Keyboards with swappable switches aren’t a new thing; you’ve been able to move from, say, clicky blues to linear reds on some keyboards for years. But they’ve mostly remained in the shadows, made by small companies for a niche audience of keyboard enthusiasts. That changes today with Logitech’s announcement of its G Pro X, a $150 tenkeyless model with pop-out switches you can replace with $50 kits featuring GX Blue, GX Brown, and GX Red switches.
The GX switches aren’t made by Cherry, but have a similar feel to the well-known Cherry MX varieties. According to Logitech, Cherry MX switches will be compatible with the keyboard as well -- as will standard third-party keycaps for those who want to customize their keyboard even further.
The keyboard and the switch sets will both ship with a puller for removing both the key caps (latching on horizontally to each side) and the underlying switches (latching to the top and bottom and requiring a bit of a squeeze before popping them off). While it’s a bit tedious to pop off every key and every switch, the process is pretty easy after you get the hang of it. And the switches pop back in easily, only fit one way, and seem to stay solidly in place. A Logitech rep told me they test the switches and sockets to upwards of 100 plugs and unplugs, which is more than enough given that most people probably won’t swap their keys out more than three or four times at most.
According to Logitech’s rep, the company is “trying out” the swappable switch idea, indicating that if this is a success there will likely be more products with the switch-swapping feature, likely models that include a number pad. But that “trying” goes both ways, as there will also be a G Pro (non-X) version of this keyboard with switches that are soldered onto the PCB for $130.
Logitech sent us a review unit of the G Pro X with GX Blue switches, as well as two switch kits (GX Brown and GX Red). While I haven’t yet had time to do a full review, I can say the keyboard itself has a very solid, though plasticky feel -- much like the company’s previous mechanicals. The RGB key lighting also looks fine, though it’s not as bright as you’ll see on some other keyboards.
As someone who likes the idea of keyboard customizing (at home I use both a Das Keyboard with MX Blue switches and custom keycaps and a Corsair with MX Red switches), I like the idea of being able to swap in different switches, and am glad that a company like Logitech is bringing it into the mainstream at a reasonable price.
The problem, though, is that mechanical keyboards from smaller brands have become so affordable that you can often find models on Amazon and elsewhere that feel about as good as G Pro for as little as the $50 you’d pay for a set of new switches from Logitech. Granted, those don’t usually offer the robust software and lighting controls you’d get from a Logitch or Corsair keyboard, but not everyone wants or needs those features. I don’t mind not having lighting at all on my trusty Das with its Blue switches that I use for typing, but the colors and customization I crave for gaming are available any time I want to plug in my Corsair clacker.
So if you’re a fan of Logitech’s software and keyboard design, and you think you might change your mind about your switch preference down the line, the G Pro X is well worth considering. Just keep in mind that for the $200 you’d spend on Logitech’s keyboard and a separate set of keys, you could just buy two very good keyboards with two different kinds of switches. And as easy as Logitech makes the switch swapping process, swapping out a USB plug is still a whole lot easier than popping off and replacing 87 keycaps and 87 switches.