Everyone needs a keyboard. From a cheap $10 Walmart special to get the job done to units costing hundreds of dollars, they’re everywhere and very essential. What should you spend on a keyboard? Well that’s entirely up to you. What do you want in a keyboard? Do you need something unique? Do you game? Do you like or need backlit keys? Do you like having different profiles for different games or apps and enjoy creating macros that your keyboard can save? If you said yes to all these questions then I’ve got just the keyboard you’re looking for here on my test bench today. It’s from our good friends over at Logitech and it’s their new G19s Gaming Keyboard.
“Focused on innovation and quality, Logitech designs personal peripherals to help people enjoy a better experience with the digital world. We started in 1981 with mice, which (new at the time) provided a more intuitive way of interacting with a personal computer. We became the worldwide leader in computer mice, and have reinvented the mouse in dozens of ways to match the evolving needs of PC and laptop users.
Since those early days, we have expanded our expertise in product design beyond the computer mouse, with a broad portfolio of interface devices that are the “last inch” between you and your computer or your console game, digital music or home-entertainment system.
With products sold in almost every country in the world, Logitech’s leadership in innovation now encompasses a wide variety of personal peripherals (both cordless and corded), with special emphasis on products for PC navigation, gaming, Internet communications, digital music and home-entertainment control.
For each of our product categories, we study how our customers use their digital devices, and then our designers and engineers set their sights on how we can create a better experience with those devices – richer, more comfortable, more fun, more productive, more convenient, more delightful.” – Logitech
Let’s move on and check out the features and specs for the G19s Gaming Keyboard.
Features and Specifications
ADJUSTABLE, COLOR GAMEPANEL LCD
Knowledge is power – Extend your cockpit with the G19s GamePanel LCD*. Stay informed with real-time game stats, background system information, VoIP communication data, video playback and image slide shows. Add community-developed applets to work with your GamePanel monitor or create your own.
*GamePanel™ LCD requires software that supports Logitech® GamePanel technology. For a list, visit gaming.logitech.com/gamepanel.
Experience illumination – Locate keys in any room with custom backlit keys. Choose 1 out of 16 million colors and assign a unique color to each profile, profile mode, and mode style in the same game. You can tell, without looking down, which mode you’re in to ensure your setup is optimized.
12 FULLY-PROGRAMMABLE G-KEYS
At your command – G19s includes 12 programmable G-keys** that simplify complex actions by allowing you to configure up to 36 unique functions across three different modes with three macros per key. With G-keys, instant access to a variety of customizable functions is just a click away. Program G-keys to interact with your mouse to change DPI levels on the fly and instantly switch from lightning-fast speed to pixel-perfect precision. Assign a G-key to open microphone channels and talk to friends through Ventrilo or to record your play on the fly. You can even assign a G-key to send a text broadcast to your team. Harness the power of G-keys to configure single key presses, complex macros or intricate LUA scripts on the fly, and quickly simplify actions to stay immersed in your game and never lose a step.
**G-key programming requires Logitech® Gaming Software, available at gaming.logitech.com/support.
ADVANCED SURFACE MATERIALS
Feel the difference – Using infrared technology, we studied the interaction between hand and keyboard, and then added advanced surface materials to strategic zones for improved durability and comfort. A hydrophobic coating helps keep hands from sticking to the palm rest. Double UV coating on the keys provides extra-long life durability. In addition, fingerprint-resistant coating on the faceplate helps maintain a fresh look. Details make the difference.
TWO HI-SPEED USB PORTS
Power at hand – The powered USB ports let you transfer data to and from peripherals, like MP3 players and flash drives, while also charging battery-powered devices.
Technology on contact – Anti-ghosting means every key you press is registered even when you press more than one key at the same time. G19s not only includes anti-ghosting on common multi-key inputs such as control-alt-delete, it includes it over all 26 keys so you can perform multiple complex actions, such as pressing six keys at once, without interference or ghosting.
