Logitech G915 Lightspeed Gaming Keyboard review: "Impossibly thin"
Logitech G915 Lightspeed Gaming Keyboard review: "Impossibly thin"
So, so slim
Everyone whom I showed the Logitech G915 gaming keyboard to has marvelled at how thin, and really just how good, it looks. Logitech calls it "impossibly thin", but that's only a slight exaggeration. The praise is well-deserved, and the G915 is probably one of the sleekest and best-looking mechanical gaming keyboards around.
It's crazy thin for a fully mechanical board, and it sports an attractive blue-gray brushed aluminum top over a surprisingly solid plastic chassis. Plenty of convenient shortcuts abound as well, and there are dedicated macro, profile, and media keys, in addition to buttons for toggling Game Mode, adjusting the brightness of the LEDs, and even turning on Bluetooth or the 2.4GHz wireless connection. To cap things off, there's a volume scroll wheel on the right, so you have pretty much everything you need at your fingertips.
That said, low-profile mechanical switches aren't exactly new, nor is the floating key design. Keyboards like the Hexgears X-1, Keychron K1, and Vinpok Taptek have been around for a while now. But what's less common is their implementation in a gaming keyboard in combination with low-profile keycaps. The G915 will go up against keyboards like the Corsair K70 RGB Mk.2 Low Profile, the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo, and the Cooler Master SK630, but it's actually the thinnest of them all at a mere 22mm tall.
It's also wireless, which means it really checks most of the right boxes for a clean and uncluttered setup. If you're wondering why the keyboard is labelled as the G913 in the pictures, that's just because the model name differs from region to region. It will retail as the G915 in Singapore.
Logitech's new GL Tactile switches sit at the heart of the G915. These are low-profile switches manufactured by Kailh, and they look like they might actually be modified versions of Kailh's own Choc Brown switches. Kailh also offers its low-profile switches in Choc White and Choc Red variants, the colors of which correspond to Logitech's other GL switch options, the GL Clicky and Linear.
Unfortunately, they also don't use Cherry MX-compatible stems, so you're not going to have many options in terms of third-party keycaps here.
The GL Tactile switches in my review unit have a 1.5mm actuation distance and a total travel distance of 2.7mm. That compares to 2mm and 4mm respectively on most Cherry MX switches, and the difference is pretty obvious. The GL Tactiles don't feel quite as satisfying to press, nor do they offer a "discernible bump", as Logitech describes it. I'm not saying that they feel like linear switches – they really don't – but you should adjust your expectations accordingly and not go in expecting to feel a super rounded tactile bump. The bump is there, but I'd describe it more as a vague feeling of resistance near the top of the key travel that might even escape your notice if you're typing quickly.
The switches did start to grow on me after a while, and I definitely prefer them to Logitech's Romer-G switches. I started off thinking that I'd find them mushy, but I'm happy to say that typing on them actually feels pretty good after you've given yourself some time to acclimatise. With a tactile point of 60g and an actuation force of 50g, the GL Tactiles definitely feel heavier than something like Cherry MX Reds, although how you feel about that is very much a matter of personal preference.
The uniform height of all the keys did take some getting used to, and I made a lot of typos at first, but I was able to settle into the rhythm of typing on the G915 pretty quickly. I still think it's more ergonomic and comfortable to type on sculpted keycaps with varying heights for each row, but a low-profile design does have its perks.
If I were to nitpick, I'd say that I'd liked to have lesser key wobble, but that's a pretty small detail that probably won't bother most folks.
The other big feature on the G915 is its support for Logitech's Lightspeed wireless technology. My past experience with Lightspeed has been nothing short of stellar, and the G Pro Wireless mouse, which uses the same technology, is one of the best gaming mice we've reviewed.
Long story short, wireless performance is indistinguishable from wired mode, and I ran into no problems at all despite being in a crowded office environment with a million networks and devices crowding the airwaves. There's also support for Bluetooth, which is useful if you want to use the keyboard to connect to two devices at once. You can easily toggle between both systems using the built-in Bluetooth and Lightspeed buttons, so that's pretty convenient.
Battery life is decent as well. I haven't had time to completely drain the battery yet, but I'm only down to 87 percent after a full 8-hour work day, and that's with the LEDs set to maximum brightness and the colour wave preset. The G Hub software tells me I still have around 95 hours of use left on it, which sounds like more hours than I want to be working in the coming week.
G Hub offers a helpful estimation of power consumption figures and the number of hours left, and I should point out that some effects apparently consume markedly more power than others. For example, the color wave effect I used supposedly consumes just 12mA, but change this to color cycle and the figure rockets to 41mA and battery life plummets to just 34 hours.
However, you might notice certain inconsistencies. For example, setting the keyboard to display a single static color also causes it to consume 41mA, the same as switching to colour cycle and far more than the dynamic colour wave effect. Why's that? It doesn't really add up. If you turn off all the lights though, G Hub says you should get over 1,100 hours on a full charge.
It doesn't seem like you have to worry about forgetting to turn the keyboard off either. It goes to sleep automatically, and the battery level didn't even drop after I left it in this state overnight.
The G915 charges over a braided micro-USB cable, and you can plug the included adapter into it in case you need to bring the dongle closer to the keyboard. I'm disappointed that Logitech still hasn't made the switch to USB-C though, especially on a keyboard that costs this much.
Buttons and lighting options galore
If there's one thing the G915 could use less of though, it's buttons. There's a dedicated row of five macro keys on the left, on top of the rubberised media buttons and profile shortcuts. There's even a button to activate Game Mode so you can disable the Windows keys in game. Most of these are pretty useful, but the G1 to G5 macro keys may only see situational use by a select group of gamers. They also add a good few centimeters to the length of what is already a very long keyboard, which may be a problem on a small desk. In fact, getting rid of the macro keys might also help shave a bit off the G915's exorbitant price.
Having said that, there's a dedicated macro record key above the function row. Together with the M1 to M3 profile keys, that's a total of 15 different macros you can have quick access to with just the push of a couple of buttons.
Elsewhere, the keyboard supports per-key RGB customisations, and you can even create your own custom lighting animations, which is pretty cool.
However, one of my biggest gripes is actually how G Hub handles your settings. For starters, it seems to draw an unnecessary distinction between Onboard Memory Mode and using G Hub to store your settings. At the moment, the two seem to be mutually exclusive. Every time I want to edit an onboard profile, I have to deactivate the Onboard Memory Mode to have access to all the configuration options. If I forget to switch back and close G Hub because I don't want to have it running in the background, my settings revert to default.
The Logitech G915 is a great wireless mechanical gaming keyboard, but its biggest problem is its extravagant S$399 price tag. At that price, I'd really have liked to see a full-metal build, a wrist rest, and maybe PBT keycaps thrown in. However, I should point out that most of the competition doesn't have all those features implemented either, and yet they continue to charge similarly high prices, so the G915 doesn't lose out too much in that respect.
That said, if wireless capabilities aren't a priority for you, you may be better off getting the G815, which is the wired version of the same keyboard and costs S$299.
I really like the G915, but I'm just not sure I would pay S$399 for it. While the Lightspeed technology and battery life are top-notch, it's still debatable as to whether they're worth that much money. Furthermore, the typing experience is good but not mind-blowing, so you'll have to ask yourself how much you really need a wireless board.
Nevertheless, if price is no object for you, I'd be hard-pressed to recommend a better wireless mechanical gaming keyboard than the G915. Here's to hoping Logitech eventually makes smaller and more affordable versions of this.