Gaming keyboards are pretty diverse these days. Just about any type desired can be had. Mechanical keyboards, however, have come back into popularity in recent years. These bulky, heavy keyboards scoff at the status quo of super thin, sometimes non-responseive slabs of plastic.
Sure. You can game on any ‘ol keyboard. But after playing with a mechanical one things are just different. Logitech hopes you’ll be won over with their latest, the G710+.
For the spec junkies, you’re looking at 110-key anti-ghosting as well as 26-key rollover – pretty standard stuff these days. There’s also a braided USB cable, pass-thru USB 2.0 port and a nifty Game/Desktop button that toggles on/off keys that aren’t needed in-game (read: Windows Start Key). The palm rest is also removable to the joy of many.
From a looks perspective, the G710+ is nicer looking than several options out there, eschewing stark minimalism and single color paint jobs for something a bit more loud. The loudness we speak of comes in the form of a couple different colors of grey/black as well as some orange accent colors. Subdued in some circles, “crazy” in others. In our opinion, Logitech got it just right. It’s not so boring to look at you forget but also not so crazy and over the top you are embarrassed to local LAN parties.
Underneath each and every key you’ll find the real magic here, the Cherry MX Brown switches. They’re not the hardest or loudest switches on the market, but for what Logitech is trying to do – compromising between extreme mechanism and whisper quiet “modern” keyboards – it’s just right. We’ve seen some say the particular Cherry Brown switches in the 710+ feel more resistive than other switches that are actually rated higher in terms of resistance, we didn’t notice any arm or wrist discomfort – even after several hours of gaming (and typing).
Along the left side of the G710+ you’ll find the customary “G” keys – six of them to be exact. The addition of three separate profiles means those six G-keys effectively triple into 18 special keys that can handle a multitude of functions including simple, single key presses, bigger macros and even various LUA scripts.
The best feature, though, that deserves it’s own paragraph is the fully backlit keyboard. While modern, non-mechanical keyboards can incorporate LED backlighting relatively easily, it’s not quite so easy for mechanical mashers, hence why many mechanical keyboards don’t have full backlighting (or any backlighting at all). But Logitech went one step further; they made it so that the WASD cluster backlighting is completely separate from the rest of the keyboard so that you can have them as close together or far apart in lighting as you please. Oh, and the backlighting is white, not some obnoxious and hard to read color.
If you’ve used Logitech hardware at any point over the last several years, there’s really nothing new to report here. The software, while capable, sports a UI that screams 2005. The biggest gripe we have is that there are simply too many screens and clicks in between points A and B; some refinement is needed.
The G710+ is as formidable a foe in in-game performance as any. The Cherry switches underneath give a nice thick feeling to each and every keystroke. And Logitech’s addition of dampers under each key means it’s not quite as loud as your typical mechanical keyboard packing similar switches. On that same token, this isn’t a keyboard to type out a 10,000+ word paper in the silent of night while others sleep in your house around you. It’s still “loud”, just less so than the category average.
As we touched on above, the software isn’t the slickest or most straight forward. But even then, setting up our various macros for quick in-game action was met with relatively little fuss. One other thing to consider is that once you go through the initial setup of macros and such, you rarely revisit the software to tweak them. Perhaps a small bump to get over, but once you’re over it you’re pretty much done.
At $149.99 the G710+ isn’t really an impulse buy. Then again, mechanical keyboards (good ones at least) aren’t really a cheap item to make. But the old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true. Mechanical keyboards are in general more robust and better built than non-mechanical ones these days. With a rating of many millions of keystrokes, mechanical keyboards, and in this case the G710+, are built for the long haul.
Whether it be gaming or simply a desktop guru’s quest for more physical feedback, the 710+ is a nice balance between the two traits that should please most who pick it up.