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Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard [unboxing and mini-review]

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#1
I just picked up a Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard. I've been looking at getting one of these "gameboards" for a while now and after researching various Belkin, Saitek, and other similar parts it became obvious Logitech had some pretty good hardware on their hands with the G13. With that said, I simply could not justify spending nearly $100 on a gameboard, no matter how advanced. However, the prices have dropped considerably since launch and upon seeing the unit in person I realized this was no ordinary gameboard.

[Note: Photos were taken with a cheap digital camera and haven't been post-processed. I will keep the comments short and photos colorful to aid our ADHD afflicted members. Let's get on with unboxing...]

In addition to G13 this particular Fry's store (where I purchased the unit) had several other gameboards out-of-box on display for people with tinker with, including a Belkin n52te and a Saitek Pro Gamer Command Unit (v2). It was obvious Logitech had a better product on their hands. The grip/feel of the G13 is much more comfortable in large part due to the rubberized wrist-rest, the proper placement and curvature of the keys (which are rubber coated themselves), as well as the fact the G13 unit seems to have some decent pads that keep it from sliding all over the place. Also, the G13 seems to be much heavier as well as sturdier. I imagine it can survive the occasional drop to the floor although I would recommend against testing out such scenarios. The Saitek unit seemed to be very cheaply made in addition to its keys being very hard to press and many keys seemed to stick, permanently. Although, I will forgive that since we are talking about store display units that must have been abused by hundreds of inquiring shoppers. Another thing I noticed is that G13 is massive. It is nearly twice the length of the Belkin's n52te unit.


The front of the box is pretty bare. The unit itself is the centerpiece here with the G13 branding and a WoW trial propaganda taking up minimal space at the bottom.





On the back you can find the basic information (very basic) relating to the unit itself, in several languages. I was glad Logitech decided to stick with the facts and not plaster the box with too many excessively colorful non-essential graphics, logos, or banners. The back of the box is very subdued, much like the front.




The packaging is decent, not great though. For instance, the plastic shell protecting the unit is pretty thin at the front. Something to keep in mind if you are purchasing this item online and the shipper decides to skimp on the packing materials.




Finally, out of the box! Again, the unit is massive compared to Belkin's n52te and even the slightly larger Saitek part. Heavy too.





The back is curved and you can see the pretty large pads along the edges. They are very good and I've tested them on several surfaces including wood, glass, and even carpet floor. This unit will not slide easily, although that has probably something to do with the mass of the unit as well.





Here is a up-close shot of the metal back-plate, in all its blurry glory.





The unit is plugged in! I was surprised how bright and readable the display was, even in well lighted surroundings, considering my experience with such displays is that they tend to get overpowered by the ambient light. Also, while I don't want to get too deep into the software side of things (this wouldn't be a mini-review anymore) but the software for the LCD is pretty awesome. You got everything from a clock, media player display (compatible with WinAmp), resource monitor, and similar other applets.





Here it is without the flash.





The unit also offers twelve different backlight colors, including the six in the photo below. Both for the keys and the LCD display.






Overall, a great product. Build and quality-wise G13 surpasses the units I had the chance to try out, including a pretty sleek but ultimately tiny and lightweight Belkin n52te and the toy-like fragile Saitek unit that seemed on the verge of falling apart. In the box aside from the unit there was a CD with the drivers which I disregarded and simply downloaded the latest software from Logitech's website. Also, there were some pretty lightweight installation and warranty pamphlets which were superfluous, since the installation of the unit consist of simply plugging the unit itself into the nearest USB port.

After a short test of the unit in action (first Crysis Warhead then ETQW) I must say I was impressed. Although, I had to tweak the default key layout for ETQW to suit my own preferences, but then again that is the whole idea of a product like G13.

G13 can be had for $39.99 after a mail-in rebate and a instant discount at your local Fry's store.




Also, it seems nVidia is serious about promoting their brand. Here is a little nVidia themed booth that wasn't there the last time I visited Fry's. 3D glasses and everything...


 

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PVTCaboose1337

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#2
That product looks really promising for a person like me with a laptop, and no room for a full keyboard. Alas, I still use an IBM Model 5 (a huge keyboard) much to the annoyance of my roommate, who hates the size almost as much as the clicky keys.
 
