Okay, I’ve now had both of these products in heavy use for several days. The experience has given me a bit more perspective on both products.
First off is the G7 mouse, which I’ve been using a bit longer than the keyboard. It’s not winning me over and I’m starting to wish the poor cradle design of the MX700 mouse, that this one replaced, didn’t prevent me from realistically going back to it as a solution.
I cannot get comfortable changing the battery every single day. In one gaming session over the holiday the mouse died right in the middle of combat and I had to change it for the second time that day. Not good. Not good at all. Then there’s the annoying lights. The mouse, when sitting still, looks just fine. However, once you move it, it becomes quickly annoying. First there’s a bright amber light letting you know what DPI setting you’re in. This happens EVERY time you move the mouse. Then, once you let up on the mouse for 2 seconds, the amber display changes to a green or red display to let you know what the battery level is. It’s bad enough that I have to change it all time but to have to be notified of it draining every 20 seconds is just too much.
The lack of a second thumb button is still disheartening but it’s not a deal-breaker. You also lose two buttons you had on the MX700-style that were above and below the scroll wheel. Now you have two buttons below the scroll wheel but they’re for changing the DPI resolution of the mouse on the fly (something I’ve yet to find a beneficial use for). I have also yet to find any way to get the tilt wheel buttons to operate at all in either Civ 4 or Call of Duty 2. Lastly, I just can’t shake the feeling that all this battery changing is going to come at a cost of durability over time—likely a short time at that.
The G15 keyboard is faring much better thankfully. Its keys are still dead compared to the Saitek Gamer’s Keyboard, which this replaced. However, the illuminated characters on each key have already proven useful. While I still haven’t figured out how to use the four buttons above the transport keys below the LCD display, the display itself has come in handy. I now am used to looking for the time and date right there on my keyboard. Also, much to my surprise, during a session where I left my e-mail program running in the background, while doing some web searching in Firefox, I noticed the LCD flashing at me. I looked down to see that the display had changed to show an animated envelope and the number “1” denoting that I’d just gotten an e-mail. Sure enough, I had. That was a nice touch and makes me wonder what else I just might trip over (though it sure would be nice to see all the features covered somewhere).
I also took the time to start setting up a profile for the 18 “G” keys that act as macro keys for various applications. When setting up a profile (for Civ 4) I was a bit surprised to find the program asking me for the name of the executable for the program I was creating these macros for. Could it be that, contrary to my initial concerns, Logitech did support on-the-fly profile changes? I finished the profile, saved it and then went into the game. Immediately the LCD display changed from the date/time default I have it set to and displayed “Profile Activated” above the words “Civilization 4” (which is exactly what I named the profile). Alright! I then tried it out and all the macros worked flawlessly. If you bounce between programs with different profiles the keyboard keeps right up with you changing the macro keys on every switch. I still have quite a bit of poking and pushing to do with the profile before I’m sure of its limitations but this was a good start.
The only new minor issue I tripped over is that the Escape key isn’t where I’m used to it being. It’s now slightly right of where it is on most keyboards halfway between the tilde (that’s the ~ character) and the 1 key instead of directly above the tilde key. I suspect Logitech moved it because otherwise it might get confused with the “G” macro keys as it’s the same size and shape and would end up sitting right next to the G3 key. As I said, however, this is quite a minor point and one I’m certain I’ll get over. If Logitech ever sees fit to produce a keyboard like this, but with more responsive keys, they might just have the latest and greatest keyboard since the legendary Northgate OmniKey Ultra keyboard series (which have long since gone extinct). Why a device that we spend so much time using gets so little attention with regard to better keys is a mystery to me. Yes, I know this is the era of $5 keyboards but I’m a gamer and I’m willing to pay a premium for real quality. Logitech is on the right path with this keyboard. I just hope they don’t think that they’ve reached the promised land with it just yet.