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]

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Review

logitech c920
logitech c920

I’ve been using this webcam for the past 5 months using it a couple of times a week. So far it’s been the best webcam I’ve ever owned. This camera is basically a Logitech C910 camera but on steroids.

Video Quality:
The C920 has a full HD resolution of 1080p which works when you are making your own videos and when video calling somebody, so long as your network connection has enough bandwidth (1 Mbps for 720p and 2 Mbps for 1080p quality). The maximum video capture resolution is 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps. The camera natively takes 15 MP pictures as well. The camera comes with automatic low light correction built-in so it is good for using it in a dark room (like at night). The camera also tends to auto-focus on one’s face which is a really useful feature especially when video chatting with other people.

Audio Quality:
It has dual microphones for recording in stereo as well as built-in automatic noise reduction (could help with barking dogs, etc).

Compatibility:
Supposedly the C920 only works on Windows systems, although I have ran into some people that made it work on Mac. Some people have even gotten it to work on most Linux distributions.

I’ve used it with Skype and Google Hangouts and it was detected and worked automatically on my system, which is great because I have many peripherals installed (2 microphones and another camera connected most of the time).

Software:
The camera comes with Logitech software that you need to install to be able to use it to its full potential. You need it to be able to do the crazy video effects such as putting on a robot head on yourself and other silly/trippy video effects.

Mounting setup:
You can mount the camera to your monitor with the plastic mounting clips it has like the ones most webcams implement. If needed you are able to mount the C920 to a tripod because it has the required threaded mount for it. It has a 6 foot cable which should be enough for most applications (you can always use a USB extension cable to extend it).

The swivel support is not as good as I would want it to be but if you know how to place the camera on the correct surface then it’s not that much of a problem.

Hardware Requirements:
First off you need a free USB 2.0 port or better. USB 3.0 is highly recommended especially if you intend to use the built in microphones as well as record/broadcast at full 1080p. I would say to have at least dual core but since quad core CPUs seem to be the standard minimum these days that shouldn’t be a problem. Still, that’s something to consider if you are going to use this on an older system.

Value:
At the time I wrote this review this camera costs $72 on amazon with free shipping. Now yes there are webcams out there for about $20 but most people that would get something in that price range don’t usually care much about image quality. If you have a web show this is the best camera you can buy for the money right now that supports 1080p, hands down.

Conclusion:
I highly recommend the c920 – the image quality is well worth the price.

Logitech G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Review

We have been using this headset for about two months daily before writing this review.

logitech g430 gaming headset
logitech g430 gaming headset

Cable/Wire:

The connectors are standard, gold-plated mini-jack audio connectors that are not just compatible with all computers but MP3 players as well. The main cable is thin and it splits into a cable that you connect to a sound source as well as a cable that lets you use the microphone. If you don’t want to use the standard audio connectors the headset comes with an adapter that converts the two plugs into a USB adapter. It’s recommended to install the software that comes with the headset should you wish to use the USB adapter with full functionality and support, as far as using it with a Windows PC. The cable is bright blue which is useful in the sense that it can prevent you from stepping on the cable since it is much more visible than a standard black cord. It also has a controller that lets you mute and unmute the microphone as well as adjust the volume of the headphones. The cable is long enough that they will be adequate for most situations.

Comfort:

The headset is light which helps the level of comfort in general and after extended usage. The ear pieces are soft to the touch and are easy on your ears. Since the earpieces are made out of cloth they won’t get hot (like most full ear headphones do) since they vent your heat successfully. This is great for marathon gaming (the kind that we usually do).

The earpieces can be rotated a full 90 degrees which make them easy to transport in most laptop carrying cases with no problems.

Construction:

This headset is mainly made out of plastic, rubber, and cloth. The thing most people will notice is the usage of the neon blue color on the earpieces and the headband.

We’ve dropped them (a couple of times) to see how sturdy they are on a tile floor and they only suffered minor damage that did not affect functionality.

Microphone:

We have tested the microphone with Skype, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak, and Raidcall and it worked great with virtually no configuration needed on our part. The sound quality is crisp.

The microphone can be muted either from the volume control in the cable or also by raising the microphone up from it’s working position.

Software:

The headset came with an installation pamphlet that directs you to download the latest software for the headset from the Logitech website. Once downloaded it installs an application that for the most part is dormant and becomes active when you connect the headset to your computer. You can use it to play around with the equalizer and other adjustments of that nature.

Sound Dampening:

When using this headset the material of the earpieces successfully blocks most outside noise. This is great for when working or gaming but it can result in people screaming to get your attention because the headset does a great job.

Sound Quality:

The level of fidelity is high in this headset. It does not distort badly even if set at maximum volume.

Loudness:

This headset gets loud which goes well with how successful they are sound dampened. They can be heard 5 feet away if you take them off and you have them reasonably high.

Surround Sound:

The 7.1 surround sound that is built into this headset works great with gaming and movie watching, for which they are intended. The surround sound features are designed by Dolby and they are effective in creating a realistic surround sound environment.

Value:

These headphones cost around $100 new, which seems like a reasonable price to me.

Conclusion:

I recommend these headphones over the similar Logitech G35 Headset that I reviewed earlier. They cost about the same and work better with less configuration on the user’s part. They are almost the same except that the G430 does not include the programmable sound buttons (that most people don’t use anyways), and they are superior because they have regular mini-jacks as well as the ability to connect via USB.

Logitech G27 Racing Wheel Review

Logitech G37 Racing Wheel

For those of you that know me well, you know that racing is one of my favorite activities to do not just in the gaming world but in real life as well. As far as reality goes, I’ve owned a track ready racing Mustang since 2004. I’ve been racing cars since about 1997 both on the street and at the track. The first time I ever raced a professional racing go-kart was about 1989. The first racing games I’ve played were Pole Position and Pit Stop 1 and 2 on the c64. The first arcade racing game I’ve ever played was Sega’s Outrun with the arcade console feeling like a car with pedals, steering wheel, and shifter. I’ve played almost every racing game ever made from games like RC Pro AM on NES, the Top Gear series on SNES, Lotus series on Amiga, Chase HQ on the arcade, Jaguar XJ 220 on the Amiga, Grand Prix Legends on PC, every Trackmania game on PC, every Need For Speed game on PC and consoles, every Codemasters racing game ever made, etc. I was ranked in the top 10 US players for Trackmania Nations when they were doing the world championship for the game.

Today I will look at Logitech’s G27 Racing Wheel. It is designed to be used with PC and with the Playstation 3 console.

rfactor

Setup – Installation and Software:

The installation on the PS3 is basically a plug and play procedure. For PC, you simply install the software from the drivers CD that comes with the unit. Shortly after installing the software and drivers you get prompted to plug in the wheel to one of your USB ports and it will be detected. You will know that the wheel is detected because it will spin like a bat out of hell for about two to three seconds and it will flash the tachometer RPM lights. After that, you can calibrate the wheel if it is needed. Once you’re done doing that, you’re ready to use it. Configuration and sub-calibration can be done through whatever game you are going to play.

The Wheel also comes with (RFactor) which is a very popular racing simulator.

Logitech-G27-full-set

Setup – Assembly and Physical Installation:

The first thing you want to do is connect all the subcomponents of the wheel to the main wheel unit. This means that you will plug in the pedals, shifter console, and AC adapter unit. After you have done so, you may need to assess your gaming desk area to make sure you have enough physical space to mount the wheel properly to a desk or table as well as find a comfortable chair and distance to your TV or monitor. You also want to make sure that all cables are tucked away so that they don’t interfere as you use the controller.

Both the wheel and shifter have plastic screws which you can use to secure them to the edge of your desk or table. I have found that they can slide off sometimes if the bottom surface of your desk doesn’t have the right kind of surface for them to stick to. I wish Logitech would have added a rubber surface of the plastic area that holds the controller in place. To me without such a surface friction it is easy for the controller to become loose while using it. Since I’m a low-tech-fix kind of guy, this isn’t much of a problem. I recommend to either glue a thin rubber piece to each plastic end or the even easier fix is to use a piece of cardboard in between the surfaces (just make sure you screw the plastic screws as tight as possible).

You might have to be careful as well with the pedals because the bottom is plastic as well. Since I have a tile floor all over my house I had to use a small portable rug to place it under the pedals as well as putting a heavy object behind the pedals to keep them from slipping further (remember you’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on them with your feet).

