They say that only bad workmen blame their tools, but that’s a sentiment that doesn’t really carry over to the world of PC gaming where having the right peripherals can make all the difference. Not in the “if you own this keyboard you can be a pro gamer” kind of way perhaps, but definitely in the “this keyboard is comfortable and easier to use” way. If you’ve got a keyboard that you’re at ease with then it stands to reason that you can play better with it.
With that in mind, fans of Logitech’s older G-series keyboards such as the G15 and G11 will be pleased to know that the general feel and ergonomics of the newest G-series keyboard is essentially unchanged. The G19 differs from older models in a number of ways, but the sturdy keys and QWERTY spacings haven't changed at all, so anyone upgrading from a G15 to the G19 won’t have to adjust in any way.
The Logitech G19
Well, that’s true for the standard alphanumeric keys anyway. The extra keys – the G-keys, the media controls, the volume controls and so on – have all been quite heavily altered from previous designs, so there might still be a small learning curve for upgraders. Still, in terms of comfort and design the G19 is a joy to use, with each key having a good amount of resistance and feedback when you hit them – ker-thunk!
Interestingly, not all of the extra functions have been expanded for the G19 as you might expect though. While the new LCD screen certainly has been improved (and we’ll get to that in a minute), some features have been trimmed down. There used to be 18 programmable G-keys for you to assign macros, shortcuts and commands to on the G15 and G11 models, but now there are only 12.
What used to be three columns of buttons organised into three blocks is now only two columns and, while that’s not going to be a problem to the everyday user or FPS gamer, hardcore MMORPG players may find something to complain about here. To regular MMOers macros are a great way to save time and effort when grinding, so scaling down the number that you can set up on a keyboard may be reason enough to stay with an older keyboard.
The Logitech G19 LCD screen on maximum brightness
Thankfully though, the G19 still retains the profile function of the older G-series keyboards and you can cycle between different macro settings using the three M1, M2 and M3 buttons at the top – so 12 G-keys really equates to 36 G-keys. That’s without even considering the fact that you can set up different profiles for different games too and the G19 can still detect when you launch a specific game and will enable the profile for you automatically.
The question is whether or not there is anything in particular worth boasting about here? Game-detection and automatically loading game profiles is all well and good, but the earlier and significantly cheaper G-series keyboards could do that all too. In fact, close inspection reveals that the G19 actually uses the same software as the G15 – so, there really is nothing new in terms of how customisable the keyboard is. Same profile system, same drivers, but less keys.
The media keys have changed a bit at least, with the buttons now being a lot smaller, but chunkier than those on the G15 which sat flush with the board shell. The controls have been relocated too, shifted over above the numpad instead of beneath the LCD – probably because the LCD has changed drastically too.
The volume control in particular is worth pointing out as it’s now a fancy, small scroll wheel. While it looks very swish with its rubberised grip and all, we actually weren’t big fans of it when we had to put it to use. Not only did it wobble noticeable in the body of the keyboard, but we found it also a little insensitive, with multiple spins needed to really alter the volume.