A good keyboard is all but invisible. It sits quietly in front of the monitor, but the screen is just a display for the work being done below. Whether it’s for typing or gaming, a keyboard is designed to be not thought of at all. You reach for it, it’s there doing exactly the same thing it’s always done every other time you’ve used it, the keys clicking away with a sound that’s so familiar it’s automatically tuned out from the background. Some keyboards are fancier than others, but usage over time means the frills, spiky bits, and other decorations fade away as endless usage turns a shiny new toy into a comfortable tool that’s all but taken for granted. It’s important then that behind all the tech and glowing lights the underlying hardware is rock-solid reliable. While I’ve only had a week and a half with the Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, rather than the handful of years necessary to make a proper judgement, it’s found a home on my desktop and done something that I’d have considered impossible — it’s replaced my trusty Classic Black Unicomp.
The G Pro Keyboard is, as its name suggests, designed for the pro gaming circuit. Every piece is built with the needs of high-end gaming in mind, from the rapid response of its keys to the smaller footprint. The removal of the number pad allows more space for mouse movement, and the 1.5mm travel distance to make contact for the keys means they can be hit faster. On top of that there’s built-in keystroke signal processing to speed up the information flow from keyboard to PC, and between the physical key travel distance and the techno-magic inside there’s as little as a three millisecond difference between the time a key stroke is initiated and it appears on-screen. (Key-press speed is based on this chart from the reviewer’s guide) While I can say that the missing number pad has caused no issues at all, and the extra desk space is nice, my personal ability to time three milliseconds to test that claim is basically nonexistent.
What I can test, though, is general usage, and the keyboard feels about as sexy as typing can get. The keys are firm and smooth, without the slightest bit of wobble when pressed. The bezel-equivalent, the extra plastic running around the keys, has been trimmed down to almost nothing except at the top, and that took all of a minute to get used to. Basically, even if you’re not a pro gamer, it feels great to use. If you’re someone who travels, though, the removable USB cord is a big help. As anyone who’s learned to stick two fingers behind the cord before wrapping it around a controller knows, the cable sticking out the back of a piece of hardware is a pain to deal with, and dispensing with it entirely so what you’re packing is basically a mid-sized rectangle makes life much easier. The weight, on the other hand, is something to consider, seeing as it weighs a hefty 2.2 pounds. One gamer’s Heavy is another’s Solid, though, and the mass is an important factor in the overall feel of pure, reliable stability the keyboard possesses.
While the G Pro keyboard is fairly utilitarian overall, with no extra USB slots or LCD display, it does have very nice LEDs for every key, and they can all be programmed individually. Out of the box the keyboard defaults to a flowing rainbow pattern, and for my day-to-day usage the only change I made was putting the color-cycle on its slowest setting, but there are a wealth of options inside the Logitech Gaming Software. Customize on a per-game basis or scan for games with pre-built profiles. That latter function, however, is a little on the busted side. After running the scan on my machine it found a total of one game, leaving several just sitting there needing to be manually added to the list. Spintires, American Truck Simulator, Terraria, and a few more all un-modded and without being in a beta branch, all undiscovered by LGS. While it’s possible to manually add each game, the system doesn’t load in the profiles that way, leaving you to manually create each one. It completely defeats the purpose of pre-built profiles if there’s less than a 10% chance of finding the associated games.
On the one game I was able to test the color profiling on, though, it was easy to use and very helpful. Alt-tabbing out of the game (No Man’s Sky) left the profile active, making it simple to edit the col0r-scheme on the fly. Movement and interaction keys were already different colors, I turned build and inventory keys a third color, and all of a sudden a complicated set of controls for a game I hadn’t played in months made much more sense. Whether you’re a pro gamer on the circuit using the lights to add a bit of extra juice to the performance or learning a game for the first time, being able to individually program keys for effect quickly becomes more than just a neat gimmick.
The Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a fantastic piece of hardware. It feels great to use, frees up extra desk space and is nicely portable. Features such as Gaming Mode, which disables presses of the Windows and Menu keys, or the ability to recognize up to 26 keys hit at once, help guarantee gaming sessions won’t be interrupted by input issues and programmable macros (not allowed in gaming tournaments) can give you a nice edge when needed. The LGS auto-profiles need an update to be useful, but rolling your own only takes a minute and even leaving the keys on a default color setting does a nice job of making your PC setup that much snazzier. The G Pro Keyboard is a great piece of equipment both in gaming terms and general typing usage, and even as you get used to it over time, it will keep on serving as a workhorse of PC hardware as it finally escapes the curse of keyboard invisibility.