I have heard so much argument over how this device could be useful when one already can use a keyboard for gaming. While I understand that purchasing the G13 can be considered a luxury for some, I would say it appeals to gamers (like yours truly) who don't like the far distance between the WASD keys and the mouse. I like to keep my two hands fairly close to each other (about a little bit more than the length between my two shoulders), and I could not do that with a regular sized Keyboard. More so if I used my old G15 Gaming Keyboard. I even tried remapping the WASD to PL;' to get my left hand closer to my mouse hand, but my left pinky missed the longer key profile of the left shift key, and even by remapping N and M keys as shift keys for "jump" in an FPS game, it's still very inconvenient.
I owned and used the Saitek Cyborg Command Unit (or CCU, which falls on the same category as the G13) for more than two years and I loved that product. In fact, when my I broke my first CCU's keys a year ago, I bought another one. In between those times, I bought the G13 twice and returned them both times. Don't get me wrong - I wanted to love the G13. The only reason why I returned the G13's because of buyer's remorse and I was used to the CCU (why buy another gamepad when I had the Cyborgs?). But when my second CCU started ghosting, I decided that the Saitek CCU is of sub-quality and looked at the G13 once more.
I didn't know what I was missing all this time.
It's safe to say gamers are all accustomed to the staggered layout of the QWERTY keyboard, and the G13 has perfectly lined keys like a grid. That might put some off on the G13, but in my personal experience, it only takes a little learning curve to finally get used to the layout. I can see that the more I use it, the more I get accurate hitting the right buttons. I am sure with everything new, it takes a while to train oneself on how to use a product, and with time, I'm sure I will get better with it. Just a little patience. The keys are soft and nice to press, not tactile, and what you expect of a quality Logitech keyboard. The keys that represent the WASD have small depressions so that it won't be hard to home in your fingers on them even by not looking. Some other keys can be hard to reach, especially if I keep 3 fingers on the home keys, but I found ways around that. The little joystick is easy to reach by the thumb along with the other two keys beside it.
Reading from the other reviews in Amazon.com, I'm not sure why there are complaints about the difficulty of using the G13's profile manager. It works fine to me, and It's easier to use than Saitek's system. Once you get the basics, setting the profiles for each game is easy. On installation, the G13 will look for supported games and will offer the default key assignments to you. If you don't like a profile, you can make your own from scratch, as well as having a generic profile ready for use. I was pleased when I saw my G13 load the Fallout New Vegas profile I made earlier when I fired up the game, and see it load the COD4 profile when I switched to that game to see how good it worked. The only caveat is the current profile manager program cannot detect games outside of the c:\Program Files folder - for example it cannot detect games installed on the D:\ drive, or Steam games in the C: drive. The only workaround is to manually set the profiles for those games, which is not that hard to do. Inconvenient, yes, but not that difficult.
As much as I am beginning to really love the G13, I wish there were other keys above the WASD keys to represent the F or number keys on a keyboard. But still, I can just remap some other unused keys in place of those, but it would have been better with extra keys on top. Not a big deal to lose a star rating. I can feel the promise of quality of this product once I opened the box so this time I know I'm going to love the G13 from now on, unlike the last couple times I bought it. This is a keeper for sure.
While the product info shows only "Macintosh", I bought the same one and the CD shows it's for Mac and PC, and has drivers for Windows 7 (I run Ultimate 64-bit).
Shopping around, I found Amazon.ca's price the lowest among other retailers (online or not) by a difference of $15-$25.
- Construction is solid and sturdy
- Small physical profile allows how far anyone wants to have both of their hands apart
- Key Profiles easily saved for any game (profiles can be copied for another game as well).
- comfortable and looks cool
- LCD screen has many uses (e.g., the LCD clock is surprisingly useful)
- Keys are easily within reach.
- No extra keys above what is supposed to be WASD
- Profile manager cannot detect games outside C:\Program Files folder
- not suited for left handed users if Joystick is to be used.
- keys have grid pattern as opposed to staggered (as in a QWERTY keyboard)