Pros

Only name-brand wireless mechanical keyboard on the market; offers both Bluetooth and proprietary wireless; built in wrist rest

Cons

Too expensive; no backlighting; Romer-G switches don't quite match the competition; exterior lacks a premium "feel"

Star Rating

Top Side

Performance

Let's start with what really makes this product unique: its wireless connectivity. Throughout our testing, the connection proved rock-solid, with none of the dropouts or lag that we associate with wireless keyboards of yesteryear. Our guess is that Logitech's proprietary Lightspeed wireless system has bandwidth to spare considering it was designed for high-speed gaming mice, which transmit quite a bit more data per second than a keyboard can. We also liked the G613's Bluetooth option. This could make the G613 a natural fit for home theater PC enthusiasts who crave a mechanical feel, and it's also great for conference rooms where you might want to control various "visiting" laptops with a wireless keyboard. Combined with Logitech's companion G603 wireless mouse, you have the dynamic duo of high-end wireless office setups. That's in fact how we tested it on our home theater benchmarking PC, and the tandem worked perfectly once set up using Windows 10's built-in Bluetooth utility. Interestingly, you actually have to punch in a code on the keyboard to initialize the connection, which is a good security measure, but feels a little bit odd in that you can't see what you're typing on screen at that point. During hours of use in Bluetooth mode, the combination of the G613 keyboard and G603 mouse worked perfectly, with no dropouts and no obvious lag.

Now here's where things get a little challenging for the G613: the mechanical aspect of its design. Its Romer-G keys have serious competition, and some of it comes from Logitech's own Cherry-equipped keyboards. While the Romer-G switches certainly feel better than membrane switches, and boast a longer rated lifespan (at 70 million actuations) than Cherry's, they just don't feel quite as good. We compared them to a number of keyboards we had on hand, including ones with Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Speed, and even Razer's in-house "Orange" switches as featured in its Blackwidow Ultimate Stealth model. The Romer-G switches have a 1.5mm actuation distance, which is 25% shorter than Cherry MX Red or Brown, but still quite a bit longer than MX Speed's 1.2mm. The Romer-G also has the exact same 45g actuation force that all the other four switches we compared it to offer. What we found most troubling about the Romer-G switches was that despite not being marketed as having the "tactile" actuation of MX Brown switches, they had a distinct drag on rebound, as if they were passing back through an actuation point. In other words, they just don't feel linear, and they simply are not as smooth as MX Red or MX Speed switches. Interestingly, the Romer-G switches in the G613 felt most like Razer's switches, perhaps because both are trying to emulate Cherry MX Red in the same way, without quite matching it. Overall, we simply prefer Cherry's offerings for typing due to their cleaner actuation. In fact, in the hands of multiple testers, the G613's switches felt more like a standard keyboard's non-mechanical switches than any of the other switches, which is not where Logitech wants to be.

But lo and behold, things started looking up for the G613 once we jumped into a multiplayer round of Battlefield 4 (which thanks to its fast pace is a better benchmark than the newer Battlefield 1). Switching between the G613 and our usual board of choice, the Corsair K70 Rapidfire equipped with Cherry MX Speed switches, we preferred the G613's Romer-G switches. The draggy rebound doesn't have much of an effect while gaming, since your fingers tend to stay planted on the keys, and the pseudo-tactile feeling the switches provided offered a much better sense of control. Trust us when we say this came as a surprise, given that the G613 wouldn't have been our top choice for typing up this review!

In terms of which usage scenario we think is more important for the success of the G613, we'd actually say the problematic typing feel is a bit more critical. That's because the wireless connectivity would really seem to appeal more to those who want a clean desk area (which probably doesn't describe most gamers), and furthermore, the lack of lighting is going to be a drawback for anyone interested in showing off their systems (which probably does describe at least a good number of gamers).

Conclusion

Over our years of testing mechanical keyboards, we've come to the conclusion that all serious PC users, whether they are gamers, professional typists, or tech enthusiasts, should jump onto the mechanical keyboard bandwagon. The addition (or return) of mechanical switches adds so much to the experience of interacting with a PC that anyone who tries them will notice it. There were just two factors that we felt could dissuade potential buyers: price (mechanical keyboards cost about twice as much as comparably-featured membrane-based keyboards) and "portability" (whether moving around your desk or to a different system entirely, a bulky cord is a big drag). There's also the aesthetic issue of having a cord atttached, as the modern workplace, full of wireless gizmos of every sort, just doesn't lend itself to a big wire running across your desk.

So, does the Logitech G613 change the entire equation? In short, not quite. For starters, it comes in at a very high $150 pricepoint, which puts it in competition with the most feature-rich mechanical keyboards on the market. After testing many LED-lit, and then RGB-lit keyboards, we were really shocked at how much of a step back it is to use a keyboard with no backlighting whatsoever. Lighting isn't just good for its "bling" factor - it really can help navigate the keyboard, both in darkness and in broad daylight. We understand that Logitech couldn't come close to its claimed 18-month battery life if it had to power up a boat-load of RGB lights off two AA batteries, but there's no doubt that for a lot of users, the lack of lighting will be a deal-breaker. Furthermore, most similarly-priced models offer a more premium feel, along with a better wrist rest, than the G613 does.

But what of its wireless connectivity? Well, after having moved from a long line of wireless membrane-based keyboards (many of them Logitech models, by the way) through various wired mechanical keyboards, we've realized wireless connectivity should probably be a secondary priority in choosing a keyboard. We wouldn't say the same thing for mice, where we'll take a good wireless mouse (like the recently-reviewed G603) over a wired model any day, but keyboards don't really need to move around all that often (heck, it's typically best if they don't move!). Yes, the lack of wires looks cleaner, and yes, it does make it much easier to clear your desk for some pen-and-paper work (if you still do that sort of thing), but wireless on its own won't sell this keyboard, in our opinion.

And that leaves us with the mechanical operation. Yes, Logitech's Romer-G switches are a lot better than any membrane-based switch, but Cherry still wins in terms of overall feel. The Romer-G switches actually felt quite good in gaming, but we didn't like them much for typing. We're pretty sure Logitech is aware that its offering isn't equivalent - after all, after parting ways with Cherry, it reunited with the firm to market the Logitech G610 lineup with Cherry switches not so long ago. 

All in all, we're not quite sold on the "game-changing" G613 from Logitech. Yes, it is the first wireless mechanical keyboard from a major manufacturer to reach the market, and yes, it certainly performs well enough to pass muster, but we think the tradeoffs it comes with, from the lack of backlighting, to the cut-rate materials, to the so-so switch feel, make it a very niche product. And ouch, that price! Based on our experience reviewing Logitech gear, we know the company always targets a high pricepoint, and then brings the selling price down over time. If this keyboard came in closer to $120 (which we assume it will hit within a few months), it would be a much easier sell. Alternatively, if Logitech would like to really beat the high-priced competition, we'd suggest it add a removable USB cord to power LED lighting when connected, and then we'd throw in a padded wrist rest and some genuine Cherry MX switches (we know you can work this out, Logitech!). At that point, we think Logitech really would have a world-beating mechanical keyboard on its hands. The good news is that Logitech has shown that it's always willing to continue improving its product line, so this might not be so far out of reach.

The Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Mouse is in limited release as of our publication date, available only direct from Logitech for $149.99 shipped. Once it becomes more broadly available at retail, we'll update this article. To see all our top-rated keyboards and mice, check out our Peripherals Buyer's Guide, which we update on a quarterly basis.

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