If you’re a fan of PC gaming peripherals, you’re most likely aware of Razer and Logitech. At this point in time, both companies seem to be the Big Two in terms of PC gaming products, offering similar mice and keyboards. You might also be up on the mechanical keyboard scene, as those boards are largely beneficial for gaming. Oddly, Logitech was lagging behind in the mechanical gaming keyboard arena, even though their competitor has a few already available in their arsenal. With the release of the G710+, however, Logitech’s first hat into the mechanical gaming keyboard ring is a pretty good way to start.
Let’s face it, mechanical keyboards haven’t quite caught on with the mainstream gaming populace as of yet. It’s understandable, as they’re much more expensive than regular keyboards, and have less bells and whistles added in because, coupled with the expensive cost of mechanical keys, the price would rise even higher. Case in point, check out what happens when you add fancy extras to a keyboard that doesn’t sport the expensive mechanical keys, then imagine how much the price would ramp up when you do add said mechanical keys. This price issue could possibly explain why Logitech hasn’t thrown their hat into the mechanical keyboard ring sooner. However, with the recent release of the G710+, it seems the wait for Logitech’s first mechanical keyboard was worth it.
For the unaware, the point of mechanical keys is to prevent ghosting, which is what happens when multiple keys are pressed at the same time and some of them don’t register. As gamers know, you might be pressing various keys at the same time in order to perform various functions in a game; for example, moving forward (W) while turning (either A or D), increasing walk speed (perhaps Shift or Spacebar), and performing an action like a melee attack, healing, or reloading (often E, R, or F). With mechanical keys, all of these actions would register at the same time without risk of any ghosting. The G710+ prevents ghosting as advertised. I even tested it a few times by pressing my palm down on the keyboard with an opened text editor, and the keys registered flawlessly.
The keys feel sturdy and solid when pressed, which is often another common feeling amongst gamers regarding mechanical keys. Again, the G710+ hits the mark with its keys. As for bells and whistles though, due to what I assume is a price concern, the G710+ only sports a few.
Probably its best bells-and-whistles feature is the dual-zone, five-level LED key lighting. The two zones, controlled with two buttons toward the top of the keyboard, are separated into WASD and arrow keys, and everything that isn’t. After testing out various combinations, my preferred setup was the WASD and arrow zones on the brightest setting, with everything else set to the dimmest. Unfortunately, the only available lighting color for the G710+ is white, so it may not match the rest of your gaming rig.
Along with the lighted keys, the G710+ offers six extra keys to do with what you wish, from assigning them complicated macros, to just giving yourself some extra spacebars. The keyboard also features standard media control keys, a gaming button that disables the Windows and other contextual keys, as well as a convenient volume wheel, similar to a mouse’s scroll wheel, that allows for easy and incremental volume changes.
The G710+ also features three preset standard profiles that you can switch to on-the-fly with the help of three dedicated buttons, as well as a button to easily record macros — simply press the button to begin recording, perform your key combinations, then press the same button to stop recording. The Logitech gaming software that comes alongside the G710+ is the same software you may already have installed if you’ve been using Logitech’s G600 MMO gaming mouse, though if you haven’t updated since the G600, you’ll have to do so for the G710+ to be recognized. Within that software, you can script more complicated macros, as well as assign every single key on the keyboard a different key, if you want to, say, troll a friend or have a very specific gaming layout.
The keyboard can also recognize games as they load, and automatically switch your keyboard to a profile specifically designated for that game. If the game isn’t in Logitech’s pre-compiled list, the software allows you to easily add any program so it can be recognized. The keyboard also has a USB pass-through, so the two USB slots that it requires to receive power aren’t actually taken up by one peripheral.
The keyboard itself is feels sturdy — with the help of the mechanical keys, of course — because it’s heavier than one would expect a keyboard to be. Not in a bad way, thankfully, as the keyboard seems to weigh just enough to avoid getting pushed around by heavy hands. In case the sweat of your gaming palms are ruining the paint on your desk, the G710+ also sports a detachable, comfortable hand rest.
My one major complaint with the features of the G710+ — aside from the lack of multiple color offerings for the lighted keys — is that though Logitech advertises the keys as “whisper-quiet,” they’re actually quite the opposite, and seem to be louder than those found on the Razer equivalent mechanical keyboard, the Black Widow. Mechanicals keys are loud by nature, though, so at least you can’t do too much better or worse.
My only other complaint that doesn’t involve the actual features or use of the keyboard, is the price. Though a solid product, at $149.99, the G710+ sits ten bucks above its direct competitor, the Razer Black Widow Ultimate 2013, seventy bucks above the standard Black Widow, and a range of prices above various other gaming keyboards (mechanical or otherwise) sold at outlets such as Newegg. For instance, Logitech’s own G110 is sitting pretty at ninety bucks below the G710+, and though it doesn’t sport mechanical keys and is older, it has a wider range of bells and whistles, including a variety of lighted key colors.
If you don’t require the benefits of mechanical keys, Logitech and their competitors offer other feature-rich keyboards, which sometimes sell brand new for half the price. However, as far as somewhat affordable mechanical keyboards go, Logitech’s G710+ is a great offering, especially considering this is the company’s first go at a mechanical gaming keyboard.