LED lights are to gamers as Swarovski crystals are to the nouveau riche: irresistible pieces of bling that signify one's belonging to a certain group. All gaming gear these days seems to be adorned with increasingly sophisticated lighting arrays, leaving the more demure among us with little to choose from. Well, Logitech now has a keyboard that wants to be all things to all people: a performance-tuned, fast-response mechanical keyboard — RGB lighting included — that also has a very lean and efficient design that makes it a good choice for office work as well.
The new G810 Orion Spectrum is as compact as a full-size keyboard can be. It's only marginally wider than the keypad-equipped Apple Keyboard, and it similarly has all the peripheral plastic chiseled away for a simple and minimalist look. The aforementioned RGB lighting can of course be customized to serve as a simple backlight, leaving you with a very efficient and responsive keyboard that does little to betray its gaming roots.
I've used the G810 for a few days ahead of today's announcement and its feel is very reminiscent of the G410 and G910 that it follows. Like those earlier models, the G810 uses Logitech's custom-designed Romer-G switches, which the company says are closest in character to the Cherry MX Brown switches. What that means in practice is that you won't get the loud clicking noise that's typical of mechanical keyboards, but you will get a similar tactile response. In daily use, I find the G810 keyboard comfortable and reliable. Coming from the G410, I find this newer model slightly quieter in operation, and I definitely appreciate the more restrained and functional look. That's what makes the 810 a gaming keyboard that doesn't strictly have to be used as a gaming keyboard. It has nicely rounded media control keys and a delightful volume control wheel — common in full-size mechanical keyboards, but still very nice to have.
Over-engineered with one purpose in mind: performance
Logitech also claims it has the fastest actuation of any keyboard on the market, and the Romer-G switches even have dual actuation points — so that if there's a mechanical failure in one, the other can still respond to input. That's the sort of over-engineering that gamers love and regular users will benefit from, even if they don't immediately appreciate it.
On the gaming side of things, Logitech offers predefined game profiles in its accompanying software, which will automatically light up the various controls available in each game. The company has more than 300 of the most popular titles supported right now and it's working with publishers to expand the list. Ubisoft is one of its partners, and the hotly anticipated The Division will be bundled in with purchases of the G810 from now until April 1st. The Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum will be available later this month for €189 in Europe or $159 in the US — so if you were going to buy The Division anyway, you can think of this as a $100 accessory to go with it.