Wireless keyboards and mechanical switches don’t go together. Or, at least, they haven’t before. There are plenty of sensible reasons for the divide between the two technologies, primary of which is the usual proximity between keyboard and PC. Why tack on the extra cost of a wireless interface when the average mech-user is more interested in a flashy, ostentatious, loud experience, one they’ll be having at their desk? Why add input lag when the key market for mechanical keyboards is gamers, a group that demands instantaneous response from its peripherals?
Need to know
Switch type: Logitech Romer-G
Form factor: Full size
Media keys: Yes
Macro keys: 6
N-key rollover: 10 keys
USB passthrough: No
Logitech has not put out this high-profile wireless release without a few answers to those questions, the first of which is to strip back the experience as far as possible. For many potential users, we expect the lack of modern conveniences will be a blissful relief from the gimmick-heavy keyboard market of 2017. There’s no battery-sucking RGB, or any lighting at all beyond the occasional connection LED and indicators for Caps Lock and the level of its AA batteries. There’s no pass-through of any kind, presumably because firing audio through it would likely ruin the wireless response time. There’s no harsh angles, unusually-molded keys, or chrome-plastic effigies to some alien god.
What is there is as functional as it is aesthetically mute. A black and gray color scheme with the merest hint of blue, a set of comfortably shaped and clearly labeled (though not double-shot) keys, and Romer-G keyswitches, a co-development between Logitech and Omron, with a high actuation bump, and a satisfying soft feel. Like other Romer-G devices, there’s a harmonic ring to the many springs inside the G613 that sings out if you hammer it hard, but otherwise we’re more than happy with the experience of typing on them. They’re not as tooth-looseningly loud as many switches you’ll find, but that’s probably for the best.
Outside the main components, there’s an integrated wrist rest, non-detachable, which deepens the G613’s footprint, and means it’s a joy to use on an outstretched lap. There’s a string of six macro keys on the left edge, of which only two are realistically reachable with the pinkie of a game-positioned hand, which limits their immediate usefulness somewhat. There’s a set of clicky media microswitches, and a row of connection options—a Windows key-blocking game mode toggle, and buttons to select between Bluetooth operation and Logitech’s LightSpeed interface.
About that, then. LightSpeed is some kind of proprietary wireless wizardry straight out of Logitech’s labs, and the thing that’s probably most remarkable about this keyboard. It drags down input lag to a claimed 1ms. We believe it, too: There’s not a shred of sluggishness about the G613, no dropped inputs, a great range. It drops to standby after a couple of minutes, yet wakes instantly on any keypress. On LightSpeed, it’s very easy to forget that you’re using a wireless keyboard at all.
This does bring us back to our original point, though. While its gray button- down staidness does have a certain retro-classic appeal, and Logitech has clearly taken a little inspiration from the enthusiast market in terms of the old- school key labels, we can’t help but feel that the wireless functionality means you lose a lot that a cable might otherwise make trivial. The addition of Bluetooth is a nice touch, particularly as it means you can hook the G613 to a second device and quickly switch to it, but it’s not enough to make this essential.
Judged by its merits alone, Logitech’s G613 is an excellent keyboard, and LightSpeed is a tremendous wireless technology, but we wouldn’t consider paying a full $150 for it if it were a wired model. If you absolutely must have mechanical action, and can only sit 10 feet away from your PC, at last you have a solution—but compromise on just one of those factors, and there are cheaper and more feature-rich keyboards out there that’ll serve you just as well.