Thursday, February 18, 2010

Logitech love

Somewhere a Logitech executive is counting his would-be bonus. Shareholders of the peripheral manufacturing company are wondering why the Logitech stocks have shot up.

Look no further than at yours truly and a spending spree in a gaming computer make-over. Even as I've been putting together the shopping list of the next computer build, my search for a new joystick had me in the peripheral aisle. Not good.

Through some inexplicable black magic, and maybe a little bit of peripheral lust, I was walking out with the new Logitech G500 gaming mouse and something that has really impressed me, the G13 'Advanced gameboard'.

Its really a fancy version of Belkin's Nostromo N52, something I feel no gamer should be without. These game pads are basically a smaller keypad with the keys perfectly laid out to fit gamers fingers and thumb, all of which are programmable. I have used the N52 and its predecessor pretty much since I've been playing computer games. Keys are and can be configured to have the same actions at the same place for every game. Sure you can (usually) reprogram the keyboard in the game's option menu to do the same thing. The challenge with that has been when you change 'E' to 'use item' the game might use 'E' for sprinting. Now you have to reprogram that.

Not sure what caught my eye and made me want to part with $70 for the Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard. Sure it has a pretty LCD display and there are more keys than the N52. But you're not looking at the LCD display while playing and more keys mean you can a) accidently hit the wrong one while playing or b) look down to see which key to press while playing and disregarding the whole reason for having it in the first place!

But as soon this new puppy was plugged in, I was pretty much sold. The LCD display can give an array of info, game stats, ram and processor usage and according to the manual, messages from other players. Call me whipped, but the feature it has been set on in the short time of ownership is the clock function. I can't remember the number of times losing hours in a game has gotten me in trouble.

The color of the display and keys can be changed to any color in the spectrum and macros are easily programmed.

The key assignments are kept in the G13 so theorically you can take your playing preferences with you from PC to PC.

Other highlights;

25 programmable keys
Backlit keys
Programmable mini-joystick

The last point is the most intriguing. By default the mini-joystick replaces the WASD keys, leaving a whole four fingers available for a variety of death moves and game-changing manuevers. Still have to get my mind and reflexes around the idea of not using a WASD set up.

I literally just loaded up the drivers and plugged it in last night, so more thoughts and posts may come about with more gaming hours under the G13 belt.

Regardless, my desk looks like a Logitech show room. The G500 replaced my G5. Why? Based on all the reviews Logitech had made all the improvements in this G series of gaming mice that appealed to what I want in a mouse. Also, a mouse pad was never used with the G5 and for whatever reason a bunch of stuff accumulated and stuck to the bottom of it. Does a gamer really need any more excuses than that to buy a new mouse?

Finally, after a whimsical purchase of a Logitech Ultra-thin Illuminated Keyboard about a year ago for another computer in the house, I saw one on the shelves at Best Buy and snapped it up for the gaming computer. Its not designed necessarily for gaming, but the soft-touch keys feels perfect to me. Love the illumination on the keyboard and its of a slim design with a transparent bezel makes it look sharp!

Oddly enough, while I was writing this blog I popped over to Newegg to see what buyers thought of the keyboard there, and many seem to echo my feelings about it being perfect for gaming as well as everyday computer use. I guess its the worst kept secret.

The reason I snapped it up though, its really hard to find in stores, at least around here. So after the keyboard, mouse and gaming pad (all Logitech) I'm left with the same problem I had before. No joystick.

Go figure.

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