Mechanical keyboards are what gamers clamor for, and with all the choices out there many shouldn’t go wanting. Companies have seen the writing on the wall and are gradually stepping up their productive typing game. Logitech in particular brings us another contender with the G810 Orion Spectrum RGB Gaming Keyboard. A straightforward looker that offers a personalized gaming experience, but pairing it with the right equipment will complete the package.
As far as general appearances go, the G810 is remarkably plain and utilitarian; there’s no standalone macro keys (although assignable), oversized palm rests, or any other bits of flair to get in the way of function. Hell, if it wasn’t for the backlighting and thicker body the G810 would pass as a run-of-the-mill keyboard, that weighs 2.6-pounds, with equally regular dimensions all around. Just imagine the most rectangular office keyboard you can and you have the general look of the G810.
But, there are some media buttons, volume roller dial, and a very useful “Game/Windows” key which turns off the Start menu access for more concentrated gamers. That simple (but effective) top button alone gets my “godsend seal of approval”, which is something that every gaming keyboard should have.
Upon hooking it up though, the LED backlighting tells you that it’s more than a run-of-the-mill keyboard. Every key and that prominent “G” is brightly lit and displayed in a rainbow arrangement by default, but doesn’t provide color customization by default. Yes, in order to keep everything integrated downloading the aptly-named “Logitech Gaming Software” in order enable it and manually program macro keys. Synchronization with other Logitech G products is also possible, and worked great with their superb G900 Chaos Spectrum Gaming Mouse.
Now, this is going to be the part of the review where disputes will flare because although the G810 is a mechanical keyboard, it does not utilize Cherry MX switches. Logitech has created their own proprietary switches called the “Romer-G” which are designed using seven different parts. When deconstructed, the actual switch is spring-loaded that has dual contacts for actuation, and a soft landing pad to reduce bottoming out. An immediate tradeoff is shorter travel and quicker response at 45 grams. Logitech is claiming a 25 percent speed increase and 70 million effective lifetime presses.
Even the lighting arrangement is improved compared to the Cherry MX, as the key stem goes around the spring instead of being inside, directing the LED on the PCB up into the keycap. This change allows the entire top to be bright and eliminate light bleed from the keys underside. These are noteworthy alterations because the Romer-G switches were made to fix some of the Cherry MX debatable weaknesses: believe it or not, Cherry didn’t originally intended their components being used for the gaming arena, and since they’ve been around in office keyboards since the 1980’s they are relatively archaic in design.
You can argue among yourselves if those are valid reasons, but the G810 does feel different than your traditional mechanical setup. They feel a little rubbery when you press down but maintains that desired mechanical clicking sounds on a somewhat subdued level, with one person even likening it to the cheaper Cherry MX Brown switch. A fair comparison that the G810 will get initially but doesn’t make this keyboard any less satisfying to use, with eyes wide open.
Yes, typing veterans will probably take some getting used to for a couple of days, but the G810 is very comfortable to live with as the mechanical switches and shortened travel have quicker feedback overall. When you are settled in it does feels solid, familiar, and the inevitable hand fatigue takes a couple more hours than usual to set in when playing Battlefield: Hardline or Call of Duty: Black Ops III. General typing is also a step up versus cheap membrane-types, and you’ll appreciate how much faster the key input actually is.
If there’s one major criticism people will give the G810 Orion Spectrum RGB Gaming Keyboard is that replacing those switches with universal types is not an option, and that will turn off some who are unwilling to give the Romer-G design a fair chance. But I think Logitech may be onto something here as discriminating gamers are rightfully demanding more from their setups, a nicely packaged option that’s neat and smart. Even more so with the right software involved.