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Review: Logitech G510S Gaming Keyboard

I have been a happy owner of the Logitech Gaming series of keyboards for many years now; when the Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard came around for a review, I went to the editor and said, “HAND IT OVER!”

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Disclaimer – I personally own a Logitech G510 keyboard - this keyboard’s predecessor, so I’ll be drawing from my experiences from that, and comparing it to this keyboard.

TD;LR

Pro's

  • Lots of programmable keys
  • Legible backlit keyboard, colour adjustable, uniform colour.
  • Windows Key-lock
  • Great media keys
  • Nice new look and finish
  • Gamepanel!!

Con's

  • If have older G510, no need to get G510s
  • Driver memory footprint can be a bit large depending on applets running

Usability of the Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard

On first presentation of the Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard, I was thinking that this could be an upgrade path to my existing keyboard, the Logitech G510 Gaming Keyboard. Learning that, other than some cosmetic changes, there is a practically no difference between the G510 and the G510s; I’m staying right where I am.

The keyboard’s basic technology is your every-day garden variety dome-switch key system. The touch is light, and keyfall is significantly less than the older G15 series, but a little more than with the Roccat Isku. The result is you can hammer the keyboard for gaming, but use it as a touch-typist for day-time activities. There is a generous and detachable palm-rest provided.

Every gamer is going to tell you that his keyboard from another manufacturer is better for this and that reason – I say bah, humbug! This keyboard’s legacy is where it’s at. The G15 series introduced the Gamepanel LCD system – providing a heads-down display for useful pieces of information depending on which games or other apps are running. Examples include Teamspeak - providing channel info; World of Warcraft gives you a quick glance of your characters vital stats such as DPS, total health, armour, etc. Other games have included their own information that can be displayed, and if it isn’t available, you can bet that an avid programming and gaming buddy has probably written a third-party plugin for the panel software by now.

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Can't go wrong with knowing how much DPS I'm dishing out!

The original Logitech G15 series of keyboards had a total of 54 of programmable macro keys, the flappable Gamepanel LCD, and passable, but not great, media controls. The second-generation G15 only had 18 programmable keys, a hard-set GamePanel built into the chassis, and better media control keys. The Logitech G510 Gaming Keyboard, and its update, the G510s, have taken the lessons learnt from both predecessors, to improve the media keys from the second-generation G15, provide as much macro key functionality from the original G15, built the Gamepanel into the main keyboard’s chassis, and added a swatch of programmable colour settings. The result: the great keyboard I’m using now.

  Like all of its predecessors, there is a Windows-Key lock switch, allowing one to manually disable the Windows Key from those sometimes-embarrassing mid-session taps that can make or break a game. Macro programming can be done either directly, by using the macro-recording button on the keyboard or via the keyboards’ software drivers. The analogue headsets’ plugs also have manual muting functions, a welcome addition to this generation.

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Seriously, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF THIS!

From an aesthetics point of view of the G510 versus the G510s, very little has changed. The key font has been refreshed – The windows key logo has been updated to Windows 8 from the Windows Vista / XP look; the symbols font has also changed, which might take a bit of getting used to if you’re a typist who has to look at keys more often than not. The typical black-grey styling has been replaced with a matt and shiny black finish with some silver decals, to give it a more fearsome look… I think. Another notable change are the WASD and arrow keys are now highlighted from the uniform black to a silver-grey. I approve!

While I didn’t specifically see it as an option or a feature initially, (and to be honest, I didn’t really think of it till I started reviewing keyboards from other manufacturers), I see that device polling for this keyboard is set 2ms, or 500 times a second. Anti-ghosting is also rated at 6 keys, which should be enough for most gaming humans, with a maximum of 5 fingers on the keyboard at any one time while gaming keyboard/mouse style.

A pleasant surprise with this keyboard, and a benchmark  I used with the G510 versus others, is key backlighting – it is uniformly visible, considering that dome-mebrane-type keyboards use LED’s attached to a light rail, to evenly distribute lighting across the entire underside of the keyboard caps. It’s readable at all angles, and doesn’t make the keys sometimes illegible, as I have experienced in one case. While not as bright as individually-lit mechanical keyboards, it is clear and legible in normal office lighting.

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I got rainbows coming out of my fingertips!


Drivers and Control of the Logitech G10 Gaming Keyboard


About a year ago, Logitech unified their drivers across the G-range , so that you would only need to load one driver for Logitech G-based keyboards, mice and headsets. At home, I use a G35 headset, a G500 mouse and the G510 keyboard; one driver to rule them all!

From within the driver panel and in this case, at work, one can choose to make changes to the macro keys, what applets are running on the Gamepanel, what colour your keyboard lights up with, and finally, what macro profiles can be downloaded to the keyboard if using it on a machine without the requisite drivers loaded.

The macro portion I described earlier, allows you to assign shortcuts or program complicated macros. With the proper drivers loaded the amount of profiles which can be set up and swapped to are theoretically limitless, but if using the profile download feature, a total of five can be saved to the keyboard.

Profiles are initially compiled based on what games are installed on your machine, and what pre-canned profiles have already been made for known games – you can either edit those profiles to your liking or create entirely new ones. The driver software can also rescan your machine for new applications or games, at the touch of a button.

The Gamepanel portion of the drivers section allows you to select which applets are running at any given time. There is a handy set of pre-canned apps already available, including a clock, countdown and stopwatch, POP3 email notification app with preview, an RSS reader, PC processor and RAM performance monitor, and profile selector. Other options which can be set include the app-switching behaviour.

The colour selection tab is pretty straight-forward. Choose form a variety of pre-set colours, along with brightness, or make your own using an RGB-style slider system. I like the StarCraft II purple-pink colouring!

The microchip icon indicates the “Profiles to Go” section, where one can choose which profiles to store on the keyboard directly. Simply drag one of the profiles listed at the top, into one of the five slots at the bottom. Easy enough.

Finally, there are the general settings, dealing with options like checking for new versions of the driver, handling of downloading new pre-canned profiles, if macro-recording should also take into account any delays when being recorded from the keyboard, handling of multiple profiles for the same game. Pretty straightforward and intuitive fair.

Conclusion

I like this keyboard. It speaks to me and continues in the proud vein of the now mid-range series of Logitech G-series of keyboards. The high-end entrants in the range are now covered by the G19s and the recently released G710+ mechanical keyboard.

My main gripe with Logitech was always about the lack of a full mechanical gaming keyboard, but that was recently addressed by the introduction of the afore-mentioned G710+.

If you’re an existing user of the earlier G510 or the older G19 series of gaming keyboards from Logitech, there is little reason to upgrade from those – this keyboard is a minor (if attractive) iteration  and there is little in the way of improvement. Many of the things being touted as “features” were actually already present in them.

If, on the other hand, you’re an avid gamer and been thinking about refreshing your gaming keyboard, but don’t want to go whole hog with a mechanical keyboard, then this is definitely a worthy contender for your hard-earned dosh. The Gamepanel on the original G15 sold me to the series, and that was in the day where dual-screen setups were still relatively unheard of, and being able to get extra information about your game or other applications was key at times. With the more common dual-monitor setups now becoming more and more frequent, its relevance has become less, but I still use it frequently. The generous amount of macro keys also helps. And it looks great in the dark, too! 

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Pretty box is pretty, but it's what's inside that counts!



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