ProsOnly name-brand wireless mechanical keyboard on the market; offers both Bluetooth and proprietary wireless; built in wrist rest
ConsToo expensive; no backlighting; Romer-G switches don't quite match the competition; exterior lacks a premium "feel"
We've tested a whole lot of mechanical keyboards over the years, but throughout this time, we've never tested a wireless model. The reason: they simply did not exist. Sure, you could find some no-name imports at ultra-high prices if you wanted to roll the dice, but there wasn't a single wireless mechanical keyboard from a major brand... until now. In September 2017, Logitech announced its G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, and we were on hand at PAX West to see it firsthand. Of course, knowing that this really was a "first," we had to have one, and Logitech was kind enough to ship us a sample long before the G613 hit retail.
Now, truth be told, we don't like reviewing pre-release hardware, and we held our review for an entire month (instead focusing our Logitech review efforts on the Logitech G603 Wireless Mouse that was announced at the same time). We're a bit surprised that nearly two months after the initial announcement, the G613 still isn't widely available, but it is in fact shipping direct from Logitech, and we figured that was close enough, so we're going ahead with our review. We already know the G613 is one of a kind, but is that enough to merit a recommendation? Read on to find out!
We'd like to extend a special thank you to Logitech for providing us with a review sample of the Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
Description and Features
The G613 doesn't break new ground in terms of keyboard design. It looks quite average in fact, with a matte grey plastic finish, standard-sized keycaps, and a typical selection of media keys. In comparison to a number of other models, including Logitech's "lower-end" G413 Mechanical Keyboard, which offers an aluminum top panel, the G613 feels oddly cheap in being made entirely of plastic.
The two things that make this a "gaming" keyboard are the six "G" macro keys on the left side, and the game-mode selection switch up top, which shuts off "party-foul" keys like the Windows key during game sessions. This being a wireless keyboard, you of course get a USB wireless receiver in the box, along with a wired extender, intended to position the receiver as close to the keyboard as possible. This approach used to be critical with wireless keyboards, as even placing the receiver a few feet away would be far enough to cause dropouts. Logitech's new "Lightspeed" wireless system, however, is much improved vesus the systems of old, and you really don't need to use the extender to maintain a solid connection. The one drawback to this advanced system is that the keyboard requires a proprietary USB receiver - this is not a universal "Nano" receiver like the ones used in Logitech's other wireless keyboards. One neat feature that Logitech has incorporated into this keyboard is dual connectivity modes, in that it can also work with a PC's built-in Bluetooth. This won't be the preferred method for low-lag gaming, but it's certainly sufficient for home office use, where the muted styling of the G613 could be a true asset.
Also included in the package is a smartphone stand, and this one really took us by surprise. In fact, we actually had to refer to the box to confirm that this was indeed a smartphone stand. Sure, it looks like one, but why in the world is Logitech including it with its wireless keyboard? Maybe they just had a bunch laying around from another project and decided to throw them in as a free gift for G613 owners! Interestingly, a few years back, Logitech launched a pretty cool smartphone app for gaming peripherals called "Arx Control", and while you can still find it in the Google Play store, Logitech has stopped developing it, and no longer markets it in current-gen gaming products like the G613. So, in the end, we really don't know why the phone stand is in the box, but heck, if you needed one, you just found another reason to get the G613!
We've already mentioned that Logitech hasn't broken new ground with the G613's styling, although as you can see in this profile shot, it attempted to spice up the aesthetics a bit with a glossy side panel and a subtle silkscreened model number. We're actually sort of surprised this doesn't appear on the front of the keyboard, and it will likely be missed entirely by a lot of users, as will the oddly-placed on/off switch. Whatever happened to placing this switch on top or underneath like every other wireless keyboard you make, Logitech? We should also note that the built-in wrist rest is differentiated from the rest of the keyboard in color alone; it uses the same matte plastic texture, and is thus entirely unpadded. In other words, it's better than nothing, but it's not ideal.
Given that the G613 is a full-size mechanical keyboard using real metal springs, it's understandably fairly large and heavy. It measures just under 19" wide and 8.5" deep. The G keys on the left side add quite a bit of width over standard keyboards, as does the large bezel on the frame, and of course you have the wrist rest below that adds to the depth. The frame is about an inch thick, and the rear legs will add another 3/4" of lift to the rear of the keyboard. On our scale, the G613 weighed 3lb., 3.3oz with the included AA batteries. That's most definitely on the heavy side for a keyboard, but puts it right on par with the mechanical keyboards we featured in our 2016 mechanical keyboard shootout. You won't find a true mechanical keyboard come in under 3 pounds, although Logitech's pseudo-mechanical tenkeyless G410 Atlas Spectrum came in under 2 pounds (the G410 lacks a metal strikeplate, giving it a very non-mechanical feel).
Speaking of mechanical feel, we should discuss what Logitech is using here in terms of mechanical hardware. Several years ago, Logitech broke ranks with Cherry and its MX switch lineup after having been the company's biggest customer. Based on our conversations with various industry players, including Cherry itself, we're pretty sure this had nothing to do with any concerns Logitech had over functionality. Rather, once mechanical switches really caught on back in 2014, Cherry simply couldn't keep up with demand, and Logitech, being the biggest player in the peripherals industry, needed to free itself of supply chain contraints. Hence it developed its own in-house Romer-G switches. Yes, they are indeed mechanical, but we'll save our discussion of their attributes for the performance evaluation on the next page.
Logitech's sleek Logitech Gaming Software (LGS) suite of course plays a role in the G613 experience, but given the small number of programmable buttons and complete lack of backlighting, it's a lot less significant that it would be with other more feature-packed peripherals, particularly those with RGB lighting. You can for example change the wireless polling rate of the G613, but we're not sure why you'd want to do that given that the battery life is already quite good. Of course, that's something we couldn't test ourselves. The software doesn't provide estimated battery life, but if Logitech's claim of 18-month battery life is remotely accurate, perhaps a battery gauge just isn't necessary. The software also allows you to assign keystrokes to the G-keys (game profiles can be downloaded and applied if you wish), add to the "disabled" key list used in Gaming mode, as well as run a "heatmap" to determine most-used keys, for whatever that's worth. We predict most users won't spend a lot of time interfacing with the software when using the G613.
Let's move onto our subjective performance evaluation, and then finish up with our overall thoughts.