Earlier this year, Logitech relaunched its G-series gaming brand, from which we’ve already reviewed the G100s, G700s, and G230. In continuation on the G-series, we received the G19s keyboard for review. Having replaced the previous G19 model, launched back in 2009, what improvements have Logitech brought to the table?
Immediately when unboxing you notice the assortment of additional keys compared to the standard keyboard. The inclusion of the G-keys, adjustable colour LCD panel, M-keys, and volume wheel are all quite noticeable. The blue-themed styling adds a sense of anticipation that the keyboard will unlock a whole new level of gaming. The 12 programmable G-keys are surrounded by white ascents, although there isn’t any real need to distinguish the difference of the keys to the norm. On the top, the M-keys, or memory recall buttons, are able to swap between three customised profiles for different gaming uses.
To the right of the M-keys you find the Game Mode switch, which basically disable a few keys not used in games, such as the Windows and Caps Lock keys. Users can also change the colour scheme of the backlighting and assign to each of the two modes, making it easier to distinguish between normal and game mode. On the rear of the G19s, there are two USB 2.0 ports, which are fully functional. This means that users can easily plug in their mouse, powered headset, or basic flash drive without having to reach to the PC.
As with the G19, the G19s has a fully functional GamePanel LCD. The panel pivots on an aluminium bar, which runs across the back. There are two means of using the keyboard. The standard, plug-and-play option, which assumes the role of a basic gaming keyboard. The second options requires that the keyboard be plugged into an external power source, which then activates the functionality of the LCD screen. After booting up (when switched on), and using the downloadable Logitech software, the LCD screen becomes something of a second screen, capable of playing movie clips from any directory on your PC. Although not many games are supported, the LCD provides real-time game stats and information, VoIP data, video playback and image slideshows. To control the menus on the display, you have to make use of the D-pad on the left of the screen.
The default apps include the clock, timers, stopwatch, and performance monitors. In addition, there are a few community-developed applets to install, as well as the possibility of creating your own applets.
The most notable differences between the G19 and G19s are a few minor external improvements, namely the manufacturing materials and colour scheme. Other, less notable differences lie in the text on each of the keys, and slight hardware upgrades. Improvements in performance are dependent on the Logitech software. The unfortunate aspect of the G19s is its limited support for games, of which only two of the games I own are included on the supported list.
At a RRP of R2,449.00, I would have expected much more in the way of game support for the LCD panel, which is the main selling point of the G19s. Another missing feature I would have liked to see is a set of mechanical keys, and not the membrane-based keys, which don’t have the same precision feel. As with the G19, the G19s is a more than decent gaming keyboard with enough to offer for potential buyers.