Thursday, February 26, 2015

Logitech G15 keyboard finally replaced


Couple of days ago, my Logitech G15 keyboard finally retired from the computer desk to the closet, because it stopped functioning due to a water spill or some other unexplainable cause. So it was time for me to buy a new keyboard. Fun times?


I guess you know what keyboard I bought but now. The Logitech G910 is an amazing keyboard, with a hefty price tag. With the amazing Logitech (sorry, Logicool) support here in Japan, this is the obvious choice when spending that much money on a keyboard. I guess you better read a review here because I'm not going to review it as I did NOT buy the G910. Sad scene!

You’d be surprised by my final decision. Read on.

If you had been reading my blog, you would have thought that this was the perfect chance for me to switch to a mechanical keyboard. After giving it comprehensive thought, I gave up that idea. The biggest reason for not getting a mechanical keyboard was the noise that their key switches made. The noise would wake up others in my small apartment and I won't be able to play games if that happens. Yes, I play games when everyone is sound asleep, and that's the early morning. What good is getting a keyboard optimized for gaming if I can't play games at all?

What I primarily looked at when buying the keyboard was the key layout. I didn't want a gaming keyboard with a lot of macro keys. I never used macros with my G15. They are used predominantly by people who play RTS games and I hate RTS. I'm an FPS gamer. Even if I could found a way to use the 6 G-keys on the left edge of the G15, the keyboard didn't have onboard storage which meant I had to have LGS installed for them to work. From my experience, LGS adds input lag, so few months ago I decided to get rid of it. This also made the LCD to become inoperative, so I had been using the G15 really like a normal keyboard. There aren't many keyboards available with an LCD screen, and even if they did, they would require a software like LGS to function, thus adding unnecessary latencies. Macro keys on the other hand would be fine as there are keyboards which have onboard memory to store custom profiles. (You need the software for the initial setup but you can uninstall it later on.)

The layout was important because I wanted a long Spacebar and an L shaped proper Enter key. Most of the keyboards sold in Japan have the Japanese layout which adds extra 3 buttons around the Spacebar, making it shorter and harder to press. Furthermore, most keyboards nowadays, regardless of the key layout, have an almost square shaped Enter key and I miss-hit the Enter key more often than not with such keyboards. The G15 didn't have both of these issues, so I didn't want the new keyboard to be any different in that regard.

I initially thought of getting one that had a PS/2 port because then there won't be any conflicts between the mouse and the keyboard, but finally decided against it because I would not be able to plug it to the tablet or the MBA in case I wanted to troubleshoot something. There are of course keyboards that support both ports but they are expensive and I didn't want to pay that much for just the PS/2 port. The layout was more important anyways and there weren't many keyboards that satisfied the layout requirement, while asking a reasonable premium for the PS/2 connectivity.

Once I fixed the layout requirements, then came the price. Since I wasn't going for a mechanical keyboard - at least not while I'm in Japan unfortunately - and I wouldn't really need the macro keys, there wasn't any special feature that was worth paying for. And most probably I would leave this keyboard behind when I leave Japan, the day of which is getting closer and closer because the baby is growing. He will not go to kindergarten in Japan. I have no plan to teach him Japanese, as that would only make as split apart as we won't know how to communicate with him - especially my wife - if he started talking in Japanese. So, I will most probably come back to Sri Lanka within a couple of years. After that we will have more space and I can switch to a mechanical keyboard, which might be bought from here when I return.

So, a cheap, USB connectible keyboard with membrane keys, having a long Spacebar and a proper Enter key, that can also be thrown away with no regrets was my final criteria. Disappointed? I'm sure you are.

Still with me?

Yes, I managed to find one such keyboard. Curious about what I bought?

Here it is. (Click on the pic for a clearer image and this link for the actual product listing on Amazon)

New Keyboard

Seriously, don’t hate me now. I’ll probably take a look at eBay listing for the G15 control circuit to see if I can revive it. Until then, this will do.

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