GAME MODE SWITCH
No false moves – You’re about to record a record high number of perfect headshots when an accidental keystroke sends you on an unplanned, unwanted trip to your desktop. Don’t let this kind of mistake ruin your streak or your game—easily disable the Windows key with one button so your game won’t be interrupted. You can thank us later.
INTELLIGENT CABLE MANAGEMENT
Organized and ready – You can keep mouse, headset and other cords out of the way by routing them through channels on the underside of G19s.
PUBLIC SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT KIT (SDK)
Easy enhancements – You can upload the latest enhancements developed exclusively for GamePanel by the Logitech open-source community.
A keyboard with a brain – G19s saves your profiles so you never lose your settings, even when you bring it to other PCs.
DEDICATED MEDIA CONTROLS
Direct access – Convenient one-touch controls give you instant access to volume control and media playback without needing to press a function key.
REAL TIME INTEL WINS: See the GamePanel LCD in action.Sometimes the difference between victory and a massacre is access to real-time information. Something Benny learns the hard way. See all the experiments here.
G19S GAMING KEYBOARD: Settle for nothing short of everything.Gaming-grade keyboard with a full-color GamePanel™ LCD for viewing critical in-game data, system status and more. 12 G-keys allow for up to 36 separate programmable functions per profile. The custom-color backlighting makes identifying active profiles a snap.
Move on to the next page for the specifications.
- Part Number: 920-004985
- Warranty Information: 3-year Limited hardware warranty
- System Requirements: Windows® 8, Windows® 7, or Windows® Vista, Available Hi-Speed USB port, Internet connection for optional software download*
- Package Contents: Keyboard, Palm rest, User documentation, AC power adapter
*G-key programming requires Logitech® Gaming Software, available at gaming.logitech.com/support.
Let’s move on now and unbox the G19s on the next page!
Packaging and Unboxing
The G19s comes packaged in a glossy cardboard box. The front shows an image of the keyboard with half of the board looking like it’s been x-rayed.
The back of the box shows the keyboard and highlights the main features of the board.
Once you open the box you’ll see the keyboard wrapped in plastic resting on a blue cardboard tray.
With the board removed we can see that Logitech packed the documentation under the keyboard tray. Also under the tray is the AC power adapter (top left) and the optional wrist rest which is in the plastic back at the bottom of the picture.
Here we have everything laid out. The keyboard has protective adhesive plastic strips covering the LCD screen.
Let’s take a closer look at the G19s now.
A Closer Look
There is a small protective strip on the G19s logo as well. And check out that sweet blue metal flake paint!
Here we have the AC adapter for the G19s. It’s your typical run of the mill wall wart. This is needed to power the keyboard’s LCD as USB can only draw up to 500mA.
The G19s’s cables are bound together for most of the length then split off into the USB end and the power adapter end.
The USB cable’s end has a tag attached warning you to not plug the G19s into your PC until you’ve installed the software. It shows a CD but the software does not come on a CD, it needs to be downloaded from the support site (http://www.logitech.com/en-us/support/g19s-lcd-gaming-keyboard).
There are two USB ports on the front side of the board – convenient for plugging flash drives or the lie into.
The LCD on the G19s is adjustable for your viewing pleasure.
The big claim to fame of the Logitech G-series gaming keyboards is their G-keys and the three “M” profile keys. The G-keys can be set to perform any function or macro (that you record – more on that later) and the M-keys can be set to different profiles. For instance, you could set one profile to have green backlighting and have the macro keys set for your favorite RPG game and another profile set for your favorite FPS with red backlighting. The possibilities are endless. You’ll also notice the game switch on the top right of this picture. This switch disables the windows key. This is nice because there’s nothing more frustrating that being in the middle of a firefight and you accidentally smack the windows key and pop out to the desktop.
Here we have the LCD control buttons. These control all the movements and selections when navigating the LCD and its menus.
On the top right of the keyboard you have the media keys. These control your music playback, track selection, etc. The left bottom button mutes/unmutes and the roller on the right controls volume.
