Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard

Aron Schatz
October 15, 2009
Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard
The G19 gaming keyboard from Logitech was hoping to be the best $200 you could ever spend on a keyboard. While it might pack extra features in, it lacks in the one area where it matters; typing ability.

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The G15 keyboard was released over three years ago and ushered in the new wave of gaming specific devices other than limiting it to the mouse or game controller. »The G15 was the first keyboard to be built that featured a LCD screen and had features dedicated to helping users while they were gaming. The Logitech G19 hopes to supplant the older G15 by updating all its features into a new and shinier package. Logitech generally makes worth-while improvements to their new devices, but the G19 has some glaring flaws.



Logitech's green packaging returns for another trip around the retail store shelves. The G series boxes usually contain more black than other Logitech lines since black implies gaming (we assume?). Opening the box was a simple task as it is with all Logitech products. No horrible zip ties or blister packaging.



Logitech includes an AC adapter and a wrist rest (plastic) along with the software with the G19. The AC adapter is not friendly to power strips and could take up a few outlets due to the width and length. It is pretty surprising to find that the keyboard requires an AC adapter, but it makes sense when you take into account that the USB hub built into the keyboard is powered and the keyboard runs Linux.



The obvious draw to this keyboard would be the new 320x240 resolution color LCD screen. That area takes up pretty much the entire top of the keyboard. Thankfully, the G19 is smaller than the »older G15 (first revision, by a few inches). One of the major concerns of the first version of the G15 was the size of the keyboard. The keyboard was so large that it didn't fit properly on many desks or keyboard racks. Logitech followed up with the second revision of the G15 which solved most of those issues.


12 programmable G keys make their way onto this keyboard. Each G key can have three different settings for a total of 36 extra functionality keys. These keys can be set for a number of different things such as macros or starting programs. Games can use these keys for combinations or other repetitive tasks. Want to arm your laser canon and fire two missile at the same time? No problem with the programmability of the G keys. An application runs in the background on the computer to handle the task of the G keys themselves. Without it, the G keys act like regular keyboard keys (for instance, G1 would be F1).

The keypad area looks like it went back to the more consumer oriented style of keys. The pitch of the keys are fine and the layout is standard fair for PCs. One thing about gaming keyboards, the keyboard pretty much requires a wrist pad since it is placed higher than a normal (cheap) keyboard. Do your wrists a favor an invest in a good wrist rest.


The arrow and number pad area are standard fair and it is good to see that Logitech didn't change the layout of the INS/DEL/HOME area. Their consumer model of keyboard had a habit of stripping out some keys that were seldom used by a few games that are classic use those keys. The media keys on the top right of the keyboard are standard generic media keys that work in everything and the mute and volume control wheel work the same as well. The wheel is a bit different and it saves a bit of space rather than going with a jog type of wheel.


At the top of the keyboard is the large color LCD along with the status indicator lights on the right. To the left of the indicator lights is the backlighting switch. Unlike the G15, the G19 only comes with two modes; ON and OFF. The nice thing about the G19 is that the backlighting color is user selectable so if you are partial to a certain color backlighted key, you can select that color.

To the left of the LCD contain the controls for it. These controls allow you to interact with the programs that run on the LCD screen and allow you to navigate menus and other functionality. You could watch Youtube videos on the keyboard if you wanted to... The last key on the left is the "turn off Windows keys" switch. It is a gaming slider that allows you to enter a "gaming mode" to disable keys that would not be good to press in the middle of a fire fight.


The keyboard is still a big piece of technology so make sure you have the desk space to use something with the girth of a G19 if you wanted to purchase it.
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Testing and Use

While Logitech's products are usually standard fair to receive high praise on ASE Labs, the G19 is a bit different. There are some flaws that make this keyboard less attractive than the G15 model. Witness the video review portion to see the Editor-in-Chief at it again.

Let's start with the good. The LCD is big and bright and all G15 programs will work on the G19. It would be pretty bad if all the older apps suddenly failed to function with a similar keyboard. The G19 applications include one for the LCD and one for the keyboard portion. The ability to select a backlight color is a major step forward and since you have three profiles available, you can use a separate color for each profile. Most people will stick with a single color (red being the favorite here).

redbg.jpg youtube.jpg

Applications for the LCD range from the useful (the system monitor, clock, etc) to the pretty useless (Youtube app? Why??). The above two shots show different backlighting colors and the one of the right shows the keyboard playing a Youtube video. Yes, this keyboard can play Youtube videos. What you need to-do is install the Flash player in IE even if you have it in Firefox or it won't work. Then you can copy a Youtube video link and it will play on the keyboard LCD screen. Why is this useful? The question remains unanswered here. Thankfully Logitech updated the system monitor and clock for color use and those are fairly useful apps to have on.

The keyboard does not work in Linux (Ubuntu) aside from the generic keyboard functionality. You are stuck with white backlit keys and the standard Logitech logo stuck on the LCD. While this isn't terrible, it would have been nice to see Logitech support the operating system that makes this keyboard special. Release a SDK for Linux!

Aside from that, there is another issue with the keyboard that is unacceptable. The keyboard itself feels worse than the G15 keyboard that this is supposed to supplant. The keys feel mushy and the spacebar is the worst. If you push the center of the spacebar, it glides down pretty smoothly, but if you hit the edges of it, it doesn't glide down in place easily. For a typist that rarely hits the center of the spacebar, this is extremely annoying. Just the fact that the keyboard seems to be slowing down typing is just another flaw. The G15 felt solid while typing. The G19 feels more awkward and less responsive.


As with all keyboards, your result may be different than ours. You need to feel any keyboard you might consider purchasing. In our view, the keyboard isn't worth the »$200 asking price when Logitech itself makes a »perfectly good »gaming keyboard at a lower price. Even though the keyboard packs a slew of new features, the major point of the keyboard (being able to type easily) takes a backseat to that and it is unacceptable. We at ASE Labs generally like Logitech products, but the G19 is not recommended. Stick with the G15 if you want a really nice gaming keyboard.

That being said, if you feel you NEED to have the ability to watch Youtube videos on your keyboard, this is pretty much the only way you're going to do it. Is it worth dropping $200 for the ability? That's up to you.

ASE Labs would like to thank Logitech for making this review possible.


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