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Mechanical Keyboards: BlackWidow, Osmium, G710+

Logitech G710+

The G710+ represents Logitech’s first real mechanical keyboard. With an aggressive, angular, and heavily industrial aesthetic, its design fits tonally with the rest of the company's gaming line of G-series products. The G15 is still one of the most popular gaming/enthusiast keyboards on the market. The G710+ drops some of the more practical features of the G15, notably the two-tone LCD readout – no doubt casualties of the shift to mechanical keys.

That industrial design has also cut back on the more ergonomic form of the G15. The keyboard falls off about an inch at the bottom which can be rather uncomfortable. Fortunately, the G710+ does include a detachable wrist rest. All told, that’s probably a little bit better than the casual slope of the G15 and Logitech’s other boards, as it allows you more latitude in your overall desk layout.

As with most high-end keyboards these days, the G710+ sports plenty of individual key lighting for late-night gaming or typing, this time in white. Be warned, these LEDs are bright, in fact, we had to turn them down quite a bit to keep the LEDs from messing with our eyes in low-light conditions. The keyboard has two distinct circuits for its lighting, one for WASD and the arrow keys, and the other for everything else. It’s a nifty feature, and can be pretty useful on occasion.

One of the things that sets this keyboard apart from today's other contenders is its media controls. Neither of the other two boards has a full set of dedicated keys for these functions (play/pause, stop, back, forward and mute). Like the Osmium, the G710+ also sports a volume roller, though this is an extra-wide, thumb-sized roller instead of a typical scroll wheel. While it’s certainly not going to be a huge deal for most, we found it to be one of the most consistently used set of keys. Unfortunately, the G710+ doesn’t have any audio jacks on the board, which is a little annoying as it means that you won’t be able to use the keyboard as a sort of pseudo-dock for your audio peripherals.

Logitech also outfitted the G710+ with the ability for on-the-fly macro creation. The six main "G" keys along with the three mode keys that will switch between several different macro sets and one more that can record new macros. And as with the BlackWidow, using Logitech’s proprietary software is probably better in the long run if you’d like to maximize their utility.

The Logitech G710+ retails for $150, and like the Gigabyte Osmium, it can also be found at a $10 discount with pretty good frequency.