Type: Polydome switch
MRP: Rs 4245
Street Price: ~Rs 3310
Whenever I look at an expensive keyboard, the first thing I check for is if it uses high-quality mechanical switches, and not dome switches. Manufacturers do not choose the latter for their quality or ergonomics. In reality, cost-cutting is the sole driving force behind their ubiquity. It is pointless to pay big money for what is essentially a cheap keyboard with a few macro keys thrown in. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. The Razer Tarantula, for example, features variable resistance keys for different keyboard zones. It may not employ mechanical switches, but the keys still feel and perform significantly better than a regular keyboard. The Logitech G110 similarly adopts polydome switches, despite a sticker price of Rs 4,245. Can it pull a Tarantula and justify its steep price, or is it just a sheep in wolf's clothing? Well, there's only one way to find out.
The bundled software makes assigning macros easy.Macro Function
The G110 is backlit with red and blue LEDs, which can be dimmed and mixed in varying amounts to produce new hues. There's a button to toggle the lighting on and off as well. It features a full-sized layout, with 12 programmable G-keys
. These keys reside on the left hand side and can be programmed to include simple shortcuts, as well as full-fledged macros. Each key can be assigned three different macros, which are selected by using the [M1], [M2], and [M3] keys situated on top of the G-key cluster. A customisable colour can be assigned to each macro selection key, which then lights up the whole keyboard in that colour, so that you can keep track of the currently selected macro set.
The [MR] key makes small work of setting macros on the fly without trifling with the software. All you need to do is first press the [MR] key, then the desired G-key you want to assign the macro to, then execute the macro sequence, and finally confirm it with another press of the [MR] key.
If you prefer to use the bundled software, Logitech's Gaming Software
is simple to use and makes assigning macros a breeze. It scans the computer for installed games and automatically pre-populates the G-keys with macros from its sizeable database.
Although the G-keys come handy in RPG and RTS titles, their proximity to the column of modifier keys at the extreme left takes getting used to. For the first few days, I would invariably hit a G-key whenever I intended to press [CTRL].
The media keys - the best part of the keyboard.Media Keys
The cluster of media keys at the top right-hand corner feels spongy and vague, but makes life quite easy. These keys let you access the Play, Pause, Stop, Skip, and Mute functions across most media players. The chunky jog dial controls the volume, and is a pleasure to use, unlike unwieldy digital + \ - buttons. The Windows keys can be disabled by the means of a slider switch, which saves you the agony of staring at the desktop as your videogame persona is slaughtered in the background - all thanks to an inadvertent keystroke. The keyboard also includes an awkwardly placed USB 2.0 port and an integrated USB audio device that kicks in only when you plug something into the headphone or mic jacks. Both the headphone and mic leads have dedicated mute buttons.
The on-board USB audio device works well.Gaming
To put it bluntly, the G110 is no Tarantula. The dome switches used on the G110 seem lifted straight off an entry-level keyboard, so there's nothing much to speak about its gaming performance. I found the anti-ghosting safeguards kick in the moment I pressed the fourth simultaneous key. This shouldn't really be a problem for any control combination I can think of.
On the plus side, the extra G-keys are a godsend for RPG and RTS titles. Binding spells, utility belt shortcuts, group formations, and myriad macros to these keys will give you an edge in these genres. However, for any other genre, this is just a regular keyboard with fancy macro keys.
The wrist pad should have been softer.Conclusion
The G110 doesn't look expensive. At this price, I expected better quality materials, but the keyboard disappoints with its hard plastics. It's not as cheaply made as your average entry-level keyboard though. Even then, the quality doesn't compare to other gaming keyboards in the same price range. A detachable wristpad makes life easier, but Logitech should have added some padding to this large hunk of uncomfortable plastic.
While I'm not loathe to paying a premium for quality, that isn't the case with the G110. This polydome keyboard feels just like any old polydome keyboard. This sucks big time, because the average polydome keyboard doesn't cost four grand. Even the street price of around Rs 3500 doesn't sound appetising when you can get a mechanical gaming keyboard for a few hundred bucks more. The Razer Black Widow
(~Rs 3800) or the SteelSeries 6Gv2
are two better mechanical alternatives for a little more money, although the latter is quite hard to find.Performance:
2.5/5Design & Build Quality: