Price (RRP): $209.95
The Logitech G610 mechanical gaming keyboard comes with the choice of blue, brown and red mechanical key switches. The colour refers to the type of Cherry MX mechanical key switch used – they are identical in all other respects.
Why a mechanical keyboard?
I use a mechanical switch keyboard because, as a journalist, I used to wear out a few lower-cost, membrane keyboards each year. I type a few million characters each year – the equivalent of over 30 trashy paperback novels (no slight intended on my writing skills!).
So, I know keyboards, and I know what makes for an excellent key press and a bad one.
A good one will:
- allow a typist or gamer to achieve maximum speed by having a good throw (4mm is about right)
- have tactile feedback through the fingertips (you know you pressed a key – this is not haptic or bounce feedback)
- have well-spaced keys (to avoid false key presses)
- Have a rollover (a buffer that allows gamers or touch typist to get ahead of what you see on the screen)
Most low-cost keyboards use a membrane (where the key presses a rubber bubble under it to contact a printed circuit board). No matter how good the membrane is, it will wear out in 3-5 million keystrokes. I used to wear out a couple each year – if the printed letters did not rub off first.
Laptops often use a hybrid dome-switch – often called a Chiclet keyboard or scissor switch. This is still membrane but has a more mechanical feel and a very shallow 1.5mm throw.
Cherry comes in four types – black, brown, blue, and red. All last at least 50 million keystrokes – 10+ times membrane. No matter what brand of Cherry MX equipped mechanical keyboard you use all will “feel” the same as the other using the same colour MX key switch.
- Black is a full linear 60g key press – needs more force and a full 4mm press to actuate. Great for thumping gamers and ham-fisted typists who want to press the key down fully to avoid accidental key presses. It produces an audible click.
- Red is a full linear 45g – but uses less force to get there. No tactile bump. No click.
- Brown has a two-stage 45g keypress – designed for typing and gaming with a soft tactile bump at mid-stroke meaning you only need to press half way (2mm) to activate. It is the quietest of the four types – no audible click.
- Blue has a two-stage 55g press – as per Brown (2mm), and an audible click.
MX key switches are not cheap – let’s just say that the price is around $1.50 per switch, and you need up to 104 per keyboard. By comparison, membrane costs a few cents.
Another difference lies in the design and construction materials of the keyboard.
- Construction of the keycaps. In order of low to high quality – decal stick-on lettering; printed lettering; laser engraved/printed lettering; or injection moulded to allow for backlighting to shine through.
- Adjustable height.
- Key layout. Are the arrows tucked under the enter key or under the Insert/Home block beside that? The latter is better.
- Quality of the electronics, e.g. the rollover buffer and programmable features like LED backlights
Back to the Logitech G610 review.
To do the test I enlisted three different people – a touch typist, a gamer, and a ham-fisted MX Black user (OK – me).
The touch typist preferred the blue. “It has a two-stage press which is nice – I can work longer without finger strain! It has a nice audible click, but that could be a little annoying in an open office.” On the brown. “Seems less noisy and a bit lighter keypress – yes good too.”
The Gamer had been using a Steel Series MX black – the thumpers keyboard. “I prefer the Red as it is quieter, but I miss the audible click, so Blue wins. I like the full-sized keys.”
Me – I have been using MX Black for a few years, so I am used to the more substantial press and audible click. My preference is the brown – it is quieter.
Verdict – most gamers will be happy with red or blue, and most typists will like blue or brown.