Your fingers and eyeballs will dig it.
Editor’s note: IGN is ramping tech and hardware reviews back up, one product category at a time. We’re kicking off with deep dives into some of the best-of-the best headsets, GPUs, Mice, Monitors, and keyboards from the last few years.
The Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum (See it on Amazon) sits at the top of the company’s mechanical keyboard lineup, just one notch below the flagship G910 models. The main difference between the G810 and the G910 keyboards is that the 910s offer an array of dedicated macro keys along with other fancy stuff like a wrist wrest and ARX Control integration, which a lot of gamers don’t need. As such the G810 Orion Spectrum is the company’s version of a stripped-down mechanical gaming keyboard with RGB lighting and media controls, and at $159.99 MSRP (often sold for around $110) its priced right in line with similar keyboards from Corsair, G.Skill, Razer, and others.
Design and Features
The G810 is a full-sized keyboard with a number pad that comes with a non-detachable 6-foot braided USB cable, but it doesn’t have a built-in USB pass-through like some of its competitors; a strange omission on a $160 keyboard. The G810 has top-notch build quality and really has some heft to it, so I never had to worry about it moving around during gameplay. It features Logitech’s proprietary Romer-G switches, which the company claims offer 25 percent faster actuation than other switches as well as a crazy-long endurance of 70 million actuations. Only Razer’s switches offer more longevity at 80 million clicks.
The G810 offers RGB lighting with per-key customization as well as a dizzying amount of settings and options, which I’ll get into shortly. Despite its gaming-oriented design it sports dedicated media controls that let me easily play, pause, and mute music and videos as well as skip between tracks. I also liked having the ability to adjust the volume using the handy rolling wheel in the corner. I much prefer having these controls right above where my right hand is located instead of having to use combinations of F-keys like on some keyboards. Though Logitech isn’t the first company to put media controls in this location, it has done an excellent job of making them easy to use and to access.
Next to the controls is an on/off key for the lighting and a game mode key that disables the Windows button. Since I like to raise the keyboard up a bit I was pleased to see Logitech has built a clever adjustment system that let me set it at three different heights. Unfortunately the G810 doesn’t come with a wrist rest, which I didn’t like as I’m used to having wrist support. It’s odd to me that a $160 keyboard doesn’t include a wrist rest, but for some reason Logitech only offers this features on its more expensive 910 series keyboards and it’s cheaper 7x series boards, leaving the 810 high and dry as far as wrist support goes.
The free and easy-to-use Logitech Gaming software let me adjust the lighting as well as manage game profiles and update the keyboard’s firmware. When I ran the software the first time it conveniently loaded gaming profiles for all the games it found on my hard drive, as well as (surprisingly) Word and Excel. The software allows for easy creation of custom profiles and 12 F-keys are programmable too.
When it comes to key lighting, the G810 is full RGB and offers a 16.8 million color palette and the ability to sync lighting across other Logitech gaming products. The software includes an image of the keyboard that showed me which keys were programmed in which color, and its interface is simple and organized. The G810 has are four lighting modes: freestyle, zones, effects, and your effects. Freestyle let me adjust the color of each key individually, while zones groups keys together by color, which is helpful since certain games rely on groups of keys. I was also able to choose from a handful of preset lighting effects including fixed color, breathing, star effect, color cycle, color wave, and key press and was also able to create and save my own effects by adjusting the speed and direction. The lighting is a lot of fun to tinker with, and the sheer number of options is a bit daunting but also provides seemingly endless customization opportunities.
With Logitech’s Romer-G mechanical switches and 26-key rollover, the G810 didn’t disappoint in gameplay or fierce typing, even if when I mashed several keys at once. Though I didn’t use any of the pre-loaded game profiles they sound pretty cool. For example in Grand Theft Auto V the lights at the top of the keyboard flash red and blue to mimic police lights when you’re being pursued by law enforcement in the game.
When playing the PC Game Marvel Heroes 2016, I was able to easily maneuver Captain America and complete several missions without a hitch, though I missed the textured keys offered by several of its competitors such as the Corsair K70 and Kingston HyperX Alloy FPS. The Romer-G switches felt responsive and were quieter than the Cherry MX Blue switches I sampled on the Kingston HyperX Alloy FPS. Logitech’s switches still deliver a satisfying click, but it’s not as loud as a traditional “clicky” switch. In testing, the keys were comfortable to use for gaming and typing, and overall I enjoyed typing more on the G810 keyboard (including parts of this review) than on the HyperX Alloy since the keys were a bit quieter and easier to press.
The Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum has an MSRP of $159.99, but like a lot of PC hardware it can generally be nabbed at a discount as it’s currently just $114 on Amazon: