The latest keyboard to come from Logitech's gamer-focused G series is a compact little number built specifically for esports professionals. I am not an esports professional, but I know what I like.
As the line between sports and esports continues to blur, we're seeing more gaming peripherals made for the esports market. Just like you can go into a sporting shoe shop and grab the same shoes a pro basketball player wears, now you can go into your local PC boutique and grab a keyboard endorsed by Team SoloMid's Wildturtle.
Logitech, a sponsor of Team SoloMid, worked with esports professionals to create a keyboard for esports professionals. It's a nice piece of kit, even if you aren't streaming competitively while wearing matching shirts.
What It Is
The Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard is a compact typing and gaming device, designed from the ground up with esports professions in mind. It has a tenkeyless design, which means it does away with the number pad that's normally off to the right in order to conserve space.
The Pro Gaming Keyboard features Logitech's Romer-G mechanical switches. The short actuation distance (the distance the key must travel to be recognised), low actuation force (the force required to reach that distance) and speedy keyboard signal processing combine to make the Romer-G's some of, if not the fastest switches going.
It's a very compact unit, built for travel and designed for maximum accessibility in a small amount of space -- say, the cubby at an esports tournament. The cable is detachable, using the same pronged USB plug as many of Logitech's gaming mice.
Romer-G Key Switches
- Durability: 70 million key presses
- Actuation distance: 1.5mm
- Actuation force: 45g
- Total travel distance: 3.0mm
- Length: 153mm
- Width: 360.5mm
- Height: 34.3mm
- Weight (w/o cable): 980g
- Cable Length: 1.8m
Suggested Retail Price: $US129.99 ($172) -- Australian pricing and availability has not yet been announced
What I Did With It
I certainly did not participate in any esports with the Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard, at least not on a professional level. I did play various games on it, including a round or two of Overwatch, the game most of the Kotaku staff loves and I only dabble in. (Almost level 7!)
On top of gaming, I've been using it as an everyday keyboard. Let's see those esports professionals write a story about licking game cartridges.
What I Liked
That Streamlined Look: Five years ago PC gaming peripherals were all about flash. A gaming keyboard was covered in strange protrusions, LCD panels, robot arms -- anything to make it stand out in the crowd. We were so stupid back then.
This is a very small box.
The Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard is a black rectangle with maybe half a centimetre between the keys and three sides of the unit. Along the top there's a lighting button, a button to load custom profiles, and a glowing G, because there was all that blank space on the top left.
It's a very simple, no-nonsense style. I like it.
Those Romer-G Keys: Logitech and esports professionals in Logitech's marketing materials tell me that the Romer-G keys used in the Pro Gaming Keyboard are the fastest things going, something like 25 per cent faster than their closest competitor. With an actuation distance of 1.5mm and keyboard signal processing that's 10 milliseconds faster than Razer's Blackwidow Chroma V2, that sounds about right.
While those things matter to esports pros, I very much doubt I will ever notice the difference in my playing. What I do notice is how good the keys feel, with their smooth key caps and soft and meaty mechanical click. My fingers dance across these things. I still suck at Starcraft II.
Detachable Cable: It's about damn time. When you are designing a keyboard for travel, being tenkeyless isn't enough. You have to do something with that cord, which usually means your cable is going to be bent in the back. That's no way to treat a cable.
So Logitech made the cable removable. Now you're travelling with a lovely black rectangle, with the cable tucked away all safe and sound. As long as you don't lose it, you're a fancy, fancy travelling gamer.
Lighting: Colourful lighting isn't just for show any more. Between Razer's Chroma and Logitech's own customisable lighting, glowy keyboards are becoming part of the game. There are hundreds of profiles available for PC games, using keyboard lights to add flair as well as utility. Want the keyboard to flash red and blue when the police are chasing you in Grand Theft Auto 5? Easy-peasy.
The Logitech Pro Gaming Keyboard's lighting is easily adjusted via Logitech's gaming software, but it also features onboard memory to store a profile for gaming tournaments where the use of software is forbidden. Handy!
Software Control: I'm really starting to warm up to Logitech's Gaming Software. Not only is it a simple way to create custom lighting profiles and utilise the Pro's programmable F1 through F12 keys, it also offers a nifty way to look at your overall keyboard use.
You can use the software to keep track of your usage via key press and duration heat maps. Not only does the data show up in the software, the test can interact with the keyboard's lighting to show results in real-time.
What do I need a key press heat map for? Shush. It's neat.
What I Didn't Like
They're Really Pushing That Esports Angle: This keyboard is a wonderful input device, but Logitech is really playing up the esports connection, to the point where I am slightly uncomfortable recommending it to folks who aren't actively engaged in them.
There is no reason the everyday user should not pick one of these up, but maybe there is? If you aren't carting your keyboard to a different esports arena every week, do you really need a detachable keyboard? Is the fastest keyboard signal processing going something that will benefit regular mortals? Esports. Esports esports. Esports? Esports.
If you follow esports, odds are you're going to be seeing a lot of the Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard. The nimble fingers of Team SoloMid will certainly be all over these, clicking and killing with efficiency of someone with tens of thousands of dollars on the line and the skills to back it up.
For those of us just playing for fun and personal glory, it's probably more keyboard than we'll ever need, but when has that ever stopped us?