Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum RGB mechanical gaming keyboard

Introduction, Design & Features

Logitech has a snazzy new RGB mechanical keyboard that slots in right below its flagship G910 Orion Spark$149.99 at Amazon ($179.99), but above its tenkeyless G410 Atlas Spectrum$127.15 at Amazon ($129.99). The $159.99 G810 slides right into the middle of this RGB sandwich as a full-size keyboard with a number pad and dedicated media controls, along with RGB illumination. This competes quite well with the Corsair K70 RGB, which retails for $169.99, and the Razer BlackWidow Chroma RGB, which is also $169.99.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Litup)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Litup)

Compared to the midrange G410 Atlas Spectrum, the G810 has the same RGB lighting options, but it includes a number pad and dedicated media controls, including a slick volume wheel that we’ve seen before in similar form on Corsair keyboards, such as the K70 and Vengeance K95. The G810’s dedicated media buttons are also large and easy to press. The keyboard lacks the Logitech ARX software integration (for displaying game data and settings via your smartphone or tablet), but we suspect that some users—nay, most users—will not miss this feature.

You can also sync the lighting of the G810 to the lighting on RGB-capable Logitech mice and headsets, which both looks snazzy and (from the company’s perspective) gives customers a strong reason to opt for Logitech everything. We’re certainly not suggesting you do so, but if you start with the G810 and you like coordinated lighting, you just might be tempted to go down the glowing RGB road of other Spectrum-branded peripherals.

Design & Features

In comparison to the more-expensive G910 Orion Spark, the G810 lacks three primary features: a palm rest, dedicated macro keys, and the ARX software integration. Personally, we don’t often use macro keys, and we aren’t avid fans of the ARX software. (When gaming, our monitor screen usually gives us enough to focus on, without having to worry about more info from a mobile device.) So we weren’t overly concerned about the omission of these two ingredients.

But we do miss the palm rest and can’t help but be puzzled about why such a presumably low-cost feature (it can’t cost that much to mold some plastic or foam) would be reserved only for Logitech’s higher-end gaming keyboard. For what it’s worth, Logitech actually ships two palm rests with the G910 Orion Spark—one large, and one small. Apparently the company thinks general comfort is a high-end feature, but we strongly disagree.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Unplugged)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Unplugged)

If Logitech wants to offer a fancier palm rest (or even three) with its flagship clacker, that’s fine. But it should include some sort of wrist rest with all of its high-priced keyboards. We recognize that not everyone uses a palm rest, just like not everyone considers macro keys a must. A lot of what gets deemed essential comes down to personal preference. Still, we'd like a wrist rest that matches the size and motif of the keyboard, especially as you're paying a big premium here for a board that's designed to be looked at. An aftermarket pickup will probably not match.

We should note that you can tilt the keyboard at the back by flipping up two legs underneath it, and these legs can be locked at three different angles. So Logitech has made some concession to typing comfort here.

As far as the G810 itself is concerned, it uses Logitech’s patented "Romer-G" mechanical switches, which the company designed specifically for duty in its gaming keyboards. It’s a switch that isn’t noisy or “clicky” at all, but not as easy to press as more traditional Cherry MX Red switches, for example. The Romer-G switches do provide a tactile bump upon actuation, though.

The G810’s switches and keys look dramatically different from what you would find on a Corsair RGB keyboard, where the lighting appears beneath the keys as well as shining through the keycaps. With the Logitech switches, the light is at its brightest through the keycaps.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Keyboard Lit)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Keyboard Lit)

To our eyes, especially at night, this seems like a better approach, simply because you don’t get light pollution coming from beneath the keys, making it easier to see the individually lit key labels. Logitech claims the keys were built to withstand years of abuse, and they feature a matte surface texture that repels fingerprints, so your keyboard shouldn't look glossy or greasy. This all sounds good, but if you’re typing with greasy fingers, that gunk is going to go somewhere, whether that be on the keys or underneath them. We highly recommend napkins as an essential mealtime gaming accessory.

