Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard review
The keyboard may be great for productivity, but there’s no doubt that it’s lacking a certain something when it comes to playing games. With many modern titles demanding dozens of hotkeys as well as the usual ‘mouse and WASD’ arrangement, learning hotkeys and macros for individual titles can be a nightmare.
Logitech’s G13 Advanced Gameboard looks to solve this problem: instead of having hotkeys scattered all over the keyboard, this collects twenty-two programmable keys together onto one ergonomically-designed pad that sits beneath your left hand.
Each key is fully programmable and can be assigned to specific tasks or your own customised macros. Links to applications, paragraphs of text or scripts can also be assigned to individual keys, and the action is comfortable, light and positive – just as good as on any full-sized keyboard.
As well as this, the G13 has a small joystick which can be used instead of WASD for moving around, and a row of buttons that can be used for selecting different profiles, allowing for three sets of customisable hotkeys to be loaded at once.
Above the main panel of buttons is a small LCD screen that comes with numerous functions: as well as a clock, timer and PC performance monitor, there’s a less useful email monitor and RSS news reader – click on a story as it appears on the G13 and your browser will launch and load the story. It seems a bit pointless to use, though; who’s going to be using the G13 outside of a game when you need your keyboard to be at its most traditional?
In-game, though, the LCD proved more useful. The G13 supports Logitech’s GamePanel, which provides statistics and information as you play. At present it’s only supported by just over 60 titles, and while this includes some big names – World of Warcraft, Age of Conan and Crysis, among others – it’s by no means ubiquitous. In supported games, though, it’ll display information about your character – so traits, skills and statistics in World of Warcraft, and ammunition levels in Crysis.
Other minor issues arose as we tested the G13. The three buttons for switching between game profiles are slightly too far from the main bulk of the pad to be comfortable, and we found them difficult to reach amid frantic action. The versatility of the G13 could also be its downfall, too – the fixed layout means that there’s no room for genre-specific key positioning as in some other devices, such as weapon slots for MMORPG games or specific action commands for FPS titles.
These, though, are minor points in the face of a comfortable, versatile and well-designed product. It may only appeal to a niche audience, but if you constantly find yourself struggling to remember every hotkey that’s been scattered around your keyboard, the G13 could prove a godsend.