Logitech's G410 mechanical keyboard is a visual and tactile delight

All aboard

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There are two things I've never understood about gaming gear: why does it always have to be so grandly oversized, and why does it always have to be strewn with multicolored LED lights? Well, Logitech has addressed both of my concerns with its new G410 mechanical gaming keyboard. It slices off the numeric keypad, which has never been all that important to gaming anyhow, and shows that mechanical keyboards can be compact as well. Plus it gives me a real, legitimate reason to want a keyboard with multicolored LEDs all over it. Allow me to explain.

In among the G410's options is a mode that lights up the keys in a certain color for a second after you press on them. So you can have, like me, a subtle white backlight, and then have the keys turn a blood red when they are pressed. It's a very simple but effective trick, and it's made me just type away on this keyboard for no other reason than to watch the light show generated by my fingers. I feel so much more connected to the keyboard because of its rapid and visual response to my actions. Logitech also deserves credit for an endlessly configurable piece of software that lets me create custom lighting zones and finesse the hue, saturation, and brightness of each key's color to my exact specification. Some of that kudos is lost for the lack of an OS X version of the software — I don't play many games on my Mac, but I do enjoy using an awesome keyboard with it.

logitech g410

As to the actual feel of the Logitech G410, it's built around the company's custom-designed Romer-G mechanical switches, which were introduced with the G910 gaming keyboard last year. The keys have a shallower actuation point — just 1.5mm of travel — than on most mechanical keyboards and are designed to have a softer click as well. For some, that might undermine the whole point of switching to a mechanical keyboard, but for many others, it could be the perfect middle ground to help make the transition.

My experience has been highly positive. The G410 is easy to type accurately on, with keys that are easy to find by touch and strike reliably without applying too much force. As someone who primarily uses the ultra-shallow chiclet keyboards of modern-day laptops, I find it hard to re-adapt to the canyon-like depth of key travel of most mechanical keyboards, so the G410 is a great compromise. The one thing I do miss with these gentler Logitech switches, however, is the satisfyingly rough, almost violent click sound that comes from the better-established Cherry switches.

Purists may scoff at the softer click, but newcomers will appreciate it

In most respects, the G410 is just a leaner version of Logitech's bigger and badder G910. There's nothing wrong with that, and the popularity of the new keyboard seems to have already proven itself over in Asia. Logitech introduced a nearly identical G310 model in China this July, asking if people wanted to see it on sale in their market as well. The G410 was already in production by that point, and the initial feedback has evidently been positive enough for Logitech to go through with its plans for the more international model.

Cramming the entire rainbow inside a keyboard is nothing new. Alienware claims to have invented it, others claim to have perfected it, and even Razer, which usually believes in green being the only color you need, has resorted to doing kaleidoscopic keyboards. But Logitech's difference is in how cleverly it's used those lights to create a sense of joy in the typist, gamer, or even onlooker. Observing the G410 in action is like watching and listening to the rhythmic downfall of a warm autumnal rain. It lacks the hard sound and defined click at the bottom of the key press that are characteristic of most gaming keyboards, but that's also what makes it more approachable for newcomers. The G410 goes on sale in October at a price of $129.99 in the United States or €149 in Europe.

Logitech G410
logitech g410
logitech g410
logitech g410

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