The dedicated media controls are interesting in that they are oversized and easy to stab at in the dark. They are illuminated like the other keys, which was a feature we found sorely lacking on the Logitech’s G410 Atlas Spectrum. The volume is controlled by a large roller that’s easy to spin up or down according to your aural preference. This style of volume control has been an appreciated feature of high-end Corsair keyboards for a long time, and we've missed it dearly on other keyboards, including the RGB Strafe from Corsair. So we’re happy to see Logitech jumping on the jog-wheel wagon here...

    Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Media Controls)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Media Controls)

In addition to large buttons for media controls, you also get buttons to mute sound and lighting, and a “gaming” key that disables the Windows key. All of these are easy to use and intelligently located.

As this is an RGB keyboard, there are approximately a zillion options for controlling the lighting, which we’ll get into in the next section. The keyboard also features a 26-key rollover. This is technically "low" compared to the Corsair K70 RGB, which advertises 104-key rollover. However, the notion that you might want to press more than 26 keys at once seems a bit ridiculous. Hyperactive polydactyl octopodes may want to consider the Corsair K70 RGB, but for those of us with 10 (or even 20) digits, the G810 Orion Spectrum will serve just fine.

Otherwise, the keyboard includes a two-year warranty, and features a nice braided USB cable. However, there’s no USB pass-through here (which puts a USB port on the back edge of the keyboard), unlike many competing Corsair and Razer models. We use the pass-through on our keyboard all the time for our wireless headset, and it can also be handy if you use a wireless mouse. So the lack of a pass-through port is another feature omission that, while it won’t bother everyone, makes us a little cranky.

Software

When you drop some major coin on a keyboard like this, you’re buying it for both the hardware and the software. The latter, if done right, really opens up a ton of cool options and functionality. And with this keyboard, if you have a Logitech RGB mouse already, both the keyboard and mouse can be tweaked from within the software, simply by changing the highlighted device on the bottom of the software screen.

When we first opened the Logitech software, it highlighted the F-keys, so we clicked on them and the software began scanning for games we had installed. It found the two we play (Borderlands 2 and Battlefield 4) and let us assign profiles to the function keys for each game. (In other words, we could use the function keys to switch to a shortcut set for a given game.) Alternatively, we could tweak each F-key with a macro, hotkey, media control, and so on.

On this keyboard, since there are no dedicated "G-keys”—Logitech lingo for dedicated macro/shortcut keys—the function-row keys can be reassigned for macro duty. So all hope is not lost here if you need a few macros for games.

    Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Profiles)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Profiles)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Macros)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Macros)

When it comes to the lighting tab, you'll spot innumerable available options, which makes the “Spectrum” name seem fitting. If you’re just looking to make the keyboard look cool quickly and easily, you can select from one of the preset color patterns, which include Color Wave, Breathing, Fixed Color, Star Effect, Color Cycle, and Key Press. Each of these options has its own sub-option, like the rate of the color change, which colors are used, the direction of the pattern, and more. You can get lost in the tweakables.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Colors)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Colors)

You can also use a preset that lights up individual “zones” on the keyboard, which will be handy for night-time gamers. And you can adjust the color of each zone to your preference, or add keys to a zone by clicking them and manually changing the color. Dragging and dropping works as well here, making it very easy to change some chunk of the keyboard to a specific color.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Zones)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Zones)

There’s even a freestyle mode if you want to go a bit crazy and change specific keys to wildly different colors.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Freestyle)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Freestyle)

The next tab in the software lets you choose which keys to disable for a particular title when entering game mode. You select this mode by pressing a button at the top of the keyboard.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Game Mode)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Game Mode)

Finally, you can run a “heat map” test that both measures your typing speed and shows you which keys you press the most. We’re not sure how useful this is for gamers, but it’s a fun feature to play with once or twice.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Heatmap)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Heatmap)

As we noted earlier, if you also own an RGB Logitech mouse and/or headset, you can sync the lighting between the peripherals. So, for example, the color waves can pass from the keyboard to the mouse. This certainly won’t help your gameplay, but it looks extremely cool, and makes you feel a bit like you’re living inside the next Tron reboot.

Performance & Conclusion

We’ve been using mechanical keyboards for as long as we can remember, and for much of that time we’ve been using a keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches. These keys have a hair-trigger response and tend to be favored by makers of serious gaming keyboards.

We think Logitech’s Romer-G switches are comparable, but they seem to require slightly more pressure to actuate. After typing for quite a while on the G810 Orion Spectrum, we found ourselves missing the easier press of the MX Red switches.

