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Are Premium Gaming Peripherals Worth Your Money?

Logitech's G19: When Gaming Keyboards Matter

More often than not, bundled keyboards turn out to be plain old USB devices that may sport a few media keys, if you're lucky. They’re fine for everyday work, but when you want to fire up your favorite FPS or MMO, you may find them lacking in features or ergonomic comfort with regard to where your hands rest.

I started my testing after using Dell’s standard 104-key keyboard. Priced at a hefty $199, the G19 impresses right out of the box versus its more-mundane competition. It has a separate USB cable and dedicated power adapter, which is required for the bright OLED display centered at the top of the board and the 2 USB ports just to the right of the display. The G19 comes complete with three blocks of four programmable "G-keys," each of which can be programmed with three sets of macros, allowing the 12 physical keys able to perform 36 different functions.

The G19's keys are backlit, and you can easily customize the color and brightness of the backlighting with the bundled Logitech G-Series Key Profiler software. Inside the Key Profiler, you can open up a color wheel for choosing the exact shade you want shining through key letters and gaps between keys. No other keyboard reviewed here offered this degree of customization.

The G19, like the G15 before it, comes with built-in support for a number of applications and games, including World of Warcraft. When you launch the game, the display comes to life and shows your character's stats, any recent whispers received from other players, or alerts of interest, such as auction house notices. The LCD will also display your queue position for a PvP battleground while you wait, and once you're in that battleground, it’ll show your score. You can configure the display, add modules for other games, or tweak display options from the LCD Manager, which installs along with the keyboard drivers.

The G19 performs exceptionally well with MMOs and RPGs. In games like World of Warcraft that allow you to bind keys to in-game macros, you can simply write your macro and then bind it to the macro key of your choice. Even more impressive, the G19 allows you to record your own macros and bind them to the G-keys, so you don't need to depend on the game's ability to create macros to give you a leg up on the competition. Simply press the Macro Record button on the keyboard, press the in-game keys for the things you want to do, and assign the key sequence to the G-key of your choice.

The display also has media functionality, and will let you control a song or video playing on your screen. If you prefer, you can use the built-in media browser to play videos pulled from local or Internet sources while you game.

The G19 was a wonder to use while gaming. The keys were well–spaced, and Logitech builds in just enough resistance so that you're absolutely sure when a key is depressed. The LCD display (especially when playing a supported game), quickly became indispensible, although it’s not at all required to enjoy your favorite titles. While the G19 as a whole is a fabulous device and, we'd argue, more than just a keyboard, it's also very expensive. It'd be difficult to recommend such a pricey piece at $200, but if you are already getting all of the platform performance you think you need, this would be a mighty-luxurious upgrade.

  • liquidsnake718
    Ive been looking at the G19 for some time now, ever since it came out, but I am not sure if I should just go for the Sidewinder x6 or the G15 which is still good and at a reasonable 80-100dollars where Im from....
    Should I get it or wait for my next build..... x6? g15?
    Reply
  • scorc25
    I recently just purchased a Saitek Cyborg keyboard. Very impressed with it, loving it the moment we touched. Ive used the first Saitek Eclipse, and then the Eclipse 2. The Eclipse 3 is out there; the Cyborg is basically just the gamer edition of it.
    Reply
  • Keyboard: SteelSeries MERC Stealth
    Mouse : Roccat Kone
    Mousepad: Roccat Sota
    Headset : Roccat Kave
    Reply
  • volks1470
    bah on fancy gaming peripherals. I'm still using a roller-ball PS2 port mouse and keyboard and they work great. Price? Free, because nobody wants cheap stuff like that!
    Reply
  • fleeb
    I am waiting for Logitech G110. Looks nice and will not cost $200.
    Reply
  • JimmiG
    Since I'm a flight simmer, I own both a CH Yoke+Pedals and a Saitek X52 Pro. I also bought an "A4Tech" laser gaming mouse - a discount brand but the mouse itself compares to any Logitech or Razer rodent...for half the price. For keyboard, I'm using a $10 no name corded keyboard :)
    Reply
  • Fortunex
    I don't need the $100+ keyboards or anything, what REALLY makes a difference in my playing is how smooth the feet of the mouse are, and how comfortable the mouse is.

    I had a $10 cheap ass mouse, was the most comfortable mouse I've ever used, but then the cord wore down and it stopped working, and I lack the skills to fix it. Bought a Microsoft Habu, didn't like it at all. Bought a Logitech G5, love it. Bought a steelseries mousepad, OH MY GORSH. My KDR in games (particularly sniping in TF2, where headshots are near essential) nearly doubled. EVERYTHING is so much smoother when compared to my (what I thought was smooth) desktop. It just glides, no more rugged, scratchy mouse movements, it's amazing.

    For keyboards, I have a Razer Arctosa, which I bought because I LOVE the flat keys, and the low profile. No need for fancy backlighting or macro keys, I just want it to be easy to type with and the keys to not be curved.

    I'd advise ANY gamer who doesn't already have a mousepad to get one.
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    Are they worth it eh not really

    Are they pretty just about every time.
    Reply
  • cyb34
    I got a G15 v2 and a G9. They are worth every penny.
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    Preiphereals are worth it.
    Full 7.1 sounds, 7000 DPI mouse, 9x 2560x1600 monitors, G(insert number here) keyboard, soft leather chair with fully adjustable tilt, proper desk...
    You could have a boring powerhouse, or a crappy computer but with all the fixings. It's nice having the extras.
    Reply