I splurged on a mechanical “gaming” keyboard for our family desktop computer: a Logitech G610 with Cherry MX Red switches.
Its predecessor, a Cherry low-profile membrane keyboard, had lasted years, but some keys were becoming unreliable due to mysterious crunchiness beneath. I have removed keycaps in the past for cleaning, but replacing them properly on the scissors-style plastic clips is a questionable proposition.
I don’t game. The kids play some web games and Minecraft. I’m reasonably nostalgic for old-fashioned mechanical keyboards (which I used as a matter of course in the old days when that was what a keyboard was), although I’ve typed high volumes on various lower-profile keyboards and they can be fine as far as I’m concerned. I’ve had two Cherry-branded keyboards, neither of which had Cherry MX switches.
What I would call a poor keyboard would be something really budget-constrained like that on Asus’ original eeePC (2007?) or Acer’s Aspire Switch (2014) (which was the last thing I found time to blog about, and whose keyboard was not very responsive from the beginning, but which at least never really deteriorated despite a couple of coding-intensive years, unlike my wrists!).
The computer attached to the G610 is a Linux box, so no Logitech software is available to program it.
- Keycaps are removable. If something gets under there, I can pull the key and clean it out. There are fairly large gaps for things like crumbs to fit through, though. Nominally, there should be no crumbs near my computer but it does not seem to be the empirical case.
- I like the white backlighting. I find the minimum brightness nice night and day (and I don’t generally have the lights off).
- But, because the backlight LED is at the top of each key, the alternate character (accessed with SHIFT) is printed on the lower half of the keycap instead of the top. If the LED has to be up there for functional reasons (does it?) I would have preferred the alternative solution of setting the two characters side-by-side.
- The Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock indicators are not dimmable, so when the keys are dimmed (or unlit), the indicator LEDs are irritatingly bright. I have an idea of putting polyimide tape over for a warm amber glow, but that’s not exactly elegant. These should really just follow the brightness chosen by the user for all the other lights.
- The LEDs default to a slow wave rolling across the keyboard on boot. Idling, that’s cute. I don’t know who would find it tolerable during use. Without Logitech’s software, on each reboot I have to hit the brightness key + 0 to get it to settle down to a constant backlight — and then set the brightness.
- The caps lock indicator LED can get confused and indicate the wrong state. This has been mentioned in reviews of the keyboard. One reviewer said removing the Logitech software had solved the problem. I never had the Logitech software installed as I’m on Linux.
- Possibly related: sometimes it behaves as if the shift key is permanently held down – mouse functions are changed, keypresses are shifted. It may be more complicated than that. The key itself doesn’t get stuck. Twice, I have solved the problem by literally mashing my hands around on the keys for awhile. Does this indicate the issue may be an intentional mode with a key combination to toggle it? Dunno, but I don’t have a use for it.
- The Cherry Red switches have some lateral wobble which is unsettling at the moment. Don’t know if it’s good or bad for typinng in the long run.
- Actuation force is so small that it bothers me a bit. The Red switches don’t give a tactile clue as to how far is far enough to activate a key. It’s generally not very far. As a result, I’m finding it very easy to inadvertently push the space bar or “a” (on which apparently I sometimes lightly rest a finger on) as it can register with very little movement.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Maybe the Brown switches, with the “bump” sensation, would mitigate my issues. I haven’t tried them.
- There’s quite a lot of noise even without clicky switches, particularly the rattle of the space bar, but all the keys make noise when they move laterally, when they bottom out, and when they top out on rebound.
- After three months, I find I’m still sloppy with the tall keys, hitting extra ones on the way to the one I’m aiming for. I suspect I may have done this with other mechanical keyboards in the distant past, but that the keys were less likely to register a light brush than these are.
- No one else in the family likes this keyboard. They’d all prefer chiclets and find the tall mechanical keys aggravating.
I really want to like this keyboard, and I kind of do, even though it’s not really logical given that I make more errors using it than I did with my previous one. White backlighting, removable keycaps, dedicated media keys (scoff away), volume roller… all good things for me. But when I finally give in and order an ISO-layout keyboard, it’s not going to be another Logitech G610.