Logitech says it designed its switches to make them easy to press, and though depressing these keys isn’t difficult by any means, we found our fingers getting tired writing reviews (like this one). It’s not a major issue or a deal breaker. And this is primarily a gaming keyboard, not one built for all-day, every-day typing like we engage in as writers. But the MX Red switches did feel easier on our fingers for endur-o-thon typing sessions.

Speaking of which, Logitech currently offers only one type of switch for its gaming keyboards; some boards based on Cherry MX and other "imitation Cherry" switches offer models with a choice of noisy/quiet, stiff/light key types. But as we’ve seen with the proliferation of other mechanical-switch types over the years, one type of switch won’t please everyone. For instance, the keys on this G810 aren’t clicky, and the keyboard is mostly silent. That’s fine for our needs, as we don’t like noisy keyboards, but some people pay their money for a mechanical keyboard just hear and feel those clicks.

And some users also like to have a bit more tactile feedback. The Romer-G switches are just a tad mushy when it comes to this aspect of their performance. We prefer a noticeably tactile bump, and the one that registers when you press these keys is hard to detect. If your key type of choice is a clicky, sharp Cherry MX Blue, this is a big difference from that; if you’re a fan of Cherry MX Brown switches, though, you’ll likely love the way these switches feel.

Moving on to the media controls, we must say they’re as close to perfect as we’ve experienced on a keyboard. We love the volume roller, and Logitech’s is actually better than the one on Corsair’s keyboards, in that it’s wider and thinner. It seems to have a bit more “give” to it, though, than what we've felt on Corsair keyboards, in that you have to spin it a bit more to affect the volume level the same amount. But it’s easy to use and we love its placement in the top corner.

The other media buttons are also better than what Corsair puts on its decks, as the Orion Spectrum uses large, individually illuminated buttons that are easy to find and press, with enough space between them to keep you from whacking the wrong one. This is the first keyboard we’ve tested that does media controls better than Corsair, which is impressive.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Flat)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Flat)

>>> See more:

The lighting, as always, is spectacular, which should come as no surprise. There’s nothing different about how this keyboard implements the RGB lighting than what we saw with the G410 Atlas Spectrum, and we had zero complaints about that model in the lighting department. Excellent RGB lighting is a feature you might think you don’t want, until you see it on your desk. Then you might wonder how you ever lived (or at least gamed) without it.

We just wish Logitech would create a system that lets its users create and share customized lighting patterns, like Corsair does. That's an exceedingly cool feature, as it lets users who don’t have the time or patience to fiddle with the more complex minutiae of RGB-lighting abilities to benefit from the efforts of those who do. Corsair's programmable lights have a whole following online that shares lighting configurations.

Conclusion

We love the Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum’s media controls, and adore its RGB lighting, but there are two features absent from this keyboard that we miss: USB pass-through and a palm rest. We were frankly surprised these weren’t included in a $160 keyboard, as they come standard with many similarly priced models.

 Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Keyboard Mouse)

Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (Keyboard Mouse)

What’s strange is that even the flagship G910 Orion Spark doesn’t include a USB pass-through, though it does include a palm rest (two of them, in fact). So obviously Logitech considers wrist comfort a premium feature, but thinks a keyboard doesn’t need a USB port. We disagree, and it’s primarily the lack of these features that keeps us from awarding the G810 Orion Spectrum an Editors’ Choice.

Still, the G810 Orion Spectrum is a fine piece of gaming weaponry. It’s comfortable (if you don’t need a wrist rest), has excellent lighting options, and packs the best dedicated media-playback controls we’ve ever experienced on a keyboard. There’s a lot to like, to be sure. But glancing at Newegg, we see we can get the Corsair K70 RGB for just $10 more than the Orion Spectrum.

The K70 RGB is a similar keyboard (full-size, no macro keys, and packing RGB lighting) with excellent media controls, a large palm rest, and USB pass-through. The only downside with Corsair is you can’t sync the lighting between a Corsair keyboard and a Logitech mouse. But we prefer comfort and convenience over lighting effects. You'll have to make that call according to your own priorities.

Facebook totalreview.net
More news

HOT TOPIC

Most Viewed TOP Vote