Logitech G11 Keyboard Review by Jonathan Trevisani

by Jonathan Trevisani

During the course of a day, the keyboard for a personal computer goes through some of the most transformations in order to satisfy a user's needs. Whether it is for word processing, calculating, editing or full-blown fragging; the keyboard needs to be flexible enough to cope with such extreme transitions. The Logitech G11 proves that it is not only capable of providing users with their general computing needs, it can also take things to the next level with customization options and a sleek design.

The G11 has the dark aluminum look to it that makes it look sleek and powerful. The plastic is smooth to the touch, yet sturdy enough for transportation to daily LAN parties. Black keys on a silver and black board adorn this heavy-hitter of a keyboard as it looks good without even hooking it up. If this weren't enough, the real draw for the G11 is the blue illumination for each and every key on the board. The blue lighting gives off a unique style that the keyboard is in a level all its own and can give users that extra edge when they are feeling around in the dark.

There are two brightness levels for the backlit keys that can be changed with the push of a button. The difference between the low and high brightness levels is negligible, but still offers an added bit of customization for users. There is also an 'off' option for the backlighting, but if that is the option you are looking for then this isn't the keyboard you should be looking at. Of course, if you use the keyboard in multiple environments, then the three options can become pretty handy.

The keys themselves have a smooth feel to them and are stealth-equipped so the sound of keys clicking is muffled. The smooth texture of the keys allows your fingers to float across keystrokes and rest easily between uses. A negative aspect of the texture appears to be smudge marks that are left by oily fingertips. The dark color of the keys does not help this situation since the marks are more noticeable. This seems like more of a side effect for the great feel of the keys, but interrupts the sleek look of the keyboard.

The G11 is larger than the standard keyboard by several inches due to the programmable 'G' keys allocation and the added functionality controls. This might take up some valuable desk space, but the additional functionality is a fair trade off to the lost real estate. The 18 'G' keys are set along the left side of the keyboard in groups of 6; each of these keys can be programmed for specific actions or macros for programs, including games. The software includes specific program profiles that take effect during different games and programs. There are also 3 profile modes that allow for yet more functions to be added to the 'G' keys. The fact that there are 18 of these keys seems to be more than enough, but on the chance that users need more than that, the option is available.

The other unique keys for the G11 include a Game Switch that disables the Windows button while playing a game. This way you will no longer be thrown back to the desktop by the accidental press of the key. There is also the media control panel in the top center of the keyboard along with the mute and illumination keys. The media controls work in line with several different media players and is simple enough to operate. The keys are set out of the way from normal keyboard actions that they will not be accidentally triggered at the wrong moment.

Another unique feature of the G11 is the two USB ports at the back of the keyboard to plug in components such as headsets and mice. This also goes along with the LAN party example as users don't have to plug their equipment into the back of their PC and run wires through desks and around corners just to dive back into the mess of wires at the end of the LAN party. Unfortunately, the USB ports are 1.1 as opposed to the new, faster 2.0 versions. Faster components would be wasted if they were hooked into those ports. There are also cable-routing channels underneath the keyboard to hide the unsightly mouse and headset cords on an otherwise pristine desktop set up. The channels are a bit small, so the thickest cords and cables might not properly fit under the keyboard.

Overall, the Logitech G11 Keyboard is an excellent example of a gaming keyboard with a multitude of options and functions. The illuminated keys and the programmable 'G' keys give the G11 some great features that can assist gamers. Aside from the large design and a few short-sighted additions, the keyboard is definitely a step in the right direction to find a great gaming keyboard. At $69.99, it is fairly expensive, but offers gamers several unique options. For a stylized look and improved functionality, the G11 would a good addition to any gaming setup.

Total score: 4 out of 5.

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