Once you have setup the wheel as needed, the fun starts!

trackmania-nations-forever

Test On Multiple Racing Games:

I tested the wheel on RFactor, Dirt 2, Dirt 3, Dirt Showdown, Grid, Trackmania United, Trackmania Nations, F1 2010, F1 2011, and F1 2012. For most of the games the wheel was enabled through the game options of the game if it didn’t automatically detect it and set it as the default control method. You can enable the motion feedback to get a more real feel of driving a real car with the resistance would feel in a real steering wheel. I found that with the G27 it was more enjoyable to do so after first of calibrating it to feel as you need it to based on your driving style. Also, it was overall more enjoyable on racing games which are more simulator than arcade style racing games. Simulators need exactness, whereas most arcade racers can be played even with keyboard or a cheap handheld controller.

Using a racing wheel on games like the Codemasters F1 games is almost necessary. I found it nearly unplayable to play such games using just a pure keyboard. With a racing wheel such as the G27 it becomes a real F1 car that you’re driving rather than a musclecar like it would feel with a primitive controller. It’s all about precision when you use a wheel. For this reason although we have the computer technology to do it, we still use a pedal and steering wheel in real cars as opposed to using joysticks like a normal video game controller or the controller for an RC car.

Logitech-G27-Racing-Wheel

Construction and Feel:

The materials used in the G27 are sturdy and it feels almost like you are racing using a aftermarket racing wheel like a Momo steering wheel for a racecar. Although most of the parts are plastic the G27 is durable under most wear and tear situations.

The shifter is both soft and sturdy. I would compare it to using a shifter in a manual Japanese car like Honda Prelude or Nissan Skyline. The wheel itself has flappy paddles which can be used to much like in a real Ferrari or Lamborghini. It is a matter of personal preference and the G27 provides both the flappy paddles and the normal manual shifter. The wheel part has an LED tachometer, which is color coated green, yellow, and red, which makes using a manual gearbox a more viable option in your game.

Since the pedals are made out of drilled metal it feels like the pedals found in a modified street car or a racecar. As they are sturdy, it’s no problem to push down on them as hard as you can, if need be. With the inclusion of a clutch pedal that’s highly responsive you can power drift to your hearts content if you want to drive like that.

logitech g27

Conclusion and Recommendations:

If you are serious about playing racing simulators I recommend a wheel like the G27 to get the precision you need for competitive racing.

A racing wheel system like this one works extremely well when paired up with the Playseat chairs that are ideal for having a sturdy armature that keeps your controllers in place and gives you a much more realistic car feel. I haven’t tested the G27 with a Playseat chair but I have used a chair like that at multiple game conventions and they do make a huge difference and are much more favorable over using a regular chair and desk/table for setting up a racing wheel.

The G27 costs about $200 retail so it might be outside the budget for many gamers but then again there aren’t that many racing simulation gamers out there anymore and those that are into that genre are always concerned with having as good of a controller as possible to be able to execute precise maneuvers.

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset Review

 

I’ve had this headset for about 5 months. Keep in mind how long a product was used when reading a review!

Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset

Cable/Wire:

The headset connects through USB connector that is attached to a thick, very sturdy cable. This is great design improvement over other headsets that have a cable that’s thin and easy to get cut or broken. The cable is also long enough that you probably won’t need to get an extension for them. Even if you need an extension, USB cables are cheap to extend these days so that is not really an issue.

Comfort:

These headphones are extremely comfortable to use. The ear piece parts are well designed enough that it won’t make your ears sweat much and they will hug your ears providing great comfort as you use them. I haven’t gotten my ears to hurt by using these headphones for an extended period of time. I’ve used them 14 hours non stop and I haven’t felt uncomfortable during that period of usage.

Construction:

This headset is pretty sturdy. It seems to be made of aluminum, rubber, and the ear parts of imitation leather. I’ve dropped them from 8 feet and they only barely got scratched.

The headset has buttons on the left side of the ear muff that you can use to trigger functions such as launching your favorite media player, controlling it, reconfiguring them, etc.

Microphone:

The microphone works whenever you have the mouthpiece down; the rest of the time you can turn it off by lifting it up. The light on the piece helps you know when it is on or off. I’ve gotten good response from my guild/clan mates regarding the default sound quality of the microphone (tested using Skype and Teamspeak, using auto calibration).

Software:

It’s completely optional to install the software that comes with them but the software is useful for when tweaking the settings of the headset. The software/drivers sometimes go a little crazy if you decide to plug them in or unplug them during system critical points like in the middle of booting windows. From my experience this is a program that most USB audio peripherals seem to have versus traditional audio plugs. Sometimes I have to manually set my output to either be the headset or my speaker set depending on what I did.

