It’s hard to get truly excited about keyboards, when the world is full of things like iPads and 3D cinema and Felicia Day. That hasn’t deterred Logitech, though, who have pulled out all the stops to design a keyboard that’s actually worth getting excited about. If standard keyboards are vendor trash, the G110 Gaming Keyboard is pure purple and bind-on-pickup.
The idea – as with Logitech’s other gaming keyboards – is to provide a keyboard which does far more than simply enable you to type “lols nub l2p” into party chat. The G110 has a whole host of other features, all firmly designed with gamers in mind.
The keyboard itself is adequate, if not spectacular. The keys are nicely weighted without feeling heavy and cumbersome, and the boards sits well under the palms. The available tilt angle is minimal, but the keyboard does come with a detachable wrist-rest which snaps snugly onto the bottom of the board for those of us who are a bit lazy with our typing postures. For a keyboard which boasts so many features, the G110 is admirably compact, measuring just 50cm wide by 19cm deep ( 23cm with the wrist-rest attached).
The flagship feature of the G110 is the bank of additional keys to the left of the main keyboard. There are twelve keys, positioned in three blocks of four keys each, but Logitech’s clever use of custom modifier keys and profiles allows for far more than just twelve additional buttons. Three small modifier buttons sit just above the bank of custom keys, allowing the user to change to a different set of keybindings with a single press. Software supplied with the board enables each key to perform a variety of functions, some of which are admirably specific. A key can be configured to mimic a standard keypress, of course, but can just as easily mimic a complex key combination. Sick of having to break your fingers trying to press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J to trigger that once-in-a-blue-moon ability? Just set that combination as the action for one of the custom keys, and your poor phalanges will be safe from harm. Even better, the custom keys can trigger a sequence of keypresses, rendering a regular sequence of key presses down to a single tap. I set one of the custom keys to type “/afk” – a simple shortcut, but one which saved a lot of time.
For extra credit, the G110 will even allow keypress sequences to be recorded with specific lengths of time between each keypress. That’s potentially dangerous levels of automation for some of the more dictatorial MMOs – using automation like this could theoretically get you banned in WoW – but for something like A Tale In The Desert (where automation macros are actually encouraged) it’s a killer feature.
The software will automatically detect installations of many popular games – on our test machine both World Of Warcraft and Dungeons & Dragons Online were detected – and will create profiles for each one. This allows you to switch the entire set of keybindings and macros contextually, depending on the game. You can create additional profiles, of course, for whatever purpose you like. Many of the popular games are additionally supported with direct keybindings to popular actions – the World Of Warcraft profile, for example, allows you to assign the action “send my pet into defensive mode” to a custom key. The keyboard will then interface directly and issue that command. No need for keybindings or macros – the keyboard software takes care of it all.
If that’s not enough to impress your friends, the keyboard also provides a bit of eye-candy in the form of the backlighting on each key. It’s a bit of a gimmick, but it’s not actually eye-bleedingly ostentatious – and if, like us, you tend to do your gaming in a gloomy room late at night it does actually help to easily identify the keys. Yes, you can pick the colour.
The keyboard provides a handful of USB ports, and also contains an entire in-built USB-audio card. That means you can attach a microphone headset directly to the keyboard. It’s a nice touch, especially when combined with the separate mute button to affect only the headset audio.
At the right-hand side of the keyboard is a standard set of media control and playback buttons, including one of my favourite little touches: the volume control. Rather than the usual “+” and “-” buttons, the volume is controlled by a scrollable wheel. It’s a much more natural way of controlling volume, and once you’ve tried it you won’t want to go back.
This is not a keyboard for a casual gamer, nor is it a keyboard for those who like instant results. In order to make the most of this board, you’re going to have to take the time to train yourself to use it properly. You’ll need to think about the optimum assignment of keybindings for each game, and you’ll probably still find yourself using the same keybindings for your core abilities as you always have. Where this keyboard really excels is its extraordinary amount of customisation. You can tailor the G110 to do almost anything you need it to do. There are other gaming keyboards, some of which have more bells and whistles, and some of which have even more keys. If you’re looking for a workhorse gaming keyboard, though, which will improve your game and give you an astonishingly flexible setup, the G110 is a solid contender. While it’s not the cheapest of keyboards, it won’t bruise your pocket as much as some of its competitors, and the potential benefit is well worth the investment.
Buy the Logitech G110 Gaming Keyboard from Amazon.com ($64.99)
Buy the Logitech G110 Gaming Keyboard from Amazon.co.uk (£48.99)