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The G110 keyboard is one of Logitech’s high-end gaming keyboards. It’s not at the very top of their range, but it’s definitely one of their better ones. It’s priced at £69.99 and currently has a three and a half star rating on the Logitech site.
This is what you can expect to find when you open up the keyboard box.
- 1 x Logitech G110 gaming keyboard
- 1 x detachable wrist support
- Manual, quick start guide and other documentation
The keyboard features a cluster of programmable G keys at the far left of the keyboard. It’s a good location for the keys, and means the keyboard is only slightly wider that other gaming keyboards (the Razer Lycosa for example, is only a couple of centimetres less wide). Each G key can have up to 3 different macros assigned to it, and the keys to switch between the different classes of macros and the macro recording key are sensibly located just above the G keys.
The keyboard mode key, for switching between desktop and game modes is prominent, and clearly labelled with an old-school joystick icon. Game mode is really handy for gaming because it disables the windows and menu keys so that if these are accidentally pressed during game play, the game doesn’t lose focus. The keyboard isn’t actually described as being anti-ghosting, but I’ve not experienced any issues with pressing and holding multiple keys at once.
The analogue headset/MIC ports and USB 2.0 hub are easily located on the top/rear edge of the keyboard, and there are individual mute buttons for the headset and MIC, which is also a really useful feature. The backlight button is also located here in the central panel for easy access.
On the bottom of the keyboard there are several channels that the headphone/MIC and USB device cables can be fed through without disturbing how the keyboard lies, which I think is a nice touch. It’s these kinds of simple, subtle but immensely helpful features that can make a keyboard.
The media panel is located at the top-right of the keyboard above the number pad, and features a global mute buttons, a volume roller (which works really well), and the standard play/pause, stop, previous and next keys. The media keys do not appear to be programmable, although the G keys, as well as the standard F keys are all programmable.
I’d like to mention the feet on the keyboard as well; normally the feet on any keyboard open up so that they are facing away from the back of the keyboard. This is ok, but any greater-than-normal force applied to the keyboard (such as in the intensity of an FPS fire fight) can cause the keyboard to crash down to its resting position. The feet on the G110 however, open parallel to the keyboard in opposing left and right directions, so there is no possibility of crashing the board back to its resting position during game play.
One thing I noticed about the keyboard is that it seems to be weighted rather unusually; one side of the keyboard feels quite heavy and secure and doesn’t slip about, but the left side appears to be lighter and the foot on that side just doesn’t seem to grip the desk as well, which can make that side slide a little. It’s not a major problem and it isn’t severe enough to cause issues with gaming or typing.
Using the keyboard
Many of the keyboard’s features work straight away out of the box without any additional software installation. The media panel and volume controls all work straight away in iTunes (although only the stop/play/pause buttons work in Media Player), and some of the G keys have predefined functions depending on the application in use. Keys like the desktop/game modes and the backlight and mute buttons all work out of the box too.
The keyboard is very nice to use, with a satisfying, but surprisingly quiet (most of the backlit keyboards I’ve used have been quite loud to type on) key action. The size of the keyboard is good, with it not being too large or taking up too much desk space. The cable is also just a standard, single USB 2.0 connection, which is great. Other keyboards that I’ve used with integrated audio tend to have several cables trailing from them (one I used had two USB connectors and 2 analogue connectors!)
I have a digital pair of USB headphones, which worked without configuration as soon as I connected them to the USB hub on the back of the keyboard. The keyboard actually features several mute buttons – one is for the overall sound of the computer and globally mutes all sound, the other mutes are individually for the headphones and/or MIC. One thing to note is that the headphone/MIC mutes only work with analogue devices.
One thing about the keyboard that has annoyed me slightly is the placement of the G keys – although their current location is sensible in relation to the rest of the keyboard, after over a week of usage, I’m still accidentally pressing them when I want the shift or caps-lock keys. In my mind the shift key is one of the ones on the far left of the keyboard, so my hand naturally goes there. I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually, and it isn’t a fault with the keyboard, just something I’ve noticed. Having a standard, non-gaming keyboard at work also compounds the issue, but if this were the only keyboard I used, I think it would be quicker to get used to.
Although many of the keys work without additional configuration, to get the most out of the keyboard and to change things like the backlight colour, you need to use the bundled software. The keyboard doesn’t work with SetPoint, which I find a little unusual, as SetPoint can be used with some Logitech keyboards. This means having two additional applications installed and running (if you have a Logitech mouse and use SetPoint for that) in order to use all of the features of both the mouse and keyboard. Personally, I prefer to have as few apps running as possible.
A software CD is provided in the box, which contains the G-series Key profiler software which provides access to the advanced keyboard settings once it has been installed. This software is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems, which is a bonus as SetPoint is not Mac-compatible. Also included on the CD is a trial of World of Warcraft.
Recording new macros or keystroke combinations can be done using the keyboard itself (press MR, press the G key to assign the macro to, press the keys that make up the macro, then press MR again when done), or using the software. The software gives more options however, and allows the function keys to be reassigned, as well as specific software shortcuts for selected applications to be assigned. But either method is extremely easy.
The ability to record macros/key-stroke combinations is really useful, and not just for gaming. Many software applications, especially more complex ones such as those used in CAD for example, have complex sequences of keystrokes that perform functions in the within the application, so being to press just one key, instead of remembering numerous sequences can be a real time-saver.
The G keys can each have 3 different macros assigned to them and these three macros can be used and/or set using the macro keys at the top right of the keyboard. Handily, each class of macro can have a different colour for the backlight set on it, so for example, when macro 1 (M1) is selected, all keys are blue, when M2 is selected all keys are purple and when M3 is selected, all keys are shown with a red backlight.
This is quite useful as you can instantly tell which class of macros is currently active. What would be really useful however, would be the ability to assign a different colour to individual keys, regardless of which class of macro is currently active. This would mean that you could have, for example, the majority of the keys backlit in blue, with the WASD cluster in red, which would make identifying where your fingers need to be in the dark even easier.
Let’s also take a moment to recap the features the keyboard offers.
- Changeable colour backlit keys
- Integrated USB audio with accessible connections for analogue headphones and microphone
- Integrated USB 2.0 slot
- 12 programmable G keys, each able to accept up to three user-defined macros, access to change the F key functions when using the G-series key profiler software
- Gaming and desktop modes
- Integrated media control panel
- Cable channel beneath the keyboard
- Crash-proof feet
The media panel and programmable keys make this an effective keyboard for many everyday tasks not just gaming, and the backlit, colour-customizable keys make night time use a pleasure whether gaming or typing. It’s comfortable to use, with a quiet, smooth key action. All in all there are some great features on the keyboard, and there are no real faults with it. There just isn’t that one unique feature that lifts it above the competition. It’s a great keyboard no doubt, but there are other great keyboards, similarly priced as well. If the keyboard was a bit cheaper I think it would satisfy all but the most hardcore of gamers.