Some games require you to quit them in order to use the headset correctly if you plugged them in while you were using speakers before. Usually the newer a game or program is, the less likely it is to have this problem. For example, Guild Wars 2 works like a charm but World of Tanks requires restarting the game for the headset to work.

Sound Dampening:

These headphones are extremely efficient when it comes to blocking out external sound. Usually when I am using them while talking to my guild on Teamspeak and my girlfriend is talking to me, I have to put one ear offset to be able to hear what she is telling me. I love this feature because I live at a house where there are plenty of loud noises most of the time (dog barking, people watching TV at airport noise level volumes, etc.).

Sound Quality:

For me, the best way to test sound quality is to play all different ranges of music on whatever audio equipment I’m testing. The sound quality is really good all throughout except for the bass when at maximum volume. Although the bass is decent enough when gaming, when playing bass heavy music you see a limitation in the bass feel of these headphones.

Loudness:

The G35’s max volume is loud enough to appease most users. I’ve had more powerful headphones in that past that were so loud that people two rooms away could hear them. Due to the better design, only the wearer can really hear the sound when they are worn.

They are loud enough that some games might shock you. I don’t classify them as being loud enough to make one go deaf but then again this is subjective.

Surround Sound:

The surround sound in these headphones is even better than the 5.1 Surround Sound speakers I use and they are also from Logitech. I was very impressed by them, especially when gaming and they make you have a significant advantage while playing a game with a good audio engine. The first time I used these headphones I was playing World of Tanks at 4 AM, at max volume, and it was amazing to hear cannon shells flying by and exploding all around me. It felt like actually being in a real battle.

The surround sound capabilities are specifically useful for hearing things behind you in games and in movies that take advantage of proper sound channel placement.

Value:

Right now the Logitech G35 Headset can be bought for about 90-100 US Dollars. I think that’s a fair price considering what you are getting.

Conclusion:

The Logitech G35 Headset is great to get if you are a gamer, live in a loud place, or need to use Skype/Teamspeak/Ventrilo privately with a good microphone.

The Logitech G9x Laser Gaming Mouse Review

The Logitech G9x -1

After a few weeks of abuse, we are ready to review the Logitech G9x laser gaming mouse.  This mouse brings back memories to old trusty G5 Laser mouse. The G9x laser gaming mouse brings an excess of great features. Interchange grip control, onboard memory, on the fly adjustable DPI and weight-tuning system. The G9x packaging is reasonably large and follows Logitech’s green and black theme. Alongside the manual and driver/software CD packing you’ll also receive the additional grip and weights for the mouse.

The Logitech G9x - Weights

When you first look at the mouse the design looks to be a bit bizarre but when you hold it with your hands it gives you a great feeling of control and it gets better. The interchangeable grip allows you to drop that smooth surface the mouse original comes with and allows you to replace it with a textured grip. The textured grip is not rough enough to feel like you are holding a piece of sand paper but gritty enough to where it won’t slip of your hands when you build some moisture. The bottom pads give the mouse a gentle glide over your mouse pad but other flat surfaces will work just as well.

The Logitech G9x - Profile

                The forward and back rockers are positioned in an extremely comfortable position in reach of your thumb without the feeling that you may accidently press it. The scroll button has a smooth glide as you use it and its placed high enough where you won’t press on the right or left mouse button. Right bellow the left mouse button you will find the DPI rocker. This is a poorly placed rocker considering you have to let go of your left mouse button in order to adjust DPI sensitivity not to mention that the rocker itself is extremely narrow, you could end up hitting the left mouse button in the process. The weight tuning system is inside the mouse, you will have to take the exterior surface off in order to make adjustments. This was a bit awkward seeing that you would like to get a feel for the mouse with the weights and you have to take the exterior shell off every time you want to tune it.

The Logitech G9x - Case

In conclusion, the Logitech G9x is a considerably small gaming mouse compared to other vendors but fits well on large hands. It is a heavy mouse with no weights but the best part is you can make it heavier using the weights provided in the package. The performance while gaming is amazing and shows large improvements over older models.  The build quality is excellent and the USB cable is durable overall design is outstanding besides the weight tuning system. The mouse is ready to go out of the box to the point that the provided software isn’t really needed. The software does give you the ability to change profiles using the mouse on the fly once you take the time to set it up.