After reading this gaming peripherals round-up you'd be forgiven for thinking that the designing companies have the black and white vision common to dogs. Laid bare before you are three steering wheels, two keyboards, a flight stick, a pair of head phones and a set of rudder pedals. Do not adjust your monitor, no we didn't turn on a black and white filter, they really are all coloured on the grey scale.
It's obvious what the games designers think we gamers want - black, white and grey keyboards and the such. They're wrong. What we want is quality gaming peripherals that make our lives more enjoyable and fulfilled. Today I shall see if any of the below have succeeded...
Logitech G15 Keyboard
Making an impressive keyboard is no easy feat. I mean, what can you actually do with a keyboard? Fill it with letters, a few numbers, a few other miscellaneous keys and you're seriously running out of options - put anything more on there and it kind of stops being a keyboard and starts being something else.
With the G15, Logitech has set out to create a super keyboard. Not only have they got all the traditional buttons (they have included the whole alphabet) but they've also stuck on a whole other load of keys and features. To the left there's a set of 18 keys designed to be assigned for gaming features, at the top there is an LCD screen that can be customised to display important information (more on that later) as well as two USB ports and a whole bunch of other buttons. Who said keyboards had to be boring?
The keyboard looks quite cool, emanating a blue light from beneath each key. It feels nice in the hands, though due to its size, may take some getting used to. I found myself constantly hitting the bottom left gaming key as my fingers instinctively searched for 'ctrl'. One feature that is really cool for gamers on a slower machine is the ability to switch off the windows key. At LAN tournaments I've seen gamers who remove unnecessary keys so it's great to see Logitech responding with a function like this. No more will you crash out of a game by accidentally touching a key!
The keyboard's money-shot is the set of keys that you can easily programme to perform functions in games. The keyboard comes with easy to use software for setting up your macros, so that in games like Counter-Strike you can press one button and buy all the weapons. It's a great utility, but be warned. In one very popular MMORPG (I shouldn't have to tell you which one) one player was banned for the use of macros on this very keyboard.
Not satisfied with already being distinguished from all the other keyboards the G15 has a little LCD screen right in the middle. This can tell you lots of useful information like the time and the amount of load on your processor. It can also be set up to give you information in certain games, like the number of rounds you have left. As cool as this sounds it's not actually that useful - why take your eyes from the screen to look at your keyboard when you can just find the information on the screen anyway? Oh well, it still looks cool.
Underneath the little LED are a few buttons which include buttons to change the volume and turning the colour on and off on the keyboard. Logitech don't appear to have missed any obvious essential feature here.
The keyboard is one for the real gaming enthusiast as it doesn't come cheap, costing around £52 from Overclockers. Whether you decide this keyboard is for you will depend on whether you're someone who would find a use for assigning the extra buttons. Casual PC gamers can probably look away, those who are more hardcore, start salivating now.
For many this keyboard might represent overkill, but for those who are willing to pay a little bit extra to get a more functional piece of kit this represents good value. Don't go for it unless you know you will use the added features. Most people will buy this and then two weeks later realise that they have absolutely no use for what it can produce. If you know that you will use the extra keys - then get this now!