Plugging the Logitech G710+ in, immediately useful and welcome are the wonderfully tactile, rubberised volume wheel (that rolls freely rather than being notched) and the buttons for mute and multimedia playback control. The keys don't use mechanical switches but to have them do so would be a rather pointless extravagance to our minds, and they seem nicely responsive anyway.
Likewise the backlighting is excellent. Sure, it's only available in one colour but the evenness of illumination is very good and the individual control over the cursor keys is quite neat. That said, we didn't actually find it useful in anyway. Rather we simply found that we left the backlighting at an even, and fairly low, level for ease of use both during the day and at night.
Cursor and WASD keys at full brightness
Whole keyboard at full brightness
Whole keyboard at half brightness - our preferred setting
Also, it's a shame the backlighting doesn't do a very good job of illuminating the secondary functions of, in particular, the number keys. While most experienced keyboard users will know the rough whereabouts of secondary functions, it's useful to be able to check, and here the backlighting is minimal at best. In fact, even in good lighting, the dull grey colour for this writing is rather difficult to read.
Furthermore, the font used for both primary and secondary functions is not really to our liking. Logitech has gone for a sort of 'digital' look with all the characters squared-off where they would normally be rounded. Also, the labels for the primary functions are offset to the top and centre of the key – leading to further confusion for the secondary functions as they now sit below the primary function labels. It's not difficult to use per se but there is a short learning curve that is only there because of some styling choices, which seems rather silly to us.
Nonetheless, the typing experience is still excellent. Cherry MX Brown switches (4mm travel, 45g pressure, tactile) are used throughout and each has been dampened slightly with a rubber ring to reduce the rattling noise the switches normally make. The rubber rings are effective but can only do so much meaning that while quieter than most mechanical keyboards the G710+ is still markedly louder than a rubber membrane model. If you do want the full clicky audio hit, though, it's a simple enough process to pop off the keys and remove the rubber rings.
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When it comes to the overall feel of the key action, it is pretty much like every other MX Brown switch keyboard: it's responsive, accurate and just generally a pleasure to type on. That said, we do prefer the even lighter, none tactile feel of Cherry MX Red switches but, as mileage may vary here, we're not going to hold this against the G710+. The surface of the keys is a slightly rough plastic rather than any sort of soft touch finish. It provides a good purchase and shouldn't wear away as soft-touch finishes do, though after a couple of months use the keys are starting to develop a slight shine.
While the backlighting and basic key functions will all work straight out of the box, a driver install is required for the multimedia keys and macro functions, and sadly Mac and Linux users aren't catered for here.
Otherwise, though, the software is reasonably unobtrusive and easy to use when it comes to setting up macros. The software will automatically search for known games and add profiles for you, or you can add the game manually by searching for the executable.
Click to enlarge
Commands are assigned to the six G buttons down the left via a simple drag and drop action, and each game can be assigned different commands. There's also a choice of three memory banks allowing for three different sets of six actions, in the default mode, or three sets of six actions per game when used in game profile mode.
To record a macro, simply select the memory bank and G button you'd like to assign the macro to then tap the MR button and perform your key sequence; when done tap MR again. All told, the software isn't the most powerful macro tool we've ever seen but it allows for quick and easy control of this keyboard's main features.
One point to note about the macro keys is that for many weeks – and still – we kept accidentally anchoring our little finger on the G buttons rather than the left Ctrl when returning to the keyboard. It has become less frequent but the habit of simply bringing your hand to the left corner to start typing is still causing it to happen every now and again.
The Logitech G710+ isn't perfect. Its odd styling is an immediate turn off, its USB pass-through is next to useless and here and there other alternatives have it beat for features, such as the Corsair K90 with its oodles of macro keys or the Roccat Isku FX
with its RGB backlighting. However, overall it provides a pretty good balance of features, a great typing experience (ergonomic considerations notwithstanding) and, at £129, it's pretty much on the money in terms of pricing.