The Logitech G15 is my personal keyboard of choice, to the extent that every single day I contemplate if it's worth the effort of lugging it to work and back, just so that I don't have to cope with something else. Bear in mind that the other keyboards I use at work are either a Razer Tarantula or a Saitek Eclipse and you'll see how highly I rate the G15.
It's a keyboard that has everything; perfect resistance, media keys and macro support with up to 54 programmable buttons. Unfortunately, it's also got a fairly high price tag to go with it and usually costs around £50 / $62.
Still, after the announcement that Logitech had released a cheaper version of the uber-board, called the G11, things might start getting better in that department too. Let's take a look at this scaled-down beastie and see how it compares to the competition and if it can still dominate our desktops like its older brother did.
When the G11 landed on my desk, it immediately commanded my attention, making me drop what I was doing at the time so that I could set it up and test it out.
It doesn't take long to sort the G11 out as, despite all the fancy features and extra buttons, it's still just a keyboard. One USB cable plugged in and one set of custom macro-writing software later, and the keyboard is ready to roll. Technically, you only need to do the first half of that to get it working, but you'd be missing out on some decent macro goodness.
Left: The G15, below, compared to the G11, above. Right: Cable routing on the G11, click to enlarge.
With the keyboard set up the first thing we noticed is that the G11 isn't drastically different to the G15. It's got the same design, the same keys and the same backlighting. The only thing that's different in fact is that the G15's LCD screen is now missing.
For those not in the know, the G15 keyboard was one of our favourites not just because it had excellent design but also because it had an extra, ultra cool gimmick in the form of a fold up LCD screen. The screen could be programmed to do all sorts of things, like check your email, or display simple text-walkthroughs while you played a game. It is, admittedly, completely frivolous, but it's also pretty cool and handy to use on occasion.
It was also what made the G15 so expensive, so its absence on the G11 is obviously the major cost-cutting measure.
In terms of everything else the G11 is identical to the G15. The comparison photos show that the two keyboards are still the same massive size and that, although there's a slight colour difference on the key back panel, the keyboards are essentially the same.
Click to enlarge
As with the G15, the keys are of the decent non-laptop variety and feel well made, with very little wobble on an individual keys. The keys are a little noisy, but not so bad that you'd notice if you weren't listening for it. The extra bank of keys on the far left, labelled G1 – G18, are the macro keys and can be used in up to three saved configurations, which can be cycled using the M1 – M3 keys above.
The MR key on the upper left is the same as it was on the G15 too, allowing the user to program macros and assign them to a G key while still playing a game. It's a pretty neat feature which saves time and hassle, but without a LCD screen to give prompts the process is a little harder to get to grips with than it was on the G15.
Unlike the G15, the M buttons are no longer backlit in orange. In fact, they're no longer backlit at all.