, Media controls, Drainage holes for spills.

The SteelSeries Merc Stealth Gaming Keyboard Review

SteelSeries-MERC-Stealth-keyboard

Back in 2008, Denmark based computer peripheral company Steelseries acquired American computer peripheral company Ideazon; and with it, most of their products. One of those products was the Stealth Merc keyboard. The Stealth Merc was released in 2007, but it is still considered one of the best gaming keyboards on the market today, and after a few weeks of intense gaming with it, I can see why.

Steelseries has an almost neurotic attention to detail in all of their gear, and the Merc is no exception. From the moment you pick up the box you realize how much this thing weighs, at least five pounds. It’s also on the large side, 21 inches across to be exact, so you will want to make sure it fits on your computer desk.

SteelSeries-MERC-Stealth-keyboard

 

What makes the Merc Stealth stand out from the competition is the integrated “gaming terrain” located on the left side of the keyboard. There are 34 keys which represent all the keys on the left side of the keyboard (the ones most commonly used for gaming). They even tilted the keys at an 11 degree angle which was found to be the natural position for gaming. It was extremely easy to get used to, and after playing Tribes: Ascend for about 10 minutes I couldn’t imagine going back to the old way.  Also, the W,S,A,D, Shift, Ctrl, and Jump buttons, are rubberized; a nice touch!  The keyboard is backlit with three color choices (Blue, Red, and Purple), with brightness settings. You can also opt to have no illumination, but, you won’t.

To keep the size of the keyboard down, they have integrated the arrow keys, along with other keys normally located in the center of the board, to the number pad. If you want to use the delete key, for example, you have to turn off num lock. That being said, if you are someone who uses their computer for data entry, you won’t be buying this product anyways.

The keyboard is meant to be used hand and hand with their “Z engine” software. Z engine is a program that has preloaded gaming profiles that take advantage of the gaming terrain. There are about 180 profiles spread across three categories; FPS, RTS, and Shooter. I found it very easy to use, and it runs in the background taking up virtually no resources. That being said, even with the new updates, I found the preloaded profiles to be very dated.  Looking over the list, I believe Far Cry 2 was the newest title, and that was released in 2008. This really is not a big deal, though, since the default profile makes all the keys on the gaming terrain a copy of what is on the normal qwerty side of the board. Also, it is very easy to make your own profile for any game you choose. It would be nice to see Steelseries update their software with newer game profiles though.

SteelSeries-MERC-Stealth-keyboard

At first glance, I will admit the gaming terrain layout appeared like a bit of a gimmick and that I would probably go back to using the tried and true WSAD keys after only a few gaming sessions. I am pleased to say that I was wrong. I never knew how comfortable computer gaming can be! Aside from some outdated software, and pretty hefty size, I cannot find a single flaw with the Stealth Merc. It looks great,  and it feels great. I only wish I had this keyboard back in the days of the non-stop 48 hour LAN party. Consider this writer, officially spoiled!

You can pick up out the Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard for $89.99 on the Steelseries website.

The Razer Anansi MMO Keyboard Review

The Razer Anansi MMO Keyboard

There are always a number of requirements for gamers looking for the perfect keyboard. One of the most important things is the key placement and additional keys or functions that allow the user to more easily play their favorite games. The Anansi MMO keyboard from Razer gives gamers a number of options to make gaming easier and thus allowing you to pwn.

One of the first things you will notice are the seven thumb modifier keys you can press just below the spacebar. These keys allow you to press the standard one thru seven keys you see in most MMO’s for your various spells or abilities. These keys can also be used for combination keys such as “Alt-Control” or “Shift+Alt” allowing you to put off your abilities and spells faster and with less movement so you can play more.

The Razer Anansi MMO Keyboard

Second, you will notice the five macro keys on the left hand since of the board. These keys can be configured to allow you to combined key strokes to pull of multiple combinations of spells or abilities in games, of course within the games design.

Razer’s configuration software allows for a ton of configuration options. You can literally change every key function on the board so in essence you can make any key a hot or macro key.  You can also configure the backlighting, which shines though each key and if you wish, set the backlighting to randomly change color (16 million of them) which is pretty awesome when playing in a dark area.

The Razer Anansi MMO Keyboard

The keyboard itself has a good length and low profile, which works well for small and large hands alike. Al l the basic functions keys are there including the numeric keys and while not mechanical, pressing the keys feels comfortable and gives a good feedback response be it in games or typing. The keyboard sits stable when using the legs or lying flat and is sturdy so you heavy key pressers will not have to worry about damaging your keyboard.

I did find myself hitting the caps lock keys when going to type the “A” key, but I found that was more my own issue than the keyboard. You can also lock the Windows key, which is great for those who have ever been in the middle of an FPS game and found themselves kicked to Windows by a missed key stroke.

The Razer Anansi MMO Keyboard

Now it does take two USB ports to run the Anansi so make sure you have the room and there are no port connections on the keyboard itself so you are unable to connect another USB device or headphones. Overall, the keyboard itself is a prefect mix of style, functionality and durability that will make any gamer happy. You can pick up the Razer Anansi for about $99.99.

Tech Specs:

  • 7 thumb modifier keys
  • Over 100 programmable Hyperesponse keys
  • One-button profile switching
  • Five additional gaming keys
  • Optimized key matrix
  • Gaming mode option
  • Easy access media keys
  • Approximate Size : 515 mm / 20.28” (Width) x 190 mm / 7.48” (Height) x 20 mm / 0.79” (Depth)
  • Approximate Weight: 1020 g / 2.24 lbs

Hardware Requirements

PC with USB port
Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Windows® XP / Mac OS X (v10.5 to 10.6)
Internet connection (for driver installation)
At least 35MB of hard disk space