The W, S, A, and D keys are colored grey instead of black like the rest. Obviously this is geared towards gaming.
The back side of the G19s is pretty typical for a keyboard – anti-slip rubber pads on the front side and two flip-down feet on the back side to raise the keyboard if needed.
Here we see how the wrist rest easily snaps onto the keyboard. There’s a notched cutout to go around the emblem on the bottom middle as well. If you want to remove it for any reason it just snaps right off easily.
Now that we’ve taken a good look at the keyboard let’s check out the Logitech Gaming Software on the next page.
Logitech Gaming Software and Testing
The first thing you need to do is go here to the Logitech Gaming support page got the G19s (http://www.logitech.com/en-us/support/g19s-lcd-gaming-keyboard) and select your operating system then download and install the software. The latest version as of this writing (and the version used for testing) is version 8.55.137 posted on August 4th 2014.
Installation for the software is typical of just about any other software you’ve ever installed. During installation he software automatically checks what device is plugged in and installs the appropriate files for it – so make sure you have the keyboard plugged in before you start the installer.
One the software is installed you’ll see the above menu available on the G19s’s LCD panel.
You’ll also see the following on your desktop.
Clicking on the LCD on the LGS screen brings you to this view. Here you can select what apps you want to have available on the G19s LCD (on the left) and display controls are on the right. The brightness can be adjusted from full to completely off.
The clock for the G19s has several different modes and display options as shown here.
The same also holds true for the stopwatch and countdown timer screens.
The performance monitor is pretty neat – showing the CPU usage percentage as well as RAM usage in real time.
If you find yourself wanting to watch YouTube videos on the G19s LCD there’s an applet for that as well.
You can also set the LCD screen to scroll through pictures from any folder of your choosing and in a number of different ways.
Clicking on the light bulb on the bottom right of the LGS screen will bring you to the backlighting options. Clicking on any of the “M” buttons up top will allow you to set the backlighting for that profile, so you could set red for M1, green for M2, etc. There’s also sliders on the left so you can FINE tune the color and brightness to your liking or just turn the lighting off completely.
Here’s a look at the G19s in the dark with lighting on.
Clicking on the “G” button will bring you to the G-key setup screen. Here you can set each G-key to do certain commands or even record your own macros for them. These 12 keys can each have a different function for every “M” setting you choose.
Clicking on the gear icon will pop up the settings screen. Here you can tweak all the settings of the software as shown above.
In testing I found the keyboard to be a breeze to use. I already use a G510 which is similar to the G19s as far as layout and controls are concerned so I’ve had some experience with the G-keys, backlighting controls and profiles already. Being able to set up the keyboard and specifically the G-keys to whatever you’re doing is great. Recording macros is quick and painless and the LCD screen is great for most tasks although I feel Logitech made it gimmicky by having it display YouTube videos – I mean really? Why would you watch a YouTube video on that tiny little LCD when you’ve got a big monitor right in front of you?
Now the G19s is not a mechanical keyboard and as such lacks the clicky feel and sound but the keys are still fairly stiff and feel great.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
All in all the Logitech G19s is one hell of a keyboard. It’s feature-packed beyond your wildest dreams and looks damn good to boot. The astonishing number of different applets that come with the G19s is crazy let alone all the applets available from third-party creators. Add to that the Logitech SDK (if you’re the programming type) and you can create just about any applet you want!
The three selectable profiles is a great gaming touch. Set up each profile for a different game! Then you can set your G-keys to different functions or macros for each game and even set the preferred backlight color for each profile as well! Add to that the game saver switch that disables the Windows key while gaming and you can tell that Logitech clearly put a lot of thought into this keyboard and it shows. The only thing that may not be for everyone is the blue metal flake paint. I have no problem with it but others might.
The Logitech G19s retails for $199.99 like in Newegg but is currently available over at Amazon.com around $160 shipped. If you’re in the market for a new keyboard and want something that’s packed with more features than you can shake a stick at definitely check out the Logitech G19s.
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