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#3
That product looks really promising for a person like me with a laptop, and no room for a full keyboard. Alas, I still use an IBM Model 5 (a huge keyboard) much to the annoyance of my roommate, who hates the size almost as much as the clicky keys.
Be warned though, this thing is pretty big. It is way longer (if not wider as well) than my already large gaming mouse pad. I could barely fit G13, G5, and my keyboard on the rather large tray on my desk. (Barely!) In fact, for those online matches where I want to make sure I get the best performance, I simply move my keyboard to a different spot on the desk altogether. Pictures don't do the justice in showing how large this thing really is.

I should say, now that I have tried more games with this pad, I can see it becoming simply indispensable for my everyday gaming. It took minutes to adjust to it and now after few days I think I got a pretty good handle on it. Most of the games I tried to date have been first-person shooters but with some layout tinkering and macro creation this thing can be a pretty useful tool for various fantasy MMO's and even RTS games.
 
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#4
Pardon my ignorance, but does the small console type joystick replace the AWSD keys? Do you use your index finger on the joy, and your thumb and middle finger on the adjacent buttons (say for crouch and jump?) It looks pretty nifty, but my primitive mind cannot comprehend its funcionality...
 
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#5
MT Alex said:
Pardon my ignorance, but does the small console type joystick replace the AWSD keys? Do you use your index finger on the joy, and your thumb and middle finger on the adjacent buttons (say for crouch and jump?) It looks pretty nifty, but my primitive mind cannot comprehend its funcionality...
You can use the little joystick as WASD in addition to the already whatever WASD setup you got going on the other "G" keys. Also, the little joystick can be set in the options to emulate a mouse, which can be beneficial for some games where you just want to use the G13 and nothing else.

For instance, the little joystick can be really nice in games like BF2 where you switch from a soldier on the ground to a pilot in the helicopter. You can use the standard WASD G keys for foot movements and joystick for easier piloting/maneuvering.

It is all fully configurable. Here is a screenshot of the "Key Profiler" software:



To tell you honestly I really haven't tinkered with the software side of things that much aside from creating few custom layouts. There seems to be tons of stuff to do, including some pretty nifty macro creation options.
 

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#6
Nice mini-review :toast:

How much? $60?
 
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#7
Nice mini-review :toast:

How much? $60?
I think I already posted the pricing info in the review, but if they (Fry's) still got the same deal going on, it should be $39.99 after $15 rebate (+ whatever tax %, depending on the state/county.)
 
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#8
Eh, close to $60. Not too bad but MIR suck ass.

Still good review man.
 

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#9
I dont know about the layout, i rather use a simple 360 controller and with uncompatiable games such as MW and L4D2 i use the JoyToKeyboad emu simply works for me
 

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#10
G-13

I've had mine for three months I don't go to battle without it !!!:rockout:
 
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#11
I will be making another trip to Fry's today for the purpose of picking up a new keyboard for my workstation/gamestation. My current illuminated keyboard is already showing sings of serious wear. Some keys are randomly sticking and badly (the "Enter" key for one). I'm not 100% sure on what I will pick up but they have Logitech G15 (v2), Saitek Eclipse II, Saitek Eclipse III, Saitek Cyborg and few others in stock. Who knows, I might pick up something completely plain and ordinary. I really prefer pearl colored keys which is what I have with my current keyboard (similar color scheme to various Apple branded peripherals) but it seems there are few keyboards out there like that which have illumination as well. Well, from any decent manufacturers at least.

Hopefully I will have unboxing/mini-review of whatever I pick up posted tonight or the day after at the latest.
 
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#12
ahahahah lmfao @ CPU % RAM % :) :) :)
 
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#13
Much prefer my N52te to be honest, its not that I don't like logitech I mean I use the G15 keybaord and G5 mouse but for gaming I will stick with the N52te or even my old N52
 
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#14
Well, the unboxing of the new keyboard will have to wait until the weekend. I had some serious problems with a Logitech G110 I picked up at a local MicroCenter, problems which I documented in a different thread.

Anyways, after I returned that seriously flawed piece of hardware to the store, I ordered something else. Even though I'm not a fan of Microsoft peripherals anymore (their quality has gotten worse over the years) I have a brand new Microsoft SideWinder X6 on the way. It should be here on Friday and I should have some photos and a mini-review on Saturday or Sunday.