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Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard Review - Evolution or Dud?

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech
Tagged:

Design Features and Software

Design and Features – A Close Look at the G13


The G13 looks like a forgotten prop from a Sci-Fi movie. It’s about eight inches wide and a foot long, and consists of a padded lower handrest and large upper section that contains 22 keys. Above that are glossy black macro and function keys along with a LCD display.

There is little color to the G13, as most of the device is either matte of glossy black, the only exception being a gunmetal Logitech logo insert at the base of the palmrest. Despite this, the G13 remains visually interesting through the use of different textures – the top is glossy, the middle is matte, and the palmrest has a subtle texture.

Ergonomically, the G13 tries to accommodate the natural curve of the hand by placing a hump in the lower-mid area of the device. The highest point of the peripheral is the section where the palmrest meets the first row of three keys. I can see why this might be comfortable in theory, because a hand placed on a flat keyboard tends to arch in the middle, and it seems reasonable that some support might be helpful. In practice, however, I’m not sure that this design provides any real benefit. The palmrest itself is a better story. The rubber has some cushion to it, but the texture keeps your hand planted.


While there are many buttons available, the placement is questionable. The thumbstick, which is located on the lower right hand side of the device (sorry, lefties – this is another peripheral that doesn’t cater to you) feels too far away from my hand. Indeed, the thumb-button real estate seems largely wasted, as there are only two inconveniently placed buttons just below the thumbstick itself. Meanwhile, a large hunk of plastic sits above the thumbstick, devoid of any inputs.

While the buttons and thumbstick embody the G13’s functionality, the device also comes with a small but slick LCD display. While not capable of color, it shines with a pleasant blue-white tone and is able to work with a number of apps, including those shipped with the device and those created by independent programs (the Logitech forums are good place to search for new apps for a Logitech device with an LCD display).

The default selection includes a Windows SideShow media app, an LCD clock, a performance monitor, a countdown timer, a media display that shows the name and length of any audio or video clip you play, and a RSS reader. The display can also work with various games, and support for some games is built-in.

The Software

Although the G13 does ship with recommend bindings for a few popular games, you’ll likely want to customize the functionality of the device’s keys significantly. Macro functionality is a one of the reasons why this type of peripheral seems attractive.

Macro functions are usually limited by the software that make them possible, however. No one wants to spend half an hour setting up a controller for use with a game. Fortunately, the G-series Key Profiler software that ships with the G13 is excellent. Binding a G-key to any specific function takes just ten or twenty seconds, and you can configure a complex set of custom bindings within five minutes. Once you have a set of bindings configured how you would like, you can simply save the configuration as a profile which can be loaded up or altered later.

The physical Macro keys also enhance the G13’s flexibility. There are three macro keys, each of which can be loaded with its own set of key bindings. As if that weren’t enough, the G13 also includes a quick-macro button that lets you bind keys on-the-fly. Simply press the Quick Marco button, press a key on the G13, press a key on your keyboard, and then press the Quick Macro button again. Instant macro!

June 19, 2011 | 11:13 PM - Posted by Frostbite (not verified)

I've been using a G13 for about 1.5 years now and have become so accustomed to it, I couldn't play any FPS games without it. It felt awkward at first for sure, then I grew into it just like a new controller for a new system back in the day. It's more comfortable than any keyboard and I have nearly 0% missed buttons when using it and feel as if it has actually improved my reaction abilities over time. The thumb stick I only use for macros, though. It's not useful for actual movement in my opinion, unless you like the awkward placement and feel of the skinny thing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this unit takes a good month to set in before you love it completely. It is NOT a replacement for a keyboard, but a great companion for a regular one like my cheapo Logitech Classic. I have plowed through every game from UT99 to Just Cause 2 and CS with this thing. Highly recommended now that it's available a good chunk cheaper all over the web.

February 2, 2012 | 01:33 PM - Posted by Tankgeezus (not verified)

Wow, I'm surprised to see such a negative review. I'm so glad I didn't read this as I believe this device to be the best computer accessory besides the Razer Naga. Maybe it's using these 2 products together that changes it for me. The thumbstick is awkward at first, but once you get used to it, it's great. Freeing 4 fingers for keys is huge, especially in Age of Conan (best mmo ever), and I can never go back.

February 20, 2012 | 03:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

To put it simply, this reviewer clearly did not know the full capability of the G13.

For example: "the G13’s primary keypad has only 22 keys".

The key pad has actually has 25 customizable keys, with a programable analog stick. It also has three different "game modes" that you can bind keys or macros to for whatever game you are playing. These can also be saved as profiles so you do not need to recreate them over and over again.

All he had to do was switch between the profiles and he would have been able to have around 87 bindings he could have used with WoW or any game for that matter. Also, the profiles can be custom color coded so you know which profile you are in at the time.

I would suggest a different source with better knowledge of the device.

June 1, 2012 | 11:26 AM - Posted by MissPsychoKill (not verified)

Dude, you just cannot convince me you are a gamer. Any peripheral, and I mean ANY peripheral, used in WoW should be used in conjuction with key modifier (Alt, Ctrl, Shift).
My 85 has just as many abilities plus all the macros that I have made and I have used the Nostromo n52 as well as the G13 without having to shift out of the first mode. It only took one key on the mouse.

You can't remember your keybinds? It's really quite simple, you practice them on a target dummy until it's automatic.

You sound like you are looking for gaming peripheral that will play the game for you...

I have used both the Nostromo and the G13 (I prefer the G13) on many MMO's from WoW, SWTOR, FF, GW and now Tera online. Sure I have a keyboard but using a gamepad has enchanced my gameplay to the max. Setting up complex macros to handle every function and then having them bound to one hand seperate from the larger cluster of keys on a keyboar and arranging them to my style is just super. I even use my gamepad to run complex music software like cubase, ableton and protools as well as onstage live. I think you should just stop writing reviews.

June 1, 2012 | 03:07 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

If you only play MMOs then you are not a gamer.

There, I said it.

August 11, 2012 | 08:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

excellent review, I wish I had read it before buying, because I wouldn't have

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