Wireless mouse technology has gotten crazy good lately with even professional gamers cutting the cord in tournament play with thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. But what about mechanical keyboards?
Both mechanical keyboards and wireless keyboards have existed since before I was born, so where the ‘H’ ‘E’ double hockey sticks are all the wireless mechanical boards? Well, I’m glad you asked. Meet the G-613. It is tournament grade, mechanical and wireless. In addition, it lasts for months on just a single charge.
LOGITECH G613: UTILITARIAN
Even though it’s part of their gamer G Series, I think the best way to describe the design of Logitech’s G-613 is utilitarian. It’s got pretty much everything you need. And very little that you don’t. It rocks an understated two-tone gray finish with an integrated wrist rest, which is nice because you don’t want that thing flopping around when you’re on the go.
It’s got six programmable macro keys, and then a handful of basic media keys. Being wireless, it also has an on/off switch. And there are more two buttons beside the switch that let you switch between the Logitech Lightspeed receiver unit plugged into your computer and a supported nearby Bluetooth device like your phone, car, and TV. You get the point. Bluetooth is a fairly ubiquitous standard. And that’s a nice thing to have.
Let’s talk typing. Logitech is using the same Omron co-developed Romer-G Switches as the G-910, but this time without the weird-shaped key caps, RGB lighting, and the phone dock. So it shouldn’t be a surprise then that while the high tactile bump is a bit of an acquired taste, typing on it is actually a reasonably pleasant experience. No complaints there at all.
As for gaming, Logitech claims that the keyboard is over five times faster than Razer’s wired BlackWidow v2. And that’s thanks to the 2.4 Gigahertz light speed connection, the short actuation distance of the Romer G switches and the fast onboard processing. So, considering what a regular wired mechanical keyboard cost a few years ago, not too bad for a hundred and fifty bucks. That’s progress, but that leads us back to our original question.
HOW HAS IT TAKEN UNTIL TWENTY FREAKING SEVENTEEN FOR A MAJOR BRAND TO RELEASE A WIRELESS MECHANICAL KEYBOARD?
Okay, so maybe it was a demand issue. Until the last few years, mechanical keyboards were a super niche item and even today most laypersons don’t know what they are. So, who would have been out there looking for a keyboard that’s both mechanical and wireless?
Maybe, it was cost. The people looking for those features also had to be willing to pay for them and considering that a cheap wireless keyboard can cost three times as much as a cheap wired one. The fact that a basic mechanical keyboard is still a hundred bucks makes that potentially pretty scary math.
No, actually I reject that. We don’t think it was demand or cost keeping wireless mechanical keyboards from hitting the mainstream. Clearly, if there are people out there buying $200 individually handcrafted keycaps, some of them would be willing to spend a few bucks for complete wireless desk setup.
We think it was more to do with the limited benefit of wireless for keyboards. I mean, they just sit there. And the compromises that were imposed, especially by older wireless technologies. But hold on a second. I mean the 2.4 gigahertz or Bluetooth wireless devices I have, have basically no noticeable latency. Aren’t those good enough? While I see your point, “basically” isn’t good enough. The people who buy mechanical keyboards are enthusiasts. They care about registering a keystroke a fraction of a second earlier than their opponents, and they’re not about to sacrifice those key benefits just to cut a cord that’s usually out of the way. Anyway, I mean who exactly is it out there that wants to charge a heavy-ass keyboard all the time for the privilege of being able to pick it up and go sit on the couch to use it?
So that’s what’s changed here better than wired latency with up to 18 months of life on two regular double-a batteries. There’s even a pair included in the box.
And while Logitech’s been super tight-lipped about exactly how their Lightspeed link actually works, what we do know is that it’s strong high decibel signal: one-millisecond report rate. And the supremely powerful efficient design is what enables this product’s “No compromises performance” and endurance. With that said, no compromises is in the eye of the beholder.
The cordless simplicity of the g613 will appeal to some consumers, but many enthusiasts will be unwilling to give up creature comforts like auxiliary screens, pass-through USB ports, built-in audio, backlit keys, and let’s face it that sweet RGB nectar. All the things that they could have at this price if they were willing to plug in a cord.
Not to mention that they’d probably get better keycaps, too. To say I was disappointed that the legend on a $150 keyboard uses cheapo stickers would be a gross understatement. You might say, “Come on. They got to keep the cost of this revolutionary new product down somehow, right?” Right? No. I mean to be clear by and large, I like the product that I think a lot of people are going to buy it.
I’m at risk of sounding like a broken record here, but Logitech needs to stop screwing up the keycaps on its Romer-G key switch products. Zhishan 87 keys fashion classic uses more durable double shots, and it’s like 25 bucks.
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